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Putin to offer Iran 'arms, nuclear deal' at summit

Discussion in 'Europe & Russia' started by layman, Sep 11, 2013.

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  1. layman

    layman Aurignacian STAR MEMBER

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    MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin meets Iran's new president for the first time this week, reportedly armed with an offer to supply missile systems and build a second nuclear power reactor that is likely to gladden Tehran and trouble the United States.

    President Hassan Rowhani is set to meet Putin on the sidelines of a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation held in Kyrgyzstan on Friday, in the newly-elected centrist cleric's first meeting with a major world leader.

    The Kommersant business daily reported Wednesday that Putin will offer to supply Iran S-300 air defence missile systems as well as build a second reactor at the Bushehr nuclear plant.

    The S-300 offer would be a particularly contentious development given it would essentially revive a contract for similar missile systems that Russia cancelled in 2010 after heavy Israeli and US pressure.

    Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Kommersant that Putin and Rowhani were expected to discuss "working together in the nuclear energy sphere" and "questions of military technical cooperation" at the summit in Bishkek.

    Putin's meeting with the leader of Moscow's long-standing regional ally comes shortly after he hosted Western powers for a G20 summit focused on Syria in Saint Petersburg this month.

    Putin will make significant concessions to Iran by offering to supply Tehran with five sophisticated S-300 ground-to-air missile systems, Kommersant reported, quoting a source close to the Kremlin.

    The source also said that Russia would offer to build a second reactor for the Bushehr nuclear plant, Iran's only functioning nuclear power station whose construction was completed by Russia, as a political gesture.

    Putin took the decisions last Thursday, the source said.

    Russia in 2007 signed a contract to deliver five of the advanced S-300 ground-to-air weapons systems -- which can take out aircraft or guided missiles -- to Iran at a cost of $800 million.

    In 2010 then-president Dmitry Medvedev cancelled the contract after coming under strong US and Israeli pressure not to go ahead with the sale of the weapons system, drawing vehement protests from Tehran.

    Kommersant cited a source as saying that Russia's offer would depend on Iran's withdrawing a $4 billion lawsuit that it has lodged at an international court in Geneva against Russia's arms export agency.

    Putin would offer to supply Tehran with a modified export version of the S-300 systems called S-300VM Antey-2500, the source said.

    Russia could increase supplies of arms to Iran if the United States decides on military intervention in Syria, the head of the lower house's committee on international relations, Alexei Pushkov, told parliament on Wednesday.

    "If the 'party of war' prevails in the United States... then I consider it absolutely justified to suggest considering more serious measures by Russia, including broadening of supplies of defensive weapons to Iran," Pushkov was quoted as saying by Interfax.

    Iran is Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's main regional ally and has warned Western powers against intervention in the conflict.

    Russia has consistently opposed international military intervention against Assad and is negotiating with Damascus on a plan for it to hand over chemical weapons in order to avoid US strikes.

    An arms industry source told the Interfax news agency on Wednesday that supplies of Antey-2500 S-300s to Iran "could not be ruled out in the future, but so far no pre-contractual work is being carried out by Russian exporters."

    Kommersant also cited the source close to the Kremlin as saying that that Russia was ready to build a second reactor for Bushehr power station in a deal that was not "particularly profitable from an economic point of view, but is rather political."

    Moscow has cooperated with Iran on nuclear power generation despite international opposition to a programme that Western powers and Israel believe is being used as a smokescreen for building a nuclear bomb, while Iran insists it is peaceful.

    Russia had urged the West to soften sanctions against Iran after the election of Rowhani, a centrist cleric, in June, expressing hopes for a major breakthrough in the nuclear standoff. Rowhani has pledged greater transparency in talks.

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  2. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Two senior Russian lawmakers called Wednesday for additional shipments of “defensive weapons” to Iran if Washington proceeds with planned airstrikes against Syria, while unconfirmed rumors swirled that the Kremlin was working toward a new agreement on deliveries of missile defense systems to Tehran.

    “If the ‘party of war’ wins out in the USA and the efforts by Syria’s enemies … bring results, I find it absolutely justified … for Russia to consider more serious measures, including expanding supplies of defensive weapons to Iran,” said Alexei Pushkov, who heads the foreign policy committee of parliament’s lower house, the State Duma.

    Such a proposal was initially made by Pushkov’s deputy, Communist lawmaker Leonid Kalashnikov, but was voted down by the Duma, which passed a resolution on Syria late Wednesday. However, Pushkov said the initiative could be brought back for a revote if the US does indeed attack Syrian government targets, which it is considering doing in retaliation for the suspected use of chemical weapons – an allegation Damascus denies.

    Earlier in the day, the Kommersant newspaper reported, citing unnamed Kremlin sources, that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered the drafting of a new agreement to supply Iran with state-of-the-art Antei-2500 missile defense systems, a modification of the S-300 systems that Moscow agreed to sell Iran in 2007 before freezing the deal in 2010.

    Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told RIA Novosti the president had not ordered any concrete work on an S-300 deal; however, he told Kommersant that Putin would discuss both military and nuclear issues with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, on the sidelines of an upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting in Kyrgyzstan.

    Moscow froze the original S-300 deal in 2010 under then-President Dmitry Medvedev, after the UN Security Council passed a resolution banning certain arms exports to Iran. The change of heart prompted a $4 billion lawsuit by Tehran against Russia’s state-run arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, in a Geneva court.

    Military sources have told RIA Novosti that Russia has been trying to persuade Iran to drop the suit and sees this as a necessary prerequisite for any new deal to proceed, whether it involves S-300s or some other defense system like the Tor or Pantsir. The sources have asked not to be named as they are not authorized to speak publicly on the topic.

    Kommersant linked any intensification of Russia-Iran talks on arms supplies and nuclear power to the current situation in Syria, as Moscow and Tehran are both seen to be de facto allies of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

    Russian Lawmakers Call for More Arms to Iran if Syria Attacked | World | RIA Novosti
     
  3. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Russia is hoping to settle Iran’s litigation with Moscow over a failed S-300 air defense system deal during a Friday meeting between President Vladimir Putin and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, a Russian presidential aide said Thursday.

    The presidents are expected to meet on the sidelines of an upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Kyrgyzstan.

    “I am certain that various aspects of military-technical cooperation will be thoroughly discussed during the meeting,” Yury Ushakov said.

    “We have made our proposal, and we are hoping that this issue will be settled,” Ushakov said, without specifying the details of the Russian offer to the Islamic Republic.

    Moscow froze the original S-300 deal in 2010 under then-President Dmitry Medvedev, after the UN Security Council passed a resolution banning certain arms exports to Iran. The renege prompted a $4 billion lawsuit by Tehran against Russia’s state-run arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, in a Geneva court.

    Military sources have told RIA Novosti that Russia has been trying to persuade Iran to drop the suit and sees this as a necessary prerequisite for any new deal to proceed, whether it involves S-300s or some other defense system like the Tor or Pantsir. The sources have asked not to be named as they are not authorized to speak publicly on the topic.

    Iran in June rejected Russia’s proposal to substitute the S-300s with Tor-M1E air defense systems, saying the Tor cannot be integrated into the country’s air defense network.

    Ushakov said the Russian and Iranian leaders are also expected to address bilateral trade in general, as it has suffered substantially due to US and EU sanctions against Tehran over its controversial nuclear program.

    “The US and EU sanctions led to the reduction of Russian-Iranian trade in 2012 by 37.9 percent to $2.33 billion as Russian exports to Iran dropped by 44.1 percent to 1.9 billion,” the Kremlin official said.

    Russian, Iranian Leaders to Discuss S-300 Deliveries Deadlock | World | RIA Novosti
     
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