Cossacks Strike Weapons Deal With Iran, Venezuela

The bear rattles its cage.

Russia defied the United States yesterday by announcing plans to sell military hardware to Iran and Venezuela.

The head of the state arms exporter said that he was negotiating to sell antiaircraft systems to Iran despite American objections. Russia has already delivered 29 Tor-M1 missile systems under a $700 million (£386 million) deal with Iran in 2005.

“Contacts between our countries are continuing and we do not see any reason to suspend them,” Anatoli Isaikin, the general director of Rosoboronexport, told the RIA-Novosti news agency at an arms fair in South Africa.

Reports have circulated for some time that the Kremlin is preparing to sell its S300 surface-to-air missile system to Iran, offering greater protection against a possible US or Israeli attack on the Islamic republic’s nuclear facilities. The missiles have a range of more than 90 miles (150km).

……The Russian moves mark a serious deterioration in relations between Washington and Moscow. Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, threated to block Russia’s membership of key international organisations. She told the Kremlin that its “authoritarian policies” could prevent it from joining the World Trade Organisation and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, which coordinates economic policies among industrialised countries. In an outspoken speech to the German Marshall Fund, an institution promoting greater cooperation between America and Europe, Dr Rice said: “The picture emerging is of a Russia increasingly authoritarian at home and aggressive abroad.

……At the heart of the dispute between the two former Cold War adversaries is Moscow’s insistence that America and its Nato allies are interfering in Russia’s “near abroad” and threatening its interests. The Kremlin is furious about plans to site an antimissile shield in Eastern Europe. The interceptors are designed to stop ballistic missile attacks from Iran but Russia believes the system in Poland and the Czech Republic is aimed at weakening its military capability.

The bottom line is that the New Soviet regime cannot tolerate its former colonies joining up with NATO or the fact that they are no longer a Superpower.

If you think the Cold War is over, think again.

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