Air Force Col. Says Russian S-300 Sale to Iran Represents ‘Fundamental Shift in Military Power for the Region’ (VIDEO)
Russia’s decision to go ahead with its shipment of the S-300 missile system to Iran could be an unprecedented game-changer in the region, U.S. Air Force commander and fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Col. Clinton Hinote wrote on Monday.
The Russian system “represents a fundamental shift in military power for the region,” he said. “For over a decade, the United States and its allies have been able to take freedom of action in the Middle Eastern skies for granted.”
Combating a country equipped with the S-300 “requires an effort that is much larger, much riskier, and much more costly,” he said.
As S-300 systems proliferate in countries such as Iran and North Korea, the U.S. and the West will have to pour resources into countering the threat, said Hinote.
U.S. President Barack Obama commented recently on the widely reported Russian sale of the system to Iran, saying he was “not surprised.”
“This is a sale that was slated to happen in 2009, when I first met with then-prime minister Putin … And I’m frankly surprised that it held this long, given that they were not prohibited by sanctions from selling these defensive weapons.”
The U.S. and Russia are part of the P5+1 group of nations negotiating with Iran over the country’s nuclear program.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he viewed the Russian sale of weapons to Iran with the “utmost gravity,” to which Russia responded that the weapons are not a threat because they are meant for self-defense.
“Obama is something else,” said Israeli Channel 10 news anchor Ben Caspit. He said “jaws dropped” around the studio with the U.S. president’s comments about Russia waiting to sell the weapons.
“This is the new America. We had better get used to it,” he said.
Watch a video of the S-3o0 in action below: