The S300 Deal

The decision by Pres. Putin of Russia to sell the S300 surface-to-air missile system to Iran marks a break with the sanctions regime that has been in place against Iran since the p5+1 group (US, China, Russia, UK, EU, Germany) has been negotiating to try to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons.  Coming just a week after the announcement of the framework agreement between the P5+1 and Iran it represents a rush to take advantage of trade with Iran.  Russia desperately needs the income and this deal, in the works for a long time, will give Putin some financial relief.   It will also signal to many other actors, countries like China and many companies, that Iran is once again open for business, even though the framework agreement is far from complete.  Not only have Iran and the US issued completely different interpretations of the framework agreement, but the final agreement is not due to be negotiated until the end of June.

In response to criticism during his annual nation-wide broadcast Putin stated that since this system is purely defensive it will not negatively affect Israel.  But, this is disingenuous, since if Iran does go ahead and try to break-out and develop a nuclear weapon, Israel and/or the US might find it necessary to take military action to prevent it and in that case such a defensive missile system will definitely aid Iran and affect the outcome.  However, Gen. Dempsey, US Chief of Staff, stated that the US has already included the deployment of the S300 in its calculations, so the effect might not be so significant.

If I were a betting man I might be prepared to put money on the possibility of an Israeli aerial attack against Iranian nuclear sites sometime between June, 2015 and the date of the deployment of the S300.  This is because Pres. Obama is determined to see a diplomatic agreement with Iran despite the obvious inability to trust the Iranian regime and because Putin and others (including Obama) who are engaged in the negotiations really do not have Israel’s interests at heart and do not care that Iran is constantly, and even during the negotiations, threatening to destroy Israel, to “wipe it off the map.”  And how do they think Iran could carry out this threat, only with nuclear weapons of course.  What option does that leave open to Israel?

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