Russia-Iran Defense Deal Could Prompt Israeli Airstrike

Amid nuclear negotiations, Russian President Vladimir Putin has lifted a self-imposed ban Monday on the delivery to Iran of an air-defense missile system capable of shooting down U.S. and Israeli jets, increasing the possibility the Jewish state will launch a military strike against Tehran’s nuclear program, according to a defense expert. After Russia signed an $800 million contract with Iran in 2007, delivery of the S-300 system was halted when Moscow decided to impose a ban in response to strong opposition to the deal from Israel and the George W. Bush administration. But delivery of the S-300 air-defense system as the U.S. and its P5+1 coalition partners negotiate to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons is a “potential game-changer,” according to Clare Lopez, vice president at the Washington-based Center for Security Policy, possibly prompting Israel to take military action before the system becomes operational.

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