Procurement: Iran Has a Plan to Break the Arms Import Ban

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June 25, 2007: Iran is using Syrian arms purchases from Russia, as a way to get around a UN and U.S. arms embargo. The latest example of this is a billion dollar purchase of Russian MiG-31 and MiG-29 fighters. These are the latest models of both aircraft types. Five MiG-31s have apparently already been delivered. About two dozen aircraft are involved, and Syria will keep some of them, but the rest will show up in Iran. There are several ways Iran and Syria can handle the blowback from this. First of all, there is the mutual defense treaty between Syria and Iran. Thus that could be used as an excuse for Syria to "station some of its aircraft in Iran." The aircraft could keep their Syrian markings, and technically belong to Syria, while being used by Iran, in Iran.

Moreover, Syria is basically Irans client. Syria is a Sunni Arab nation run by a Shia minority. This is done via a well developed police state, very similar to the one Saddam Hussein (a Sunni Arab) had in Iraq (which has a Shia majority). Syria, however, does not have a lot of oil. In addition to being more cautious, Syria hooked up with Iran, and is paid well to do whatever Iran needs done. Syria has few friends otherwise.

 


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