“Israel struggles to halt Iran-Russia arms deal”

“Israel struggles to halt Iran-Russia arms deal”
June 28-July 1, 2009
     Israel is contining to pressure Russia [previously covered here] not to supply Iran with S-300 air defense missiles that could potentially neutralize an Israeli airstrike. Russia had previously stated that the delayed deal would not be completed, but Russian President Dmitry Medvedev recently told Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman that Iran had already made some payments. Medvedev suggested that Israel or a third party buy the defense system instead, but Lieberman did not provide a clear response (Haaretz). The $800-million contract with Iran comes as Russia faces trouble in key arms markets in China and India (RIA Novosti).
     Israel has stepped up its efforts, which have included a phone call from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Russia Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, in the run-up to US President Barack Obama’s visit to Moscow next week. United Press International writes that Obama is “certain” to support Israeli’s position, citing US concern that the sale could lead Israel to unilaterally attack Iran’s nuclear facilities before the S-300 defense system becomes operational (UPI).
     Egypt has expressed interest in purchasing Russia’s S-300 and S-400 air defense systems, the latter being capable of targeting long-range ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. Israeli officials denied that Egypt’s interest was related to Israel, describing the move as an effort to counter Iran’s growing missile capability (Jerusalem Post).
Haaretz | RIA Novosti | United Press International | Jerusalem Post

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