In April, Secretary of State John Kerry quietly met with Russian Vladimir Putin in Sochi. I’ve always wondered what the purpose and the result of that meeting was. Now as the president attempts to sell his Iran “deal” to Congress and the American people, we may be seeing the consequences of Obama diplomacy. Although the press has not had access to the entire agreement, including secret side deals, it seems that Russia will now be unrestrained to harvest the Iranian arms market. This is in addition to the previously announced sale of advanced anti-aircraft technology to Iran that will give the Islamic theocracy unprecedented, long-range air-defense capability that will destabilize the entire Middle East.
Russia does not produce many goods but it does make and export highly capable and effective military armaments. With oil revenues declining, the Kremlin is keen to ramp up other sources of revenue for the dwindling federal budget. RIA Novosti reported Friday that Russia is in the advanced stages of configuring the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system for sale to Iran. Mr. Putin announced the approval of the sale in April of this year.
“It has partially been updated, separate elements are still being updated,” said Vladimir Kozhin, a presidential adviser on military matters, referring to the S-300 system. “It will be that very S-300 complex that Iran wanted to receive.”
With this long-range technology in place, Iran will be able to threaten civilian and military aircraft alike operating from neighboring Middle Eastern countries, as well as from U.S. military bases in the region. President Obama repeats often that the military option is still on the table with Iran if they cheat on this agreement. Iran having the ability to destroy incoming military attack aircraft from long distances will make that option much more difficult by several orders of magnitude. Most likely the United States is the only nation with the capability to defeat such a system but that still would not be an easy task. Presumably, the Obama adminstration is well aware of this fact. Israel would be hard pressed to engage Iran militarily with the S-300 operational in numbers.
It is highly likely that Russia and Iran are in discussions regarding the sale of other types of armaments as well. The new armored systems and advanced aircraft that Russia has developed are very expensive. Russia needs to lay off some of the cost and financial risk of these projects as the United States has done with the F-35. The Pentagon brought in allies in the development and deployment of the aircraft, which in theory, lowered the unit cost for everyone. With Russia’s help, Iran could become a military hegemon in the region with the ability to project power far beyond its borders.
The possibility of Russia selling Iran intercontinental ballistic missile technology has also been raised in the press recently. This obviously would allow any nuclear warhead that Iran is able to develop over the next decade, as the deal’s provisions wind down, to be delivered against targets in Europe or the United States.
Yes, it seems Russia was able to negotiate a sweet deal with its international partners in the Iran negotiations. Most likely it will be many years before the full extent of the damage to American and allied national security is known in full. This is all the more reason for Congress to kill this deal before it’s too late. The next president can wipe the slate clean and start over. It won’t be easy to put the Iranian genie back in the bottle but that is what leadership is all about. America has no choice.