Iran is banking on Russia
By Amir Taheri, Special to Gulf News
Published: January 01, 2008, 23:09
Is Russia about to plug one of the biggest holes in Iran's military strategy, thus altering the regional balance of power?
Last week, Iran's Defence Minister Mustafa Najjar announced that Moscow has agreed to supply the Islamic Republic with an anti-aircraft defence system equipped with S-300 surface-to-air missiles.
Returning from an official visit to Moscow at the head of a high-level military delegation, Najjar told a press conference in Tehran that contract for the deal will soon be signed.
Two days later, however, the Russian government announced that no deal had been made and that Najjar's declaration had been premature. However, when the deal finally goes through, the Russian-made system could provide the missing piece in the jigsaw that makes the Islamic Republic's strategy in case of a major war.
Tehran has been pressing Russia to sell the missiles since 1996 when the Khomeinist leadership formulated its so-called National Defence Doctrine. The doctrine was based on the assumption that the US and/or Israel would be the Islamic Republic's principal adversaries in a major conflict.