16 красавіка 2006

Jane's: Lukashenka courts Tehran

From Jane's Intelligence Digest probes the covert links between Minsk and Tehran
(hat tip: Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi)

Belarus: Lukashenka courts Tehran

Jane’s Intelligence Digest probes the covert links between Minsk and Tehran.

A recent JID probe has indicated that Belarus may be preparing to export sensitive Russian military technology to Iran. Since early 2005, Minsk has been negotiating with Moscow for the purchase of the latest and most advanced version of the S-300SP surface-to-air missile system. According to well-informed sources, a contract for an unspecified number of S-300SP missiles was signed between Minsk and the Kremlin during the summer of 2005, with delivery scheduled to take place either later that year or else in early 2006.

Our investigations suggest that the real reason for Belarus' deal with the Kremlin may lie several thousand kilometres to the southwest. In January a high-level military and political delegation from Tehran paid a low-key visit to Minsk.

According to well-informed JID sources, the main reason for the visit was to make arrangements for the future transfer of the S-300SP SAMs from Belarus in order to help the embattled Iranian regime bolster its defences against possible US or Israeli air strikes designed to de-rail its efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

While the Kremlin remains a major supplier of nuclear technology for Iran's nuclear programme, President Vladimir Putin would face serious problems if he had to explain to the rest of the world how the Islamic Republic had acquired the most recent generation of S-300PSs. For this reason, Belarus and its increasingly isolated regime could provide an alternative supply route and one that would offer Moscow the cover of 'plausible deniability' once the missile transfer has been effected.

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1:22 AM  

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