News / Middle East

Iran-Russia Arms Dispute Damages Relations

TEXT SIZE - +
Al Pessin

Iran's decision to sue Russia in the International Court of Justice to try to force the sale of an air defense system deepens the crisis in the relationship between the two countries and underlines a shift in Russia's foreign policy priorities.  But analysts say it does not necessarily spell the end of Russia-Iran cooperation.

The dispute centers on Russia's S-300 anti-aircraft missiles.  Russia agreed to sell the weapons to Iran, but now says it cannot because of U.N. Security Council sanctions.

"What we're really seeing is an extraordinary downturn in Russo-Iran relations," said Russia specialist James Nixey.  "They have been historically close, of course.  But ultimately Russia views Iran as [being] unreliable as the West views Russia."

Nixey says Russia's leaders see relations with the West as so important that they are willing to offend Iran.

"I wouldn't read into this that Russia has discovered or re-discovered scruples, if you like," added Nixey.  "I think the fact of the matter is Russia is still willing to go against U.N. sanctions on certain issues.  It's done it before, and it's done it through third parties, which it may do again.  But the fact of the matter is Russia is a 'realpolitik' power like no other.  And it's weighed the pros and cons of the S-300 deal and it's decided at this point, it's just not worth going through with it."

That is bad news for Iran, says Gala Riani of the security firm IHS Jane's.

"It's viewed Russia throughout this period as very important ally, not just because of a close friendship, but really because Russia is still considered in many views as being one of the superpowers, an important power for Iran to have at its side," said Riani.  "It's lost, to some degree, one of its closest allies in that Russia is now complying a lot more with the Western stance."

But Iran has not given up on relations with Russia. Iran's foreign minister visited Moscow in August, and Iran has welcomed Russia's approach to restarting the international dialogue over the Iranian nuclear program.  

"Actually at the moment, Iran and Russian relations are just warming again," Riani noted.  "Iranian officials are speaking more favorably about Russia as well, because it is not a relationship that they're willing to completely get rid of because they are still to some degree dependent on it."

Russia's decision to cancel the anti-aircraft weapons sale, and Iran's decision to sue, are clearly bad for their relationship, but there are already moves to repair it, and some analysts predict Russia may eventually try to find a way around the sanctions.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid