July 23, 2008

A Russian "Greenlight" to Attack Iran?

That is one intriguing interpretation of today's disclosure that Iran would be getting the long range Russian surface-to-air missile system known as the S-300PMU-1 (SA-20), and that the system would be deployable in as soon as six months from their expected September arrival.

The Russians no doubt relish the contortions the West is going through over Iran's nuclear program, but at the same time, their intelligence organizations are telling them that Iran is working on developing nuclear weapons and missile technologies that can also threaten Russian interests.

By selling the Iranians advanced weapons systems and then disclosing their most likely deployment dates, the Russians are trying to have their cake and eat it too.

They've outlined the outside window of Iran's greatest vulnerability to an air assault on its nuclear program and command and control facilities. It only remains to be seen now whether or not American and Israeli leaders will strike with enough force to irreparably destroy key elements of the Iranian nuclear program, or if they will make the deadly mistake of trying to avert a nuclear war "on the cheap."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at July 23, 2008 12:58 PM

Doesn't Russia still have a treaty with Iran authorizing Russia's unilateral intervention in the event of a violation of Iranian soverign territory?

Is a divided Iran a la Germany 1945-1991 in the offing? The Russians still want/need a warm water port. Iran has a bunch of coast on the Caspian sea as well as the IO...

Posted by: Gus Bailey at July 23, 2008 01:39 PM

Well this isn't diffinitive, but:

Posted by: Gus Bailey at July 23, 2008 01:41 PM

The S-300PMU is notable for being capable of ballistic missile defense as well as anti-aircraft roles.

The smart money is on a late-October deployment target - a lot of people are sure the Israelis are going to wait until after the US Presidential elections to attack Iran's nuclear weapons program.

Posted by: cirby at July 23, 2008 02:12 PM

I think a better indication of a green light would be the Russians announcing when they will receive payment in full.

Posted by: Dusty at July 24, 2008 09:03 AM