Waiting for arms race between Iran and Arab countries?

Waiting for arms race between Iran and Arab countries?

Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr. 21

By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

Easing of sanctions against Iran and supplying the Russian anti-aircraft missile systems S-300 to Iran will not increase an arms race in the region, the director of the Russian Center for Public Policy Research Vladimir Yevseyev said.

"The possibility of an arms race is unlikely to be more than it is now," Yevseyev told Trend April 20.

The expert said that the planned supply of S-300 to Iran will only allow restoring the balance of power.

Previously, Iran and Arab countries had a balance of weapons. In that period the Arab monarchies had great superiority over Iran in aviation, but Iran, in its turn, had ballistic missiles, primarily, short range ones. Then the balance of power was broken by the US when it supplied the THAAD missile defense system to Saudi Arabia and Arab monarchies.

"Russia now wants to supply air defense systems, i.e. only the balance will be restored ... But these systems are defensive, not offensive ...," said Yevseyev.

He added that at the same time, it is unlikely that the supply of any offensive weapon is to be possible in the near future, as it is prohibited by the existing resolutions of the UN Security Council.

"And the removal of these resolutions is so far not planned," said Yevseyev.

Speaking about the S-300, the expert said the arms supply ban doesn't apply to those systems.

"Russia had every opportunity for supply back in 2010, but decided to undertake excessive restrictions," Yevseyev said, adding, "And now, with the easing of sanctions, it was decided to remove those restrictions."

The expert believes that with the existing resolutions of the UN Security Council, Russia may develop the military cooperation with Iran in those areas, which aren't covered by those resolutions.

"For example, creating facilities in Iran for aircraft maintenance or training Iranian pilots. It is also possible to conduct joint Russian-Iranian military exercises," he said.
"The matter is that Russia can move from the arms trade to full military cooperation," said Yevseyev.

Regarding the possibility of arms build-up by Saudi Arabia, it is also unlikely, since the country will hardly have such a possibility,Yevseyev said and that the decline in oil prices affected the income of Saudi Arabia. At the same time, the country has large internal and external obligations. In addition, the expert went on to add that one has to be able to operate the purchased weapon. That requires a certain amount of people who will maintain it, he said.

In his opinion, the biggest problem of Saudi Arabia is not an external but an internal one. In particular, there are serious problems in the eastern province, where Shiites live and where the main oil fields are situated.

"I think the Saudis prepare in the wrong way," Yevseyev said. "They are preparing to repel some external threat from Iran, but in fact the threat may come to them from the inside. They are preparing poorly for this threat."

"Therefore, Saudi Arabia's weakening is possible as this country is not ready to fight the internal threats," the expert said.

The contract for delivering S-300 to Iran was signed in late 2007, however, in 2010, Russia refused from the supply, as the UN Security Council imposed sanctions on Iran banning the transfer of modern weaponry to the country. In response, Iran filed a $4-billion lawsuit to the International Court of Arbitration in Geneva against Russia's Rosoboronexport.

Further, in September 2010, Russia's then President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree on the measures to fulfill the UN Security Council resolution dated June 9, 2010 that imposed serious restrictions on the sale of weaponry and military equipment to Iran. Iranian nuclear program was the reason for imposing the sanctions.

However, after lifting the ban on supply, Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said that Tehran expects Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to be delivered in 2015.

Edited by CN

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