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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid