The Islamic Republic of Iran and Russia are in the middle of negotiating an arms deal worth $10 billion, according to RIA news.
The massive agreement would send some of Russia’s most modern military equipment to a country that the U.S. government considers one of the foremost state sponsors of terrorism. Viktor Ozerov, the head of the Russian parliament’s upper house committee on security and defense, told reporters the agreement was underway during a visit to Iran.
Included in the arsenal deal will be the T-90 tank, Russia’s most advanced model, artillery pieces and various aircraft platforms. The potential arms purchase is the latest in a long shopping list Iran drew up after it received significant sanctions relief thanks to last year’s nuclear agreement (known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA). The country has also worked toward securing purchase agreements with major aircraft manufacturers, such as Boeing and Airbus.
Russia signed the JCPOA, which temporary limits certain aspects of Iran’s nuclear research, but that does not mean the Kremlin takes a hard line on Iran. Russia took Iran’s massive 25,000 pound uranium stockpile in December, and agreed to help build Iran’s new nuclear plant which broke ground in September.
The Kremlin defended Iran’s right to peaceful energy during the JCPOA negotiations and agreed to a deal in 2014 which will see Russia building as many as eight reactors for Iran. It will also be responsible for providing nuclear fuel for Iran’s reactors and storing any spent fuel on Iran’s behalf.
Russia sold the S-300 missile defense system to Iran shortly after the signing of the agreement, raising concern from several experts. The S-300 has the capability to shooting down both ballistic missiles and aircraft, potentially diminishing any military options against Iran’s nuclear infrastructure should it cheat the deal.
Iran’s cash influx post-Iran deal will likely at least be spent in part on further military modernization, offering Russia a lucrative opportunity to sell even more arms to the country.
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