Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday lifted the ban for delivering to Iran S-300 anti-missile systems in return for oil in a move that is going to send Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu through the roof.
Putin’s daring move to pocket billions from the emerging deal on Iran’s nuclear program, in which Russia has a huge investment, paves the way to allow Iran to defend itself better against American, Israeli or Saudi missiles.
The S-300 systems would make it more difficult for a retaliatory attack on Iran in the event that Tehran is caught reneging on a deal and caught in the last stages of developing a nuclear weapon.
Russia suspended deliveries of the systems after pressure from the United States, encouraged by Israel, and from other Western countries five years ago.
The missiles-for-oil deal could be worth up to $20 billion.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters that the deal does not violate current sanctions.
“In exchange for Iranian crude oil supplies, we are delivering certain products,” he stated.
Israel has not yet commented on Putin’s lifting the ban on the deliveries of the missile systems but definitely will make it clear to the U.S. Congress that it makes President Barack Obama’s agreement for a temporary framework deal even more problematic.
The deal does not stop Iran from continuing to develop inter-continental ballistic missiles that could easily reach Israel.
Put together ICBM missiles, S-300 anti-missile systems and a “bad deal” and you come up with a nuclear weapon aimed at Israel.
Putin’s announcement Monday is great timing for Republican senators.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will formally draft legislation tomorrow that would prevent President Barack Obama from lifting sanctions against Iran for 60 days while Congress reviews the final deal and possibly vote to keep sanctions in place.