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Monday, September 25, 2006

Annals of Cold War II: Now, Russia Sells Missiles to Iran

It's not enough for Russia to sell Iran nuclear technology. Now Russia is selling a missile defense system to be used in shooting down Israeli or American bombers if they try to take out an Iranian facility that is discovered to be producing nuclear weapons. The Moscow News reports:

Russia, pledging to complete the Bushehr reactor, has offered to sell a range of surface-to-air missile systems to protect Iran’s nuclear facilities, the Middle East Newsline reports.Russian diplomatic and industry sources said Moscow has been negotiating to sell Iran a range of anti-aircraft systems to protect Bushehr from Israeli or U.S. air strikes. The sources said contracts could be signed when Bushehr was ready to begin operations in a move expected to take place in late 2007.“Russia has already installed and manned SAM systems around Bushehr,” a diplomatic source said. “The current talks regard an air defense umbrella that would protect all strategic sites in Iran.”In November 2005, Russia reached agreement for the sale of 29 TOR-M1 short-range anti-aircraft systems to Iran in a deal valued at more than $700 million. The sources said Iran has also sought the strategic S-300PMU SAM system, capable of detecting and intercepting enemy aircraft at a distance of 300 and 150 kilometers, respectively.

At the same time, Russia is blocking international action to prevent Iran from using Russian nuclear technology to acquire atomic weapons. This brazen display of Cold War intentions, including nuclear brinksmanship, clearly demonstrates how far detached from reality, and therefore how dangerous, the Kremlin has become.

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