Russia may pay a very big price for its arms shipments to Iran and Syria. The House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress currently considers a bill to introduce economic sanctions against Russian organizations and companies which provide countries of the so-called axis of evil with up-to-date defense technologies.
The bill was submitted to the Congress Wednesday. Five congressmen who initiated the document express their concerns about Russia-led arms deliveries to Iran and Syria. The congressmen demand U.S. President George W. Bush should introduce sanctions against the arms suppliers. They believe that the Russian companies herewith break U.S. laws which exclude defense shipments to Iran and Syria.
The President of the United States is entitled to single-handedly introduce economic sanctions against companies, state-run organizations and foreign countries violating the ban to deliver defense technologies (including weapons of mass destruction and missile technologies) to the countries of the axis of evil.
It is worthy of note that Russia and Iran signed a 700-million-dollar contract at the end of 2005 for the delivery of 29 missile complexes Tor-M1. The system is capable of striking all types of aircraft, as well as cruise missiles and unmanned aircraft. In addition, Russia is currently in talks with Syria to deliver short-range air defense systems Strelets (Shooter).
The United States is also concerned about Russia’s defense deals with Venezuela. The Venezuelan administration has recently acquired more than 50 military choppers, 24 Su-30MK2 fighter jets and 100,000 latest Kalashnikov assault rifles (AK-103) from the Russian Federation. To add more fuel to the fire, Venezuela signed a contract with Russia to launch the licensed production of Kalashnikov guns.
Washington has repeatedly urged Moscow to cease arms shipments to the countries with shady political regimes, as the USA believes. The U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicolas Burns stated last week that the Russian government must end defense shipments to Iran. The U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also criticized Russia for its defense deals with Syria and described such politics as “destabilizing.”
The Russian administration claims that the sale of Russian-made weapons to the above-mentioned countries does not infringe upon any international agreements, nor do they affect the balance of forces in the Middle East. Russian officials say that the deliveries are made to increase the defense ability of those countries.
“Any attempts to dictate the restrictions based on one-sided and politicized views cannot and will not be taken into our consideration,” Putin said. “This is the absolute priority for us. Russia has always observed, observes and will observe all international obligations in the defense field,” the Russian president added.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
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