Ex-IDF Intel Chief: Israel Has Cause for Concern Over Potential $10 Billion Russia-Iran Arms Deal
Recent reports that Moscow and Tehran are negotiating a potential $10 billion arms deal are “worrisome” for Jersalem, an ex-IDF intelligence chief told The Algemeiner on Monday.
“If the Iranians get equipped with a modern air force and air defense of the best of the Russian [weapons] industry, it will most certainly hurt Israel’s qualitative advantage [in the region],” said Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, director of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) at Tel Aviv University.
Furthermore, Yadlin asserted, Russian weapons procured by Iran will “without a doubt also leak to Syria and Hezbollah.”
The emerging arms sale, Yadlin stated, validated a concern raised by Israel last year when Iran and six world powers signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — known more familiarly as the Iran nuclear deal — that, as Yadlin put it, “the removal of the sanctions will allow the allocating of many resources for procurement and weapons deals that were never possible before the agreement.”
In an interview with The Algemeiner last week, Ilan Berman — vice president of the Washington, DC-based conservative think tank the American Foreign Policy Council — said talks between Russia and Iran should not come as a surprise to anyone.
“Russia has long been a key backer of the Iranian regime — including of its nuclear ambitions,” he said. “Since the passage of the JCPOA last year, this cooperation has deepened considerably, and this new prospective deal is part of that expansion.”
“The Kremlin clearly sees Iran as an important strategic partner, especially in light of their collusion in Syria,” Berman continued. “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 concluded, “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.”