Will round after round of sanctions do anything but hurt ordinary Iranians?
|Dmitry Medvedev, Russian president, stressed the importance of Iran having a peaceful nuclear programme [Reuters]
Iran has successfully tested its own version of a missile system that Russia declined to supply amid concerns Tehran might be seeking nuclear weapons, an Iranian military official said.
State-run Press TV on Thursday quoted a commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards as saying Tehran had adapted another Russian-made missile system to perform like the more sophisticated S-300.
“We have developed the system by upgrading systems like the S-200 and we have tested it successfully,” Brigadier General Mohammad Hassan Mansourian said, according to Press TV’s
Russia infuriated Iran in September when it cancelled the S-300 missile order after heavy lobbying from the United States and Israel, which said the system could be used to help Iran shield its nuclear facilities from possible future air strikes.
Some Western analysts doubt Iran’s ability to replicate the S-300, a precision, mobile, long-range air defence system that can detect, track and destroy ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and low-flying aircraft.
However, some Western officials suspect Iran’s development of more sophisticated missiles could serve the goal of attaining a deliverable nuclear weapon.
Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian President, banned delivery of the S-300s in September, saying it would violate expanded UN sanctions over Iran’s refusal to curb a nuclear programme many countries fear is aimed at making a bomb, a charge it denies.
Medvedev met Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, on Thursday at a summit of Caspian Sea states in Baku, Azerbaijan, where the issue of reopening nuclear talks was likely to be raised.
The two leaders met on the sidelines of the regional summit during one of the lowest points in relations between the two traditional allies.
Once a reliable backer of Tehran, Moscow has scrubbed a controversial missile deal with Iran and backed UN sanctions against the country over its controversial nuclear drive.
In a sign of the Baku meeting’s sensitivity and in contrast to usual practise, Russian state television skipped over the opening remarks and showed only the two president shaking hands and Ahmadinejad smiling broadly.
“The conversation was of a completely open nature. Neither ourselves, nor our colleague avoided unpleasant questions,” said Sergei Prikhodko, Medvedev’s top foreign policy aide after the
meeting in Baku.
Speaking at the summit, Ahmadinejad said Iran would not bend to threats or sanctions.
“If they want to achieve positive results they should stop thinking as aggressors,” he said at a news conference. “They should change the old methods, otherwise the results will be the same. No embargoes can change the Iranian people.”