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November 14, 2016 9:51 pm

Expert: Reported $10 Billion Arms Deal Between Russia and Iran Should Come as No Surprise

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

Russian T-90 tanks. Photo: Vitaliy Ragulin via Wikimedia Commons.

Russian T-90 tanks. Photo: Vitaliy Ragulin via Wikimedia Commons.

Reports that Russia and Iran are in talks about a potential $10 billion arms deal should not surprise anyone, an expert on the two nations told The Algemeiner on Monday.

“Russia has long been a key backer of the Iranian regime — including of its nuclear ambitions,” Ilan Berman — vice president of the Washington, DC-based conservative think tank the American Foreign Policy Council — said. “Since the passage of the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] last year, this cooperation has deepened considerably, and this new prospective deal is part of that expansion.”

Furthemore, Berman noted, “the Kremlin clearly sees Iran as an important strategic partner, especially in light of their collusion in Syria. But there’s a new element here as well. In the past, Russia used to look at Iran, then constrained by sanctions and international pressure, as a liability. These days, Iran is out of the sanctions box and Russian officials see it as an asset.”

Berman went on to say, “Only time will tell whether the incoming Trump administration will adopt a new, harsher policy on Iran – and whether that will change how Moscow thinks about Tehran. For now, Russo-Iranian cooperation is stronger than ever.”

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Speaking with The Algemeiner last week, Berman said Iran feared it could be the “big loser” from Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in last Tuesday’s presidential election.

In a New York Post op-ed published on Sunday, former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton — who has been touted as a potential secretary of state in a Trump administration – said killing the Iran deal was a “courageous but necessary” step Trump must take after he enters the White House in January.

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