Iran in talks with Russia over $10 billion arms deal

Russia is ready to develop military and technical cooperation with Iran, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s director of the Second Asian Department, Zamir Kabulov, said, adding that Iran is interested in the purchase of a wide range of Russian weapons.

“Naturally, some of these products — tanks and fighter jets — are covered by the UNSC sanctions, because there is a moratorium. It means that if we sign an agreement on the delivery of such products, we have to apply for the UNSC permission in the next five, or rather, the next four years and receive such permission,” Sputnik cited Kabulov as saying.

In October, Iranian Ambassador to RussiaMehdi Sanaei said that Tehran was looking for ways to broaden the scope of defense cooperation with Moscow, even in areas that require coordination with the UN Security Council (UNSC) and need a resolution. 

He added that Russia was ready to work with Iran in the area of military and technical cooperation. 

“There are other goods from the sphere of military and technical cooperation that are not subject to the UNSC decisions. There are no problems, but here we should act via the UNSC mechanism, unfortunately,” the diplomat concluded.

The head of the defense and security committee in the Russian upper house of parliament, Viktor Ozerov, in turn, said that Russia and Iran are in talks over an arms deal worth around $10 billion that would see Moscow deliver T-90 tanks, artillery systems, planes and helicopters to Tehran.

The President of the National Strategy Institute,Mikhail Remizov, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that the Iranian nuclear deal, achieved in the past year, has created the preconditions for the opening of Iran’s weapons market, in spite of the existing UN sanctions. “Now the difficulty is how the US will change its policy towards Iran, because the Republicans have always strongly criticized the deal with Tehran. On the one hand, this may be one of the differences between Russia and the new US government, but on the other hand, it can make Iran more interested in cooperation with Russia,” he said.

Mikhail Remizov stressed that not all of the weapons is currently under the UN sanctions, and therefore, it is justified to form the portfolio of orders, even without the possibility of total transactions through the Security Council. “Certain deliveries of Russian weapons to Iran are possible. Therefore, as a minimum, the parties can discuss a possibility of current supplies,” the President of the National Strategy Institute said.

A senior research fellow of the Institute for Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladimir Sazhin, recalled that according to the UN resolution, countries should not supply heavy offensive weapons to Iran. “Iran and Russia have a long experience of military-technical cooperation, therefore, these negotiations are not conducted in a vacuum. Now Iran is becoming very attractive for international business in a variety of directions, including military-technical cooperation,” he said.

“Since many, including the US companies and firms, are interested in Iran, a very serious competition has erupted to enter the republic’s market. What does Iran need? Firstly, high technologies and secondly, huge foreign investments. Russia cannot provide the entire set of Iran’s needs, but we do have areas where we can compete with other states: nuclear and thermal power, railways, space exploration. Military-technical sphere is the most attractive for Russia in terms of competitiveness in the Iranian market,” Vladimir Sazhin said.

At the same time, all the UN demands can be met. “According to the UN resolution, it is not recommended to sell Iran heavy offensive weapons within five years and missile technology within eight years. Now there is only three years left, so the current negotiations is very timely,” the expert concluded.

Source: vestnikkavkaza.net

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