Armenian weapons sales undermine U.S.

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Successive U.S. administrations since the 1979 Islamic revolution have viewed Iran as a dire and existential threat to America and its allies in the Persian Gulf, the broader Middle East and Eurasia. They have thus sought to limit Iran’s military capabilities ever since.

Curtailing arms supplies and military technology to Iran has formed an important part of the U.S. agenda and foreign policy, particularly in light of ongoing U.S. and NATO military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. To its credit, the United States has successfully persuaded most of its allies not to sell arms to the Iranian military or its security apparatus.

To thwart U.S. efforts, Iran has cultivated close relationships with foreign suppliers that are not necessarily allied with the United States. Iran remains reliant on foreign suppliers, such as China, Russia and North Korea to develop its military might. Sadly, it appears that another nation with whom the U.S. has ties, Armenia, can now take its place in the aforementioned list of states supplying the Iranian military with arms.

It is troubling to learn about the recent WikiLeaks disclosure of more than 250,000 diplomatic cables, all apparently from the State Department, which will no doubt have major impact on the United States‘ national security. It is as troubling to learn of Armenia’s transfer of arms to Iran, which reportedly resulted in the death and injury of American troops in Iraq. We now know where Armenia stands, what its preferences are and where its loyalties lie. With a friend like this, who needs enemies?

In December 2008, then-Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte wrote a letter to Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan expressing his concerns about Armenia’s transfer of arms to Iran. In his letter, Mr. Negroponte noted that by law, the transfer of weapons to Iran requires the United States to consider whether there is a basis for sanctions against Armenia. It is important to note that the bills of lading associated with the arms transferred to Iran were signed by none other than then-Defense Minister Serzh Sargysan.

The United States cannot have a trauma of this magnitude and somehow overlook it. Let’s hope Mr. Negroponte’s message is followed up by the Obama administration.

ARASH HAKAKZADEH

Sherman Oaks, Calif.

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