US Demands That Russia Call Off Hefty Arms Deal with Iran

America has warned Moscow that if its huge $7b arms deal with Tehran goes through, US-Russian economic and military cooperation will be detrimentally affected. This warning, conveyed by US defense secretary William Brown in an urgent meeting with his Russian counterpart Igor Sergeyev at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, is part of an aggressive US diplomatic offensive to prevent the Russians from becoming Iran’s primary arms supplier. Brown demanded Russian compliance with its commitment under a 1995 accord not to sell arms to Iran. This position will be raised in forceful terms by the US State Department anti-proliferation team, which is due in Moscow Wednesday Dec 6. Last month, Moscow announced the 1995 accord was a dead letter and it was going ahead with sales to Iran of conventional arms, though not nuclear weapons or technology.
debkafile ‘s Washington sources explain the acute American concern at this time on three grounds: A. Massive pressure from Israel to stem the flow of Russian arms to Iran. B. The huge volume of the Russian sale. Russian defense minister Sergeyev is due in Teheran next month to formally sign a series of military contracts adding up to $7b worth of sophisticated fighters and bombers, advanced tanks, warships and a clutch of missiles, including air-air and anti-air types. An injection of war materials on this scale will radically upset the military balance in the Persian Gulf-Arabia region. C. American officials strongly suspect that – notwithstanding Moscow’s protestations to the contrary – Russian nuclear technology will indeed be exported to Iran, concealed in the package of conventional hardware, else Iran would not have agreed to a deal on this scale
In pictures: Top: US defense secretary William Brow. Bottom: Russian defense minister Igor Sergeyev.

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