#28 - JRL 2009-178 - JRL Home
Russia Will Not Stop Supplying Defensive Systems to Iran - Experts

MOSCOW. Sept 24 (Interfax) - Russian political scientists believe the intensification of the Russian-U.S. talks on Iran does not call into question Russian-Iranian military-technical cooperation, including the supply of S-300 systems.

"The issue of imposing sanctions on Iran raised in the negotiations between Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama calls for absolutely clear legal substantiation. The IAEA has not made any claims against Iran, and the information based on manipulation by the Western intelligence services cannot be used as grounds," Gleb Pavlovsky, president of the Effective Policy Foundation, told Interfax on Thursday.

Pavlovsky believes Russia has no reason to dramatically change its position on Iran. "IAEA claims against Tehran could be grounds. Even if such claims are brought, the most that can be expected of Russia is its consent to take part in the discussion of the sanctions," Pavlovsky said.

Pavlovsky believes Russia should not be expected to stop supplying S-300 systems to Iran. "S-300 is a defensive weapon and its supplies will in no way affect the evaluation of the observance of Iran's nuclear non-proliferation obligations," he said.

Some countries' hopes for Russia's consent to sanctions and halt of S-300 supplies to Iran are ungrounded, Rajab Safarov, general director of the center for Modern Iran Studies, said.

"President Medvedev clearly said the use of sanctions is ineffective. Clearly, Russia will not agree to sanctions in response to the cancellation of the (U.S. plans to deploy) missile defense systems (in Europe). It's not a deal," Safarov told Interfax.

The expert believes Russia has several reasons not to join the sanctions regime, including the fact that "the U.S. has indirectly confirmed that Iran is not conducting any development work violating its international obligations."

As for the supply of S-300 systems to Iran, it is solely an issue between Russia and Iran, Safarov said. "There is a treaty on the supply of defensive systems. Russia has no reason to refuse," the expert said.

At the same time, the expert admitted that the absence in the treaty of a provision dealing with dates of supply gives the opponents an opportunity to build versions that Russia may be playing a diplomatic game, in which amendments can be made depending on the situation.

"In reality, when it comes to diplomacy, Russia presently has the most influence of reducing tensions in the region," Safarov said.


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