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Obama, Medvedev can work together on missile-defense system and Iran

It is a mere coincidence that media reports about problems facing the U.S. missile-defense system in the Czech Republic have appeared together with information about a contract on the sale of Russian-made S-300 surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems to Iran. Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said his government was deferring a vote on the controversial U.S. missile shield due on March 17 in parliament amid fears that it could be rejected. What's more, there is a connection between Iranian and European missile-defense systems. Washington claims elements of the European missile-defense system (that were due to be deployed in the Czech Republic and Poland) will be directed against Iran. However, this explanation is false. Thanks to Moscow, Tehran will now feel more confident and less vulnerable, while the proposed U.S. missile-defense system for Europe is hanging in limbo. Those analysts who are portraying Russia as some kind of a bogeyman have already drawn their conclusions. They are remarking rather caustically that Moscow has a rare talent of threatening the West at the most inappropriate moments and to its own detriment. When Barack Obama was elected president, Russia said it could deploy new Iskander theater-level missiles in the Kaliningrad Region, its Baltic exclave. Both sides are now preparing for a bilateral summit, scheduled to take place in London early this April. The media are saying in the run-up to the summit that Russia continues to strengthen the positions of Iran during the latter's standoff with Washington. The news from Prague and the S-300 contract are directly linked with the upcoming London summit. However, both issues can become interlinked only if one believes that Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev will discuss the possibility of exchanging the European missile-defense system for Iran. In effect, Washington would not deploy missile-defense system elements in the Czech Republic and Poland if Moscow helped it to defeat Tehran. However, President Obama and sources in Moscow say nobody is planning such an exchange. Moscow's decision to deploy Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad Region and Belarus largely offsets a hypothetical threat posed to Russia by the European missile-defense system. The situation with Iran is even more complicated. The administration of President Obama realizes that two foreign policy priorities, that is, intensifying the war in Afghanistan and continuing the confrontation with neighboring Iran, are mutually incompatible. In this situation, how should we assess media reports about the planned sale of S-300 SAMs to Iran? The United States realizes that Iran will eventually receive these missiles. Although S-300 SAMs will make the Bush administration's Iranian policy irrelevant, they cannot prevent President Obama from formulating his own policy on the issue. Any hypothetical U.S. or Israeli air strike against Iran would prove extremely costly after Tehran acquires S-300 missiles. Although the United States maintains substantial military presence in the Persian Gulf, Iran would feel more confident when it receives armaments. By supplying SAM-300 missiles to Iran, Russia would also help the United States. In the last few years, Moscow's involvement in settling international crises in Iran, Iraq, Palestine and North Korea hinges on the following simple principle: Never isolate a country that you don't like because it would then start behaving unpredictably. President George W. Bush preferred a diametrically opposite policy, the results of which are here for everyone to see.
http://en.rian.ru


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