Russia’s use of Iran’s Hamedan airfield may have “ended for now,” but Russo-Iranian military cooperation is far from over. Both states have indicated that Russia may use Shahid Nojeh Air Base in the future. This development is of limited significance for Russian military operations in Syria, since Russia has an airbase in Syria itself already. It may, however, be very significant for Iran’s ability to deter the U.S. and its regional adversaries.
Source: “S-300PMU2 complex,” Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:S-300PMU2_complex.jpg.
Reports are swirling that Russia is finally delivering an advanced S-300 air defense system to Iran, although they may be premature again. The implications of that and the other items on Iran’s military shopping list need our attention fast.
An Iranian military hardware spree can quickly fuel a Middle East arms race, drive U.S. allies to seek more advanced weapons, and, in the case of Israel, spur development of their own.
If there is one thing the Iranian leadership wants you to know, it is that the recently signedJoint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will not in any way compromise Iran’s ability to defend itself from military coercion or attack. The language in the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2231 endorses the nuclear deal, but also continues the ballistic missile and conventional arms embargoes for e
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is still holding back from fully endorsing last week’s announced Iran deal: the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). His reticence is smart and to be expected. Khamenei must appear above the fray of Iran’s internal politics while in reality he is intimately involved in their orchestration.
Iranians celebrate on the streets following a nuclear deal with major powers, in Tehran July 14, 2015. (Reuters).
A nuclear agreement will inject a large cash windfall into Iran’s ailing economy.
As the world is focusing on the yet-again extended nuclear talks, Iranian leaders are expressing ever greater concerns about the perceived threats from ISIS and Saudi Arabia. How Tehran may respond, including deploying ground forces in Iraq, should give everyone pause.
Last week there was widespread optimism that a deal on Iran’s nuclear program was close. Now a less enthusiastic tone has emerged, especially from Western negotiators, and a key problem appears to be how much and how fast sanctions relief will come.