Friday, May 21, 2010

Obama: Missile defense for Iran, but not for our allies

In a desperate attempt to get something approved by the U.N. Security Council on Iranian nuclear proliferation, the Obama administration has agreed to a loophole that former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton says is "big enough to drive a truck through:"
The Obama administration on Friday lifted sanctions against four Russian entities involved in illicit weapons trade with Iran and Syria since 1999, and acknowledged exempting a Russian-Iranian missile deal from a U.N. draft resolution banning most missile sales to Iran.

The move comes just three days after the U.S., Russia and other key powers reached agreement on a draft resolution sanctioning Iran for violating U.N. demands to halt its uranium enrichment program. The draft includes a loophole that would exempt a 2005 Russian deal, valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, to sell Tehran five S-300 surface-to-air missile systems.

The removal of the four entities, which was recorded in Friday's Federal Register, suggested that the United States engaged in some last-minute bargaining to ensure Moscow's support for sanctions. The companies include Russia's state arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, which was sanctioned for its dealing with Iran in 2006 and 2008, and Moscow Aviation Institute, one of three entities sanctioned in 1999 for aiding Iran's development of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.
It's official.  The Russians say "jump" and the Obama administration asks, "how high?"  Quite a reset, I'd say.

Gone are the days when President Ronald Reagan stood at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and implored Mr. Gorbachev to "Tear down this wall!"  Now we find ourselves in an era in which the President of the United States reneges on our government's commitment to provide missile defense to our allies in Eastern Europe (Poland and the Czech Republic) at the behest of the Russians.  Then, less than a year later, we agree to a U.N. resolution which expressly permits the Russians to deliver surface-air-missile systems to Iran.  You know, the S-300's that will be positioned to neutralize any Israeli or U.S. (just kidding) attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

It's understandable that the "U.S official" who issued this statement today in defense of the U.N. agreement prefers to remain anomymous:
"It's worth mentioning that Russia has not transferred the S-300s," the official said. "That's not to say they couldn't do it tomorrow. But they haven't done it."

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