News / Middle East

Iran-Russia Arms Dispute Damages Relations

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

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs