Russia Helps Iran Keep Balance of Power

A meeting of the Russian-Iranian intergovernmental commission on military-technical cooperation took place n Tehran at the end of last week. The commission discussed leasing Russian helicopters and deliveries of modified RD-33 engines for Iranian jet fighters. Head of the Federal Military-Technical Cooperation Service Mikhail Dmitriev stated that cooperation with Iran would continue with the goal of maintaining the balance of power in the region.

The engines will power multipurpose supersonic fighter jets developed in Iran to replace American F-5 models obtained in the 1970s and the Iranian modification of them, called the Azarakhsh (Lightening). The deal was discussed during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Iran in October. A modification of the Ka-32 helicopter is also being considered. Iran began negotiations on the serial assembly of the Ka-32 two years ago, but those negotiations were discontinued. In 2006 and 2007, Russia supplied Iran with Tor-M1 air defense systems to defend the atomic power plant being built at Bushehr by the Russians. Talks on deliveries of S-300V air defense systems and MiG-29 and Su-30 fighter jets were also discontinued about a year ago.

A delay in the U.S.-Iranian war is implied by the recent publication of a U.S. intelligence report indicating that Iran closed down its military nuclear program in 2003. Russia is clearly taking advantage of the situation to sell as many weapons as possible. Dmitriev stated that “Russia and Iran are strengthening stability in the region.” He added that “We are talking about defensive types of weapons… Iran has never asked for and Russia would never give Iran offensive weapons to encourage any, conditionally speaking, aggression against anyone.”