Administration may allow Russian sales of advanced arms to Iran

Obama administration appeasement of Iran may now include a refusal to sanction sales of an advanced missile system that could alter the balance of power in the Middle East. 

A side benefit for Iran if they are able to purchase the S-300 long range missile system from Russia is that it will make it harder for the U.S. or a coalition of countriers to knock out Iran's nuclear infrastructure in the future.

The White House has spoken out against the arms deal but has yet to clarify whether it would try to block it, leaving open the possibility that the White House will allow it to proceed.

Washington Free Beacon:

The administration’s hesitance to act has prompted a new congressional inquiry, the Free Beaconhas learned, and has sparked accusations that the White House is not exercising its sanction authority in order to prevent Iran from walking away from last summer’s nuclear deal.

Rep. Steve Chabot (R., Ohio) sent an inquiry to the White House about the matter more than a month ago. The White House has not responded.

“Given the series implications for the United States and our allies in the region, I respectfully request that you quickly determine that Russia’s transfer of S-300 surface-to-air missile systems advance Iran’s efforts to acquire ‘destabilizing numbers and types of advances conventional weapons’ and impose the necessary U.S. sanctions once the Russian delivery takes place,” Chabotwrote to the White House on April 7, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Free Beacon.

Chabot outlined concern “that without such a determination the United States may be viewed as acquiescing to this transfer” of a major defensive weapons system to Iran.

Chabot told the Free Beacon on Thursday the administration has not responded to multiple inquiries about the potential designation.

“Despite multiple inquires to the U.S. Department of State, I still have not received a response on Russia’s S300 surface-to-air missile system transfer to Iran,” Chabot said. “This apparent dismissal leaves me wondering what exactly the Administration is hiding. I am really asking a simple question – is the introduction of a sophisticated weapon system into Iran, that has not been there previously, going to elicit the appropriate U.S. sanctions response? I am not sure why the Administration has found it so hard to come to a determination. The S300 is one of the most advanced anti-aircraft missile system’s in the world and significantly bolsters Iran’s offensive capabilities and stands as a serious hurdle to our efforts to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear armed state. This is absolutely a destabilizing conventional weapon system.”

When contacted for comment, a State Department official told the Free Beacon that the administration has not made a final determination about whether the S-300 sale would trigger additional U.S. sanctions.

Why is the S-300 such a game-changer?

"Should an S-300 battery be placed on Iran’s southern coast, Tehran could quickly detect American or allied aircraft taking off from local bases," The Hill notes. "Not only would most modern strike aircraft be vulnerable to detection and engagement far before reaching Iranian shores, the S-300 would allow Iran offensive capacities beyond its airspace, which could include harassing non-hostile aircraft flying over neighboring countries."

These capabilities could allow Iran to track US and US-allied military flights, as well as civilian airliners, throughout the Persian Gulf. For example, the Bahrain International Airport and the American Naval Base in Bahrain would both be within the 150 mile tracking range of Iranian S-300s if they were placed along Iran's southern coast.

Aside from a potential projection of Iranian aerial power, S-300s would also allow Iran to set up a formidable ring of defense around its nuclear sites. Iranian air defenses would be nearly impenetrable against all but the most advanced US aircraft. 

The delivery of the system would mitigate the threat of military action against Tehran in case of breaches in the nuclear agreement. 

In effect, the S-300 would guarantee the survival of Iran's nuclear program if the Iranians violate the nuclear deal.

Only a fool would hand Iran the one weapons system that would accomplish the goal of negating Israel's air power and make it exceedingly difficult for even the U.S. to breach Iranian air defenses.

But if the goal is making Iran a regional hegemon in order to bring stability to the Middle East, the missile sale makes perfect sense – if you believe you're smarter than everybody else.  Empowering a nation that wants to destroy you goes beyond foolish and becomes insane.  But that's what the White House is mulling over as they decide whether to let Iran purchase the means of security for their nuclear program.

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