What does Washington think about it?
Russia may start supplies of modern anti-missile defense systems to Iran, the information became known from an interview of Radjab Safarov, the director general of the Russian Center for Modern Iran Studies, with the Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun.
According to Radjab Safarov, a sensational proposition was first voiced by former chairman of the Duma Defense Committee, now late Lev Rokhlin during his meeting with Iran Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani that took place in the framework of an official visit of the RF Duma delegation to Iran at the end of February 1997. Radjab Safarov himself was member of the delegation as one of the deputies of Russia's defense minister.
The Japanese newspaper reports that the proposition voiced by Lev Rokhlin was as follows: as soon as Iran launches military satellites it will have a chance not only to trace all movements inside the country, at the borders and in the whole of the region within 24 hours; what is more Iran could ensure its security in the air with the help of different anti-missile and air defense facilities. The general said then: "As far as Iran has made a decision to build a nuclear power plant it is important to protect it from numerous enemies. Russia from its side is ready to supply modern air defense systems to Iran."
Radjab Safarov says that the top-authorities of Iran evinced great interest toward the proposition; they asked Russia to provide information about the price and performance specification of the system as the proposition hadn't been mentioned in the program of the visit originally. The Russian side claimed that the system cost $3-4 billion; construction of the system might take up to 3 years.
Iranian representatives participating in the talks told the general that they needed time to coordinate the proposition with the top leaders of the country. However, experts say that no official inquiry followed from Iran; the issue still remains unsettled.
Meanwhile, a Russian delegation headed by 2000 Nobel Prize winner, Duma deputy Professor Zhores Alferov is leaving for Teheran on September 19, 2003. The delegation is expected to stay in Iran for 5 days. It is not ruled out that supplies of the air defense system will be once again touched upon during the visit.
It should be mentioned that a regular session of the International Atomic Energy Agency devoted to Iran's nuclear programs is to open in Vienna on September 8. Having allowed the leakage of information about secret negotiations with Iran, Russia is raising its rates at the negotiations with the USA. After the end of the Iraqi war the whole of the world is experiencing waves of anti-American attitudes. Against this background the popularity of Russian air defense and anti-missile defense systems is gaining force.
As November 4 approaches (on this day, Russia and Belarus are to sign union programs), disputes between supporters and opponents of the integration become increasingly heated