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Russian Missile Deal with Iran Means ‘Military Option Dead’

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Iranian news sources are reporting that negotiations with Russia to buy the S-300 surface-to-air missile systems were “successful.”

Western officials say delivery of the system would essentially eliminate the military option to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

During a press conference Monday, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that the missiles will be delivered as soon as possible.

Amir-Abdollahian spoke after a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, in Moscow.

Since 2007, Russia has repeatedly threatened to sell the system to Iran but relented under Western pressure. On April 13, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a presidential decree facilitating the sale of the missile system.

See Clarion Project’s analysis on the sale:

 Russian System Should Be Treated As Part of Iran's Nuke Program

Meanwhile, the trial of Jason Rezaian, an editor and writer for the Washington Post in Tehran has begun behind closed doors.  The Islamic Republic has accused Rezaian, who holds dual American-Iranian citizenship, of being a spy.

The Washington Post issued a statement through the executive editor of the paper, Martin Baron, which read: "The shameful acts of injustice continue without end in the treatment of Rezaian.  Now we learn his trial will be closed to the world. And so it will be closed to the scrutiny it fully deserves. There is no justice in this system, not an ounce of it, and yet the fate of a good, innocent man hangs in the balance."

Rezaian was arrested last September. For four months he was held in an Iranian prison without being formally charged. He first appeared in an Iranian court in December for 10 hours but the charges were not made public. At the time, the Post reported that the charges were not even clear to those in court.

For the last nine months, Rezaian has been jailed in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, where he has been denied proper medical care and held in solitary confinement for months at a time.

The Post also reported that he was only allowed to meet with his court-approved lawyer for one and a half hours before the trial began.

According to Rezaian's lawyer, Leila Ahsan, as reported by Iranian state media, Rezaian is charged with "espionage, collaboration with hostile governments, gathering classified information and disseminating propaganda against" Iran.

The BBC reported that Rezaian’s case has been “repeatedly raised" during the current negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, but that the U.S. was not making freedom for the journalist a condition of the deal. 

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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