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Op-ed: Russia and Iran, A Match Made in Heaven

August 31, 2016

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Even with the recent lover’s spat over the Russian air force’s use of the Iranian air base at Hamedan, the romance between the Kremlin and the Mullahs of the real Islamic State, the Islamic Republic of Iran, continues to flower. This is a match made in heaven because each of the two regimes has what the other covets. Russia needs money and Iran needs weapons. Thanks to the Obama administration’s appeasement of Iran and the turnover of $150 billion in hard currency, Iran can satisfy Russia’s needs.

The first inkling of this weapons bromance was back in April when Russia announced it had finally agreed to sell Iran the sophisticated point air defense system known as the S-300. This weapon, a follow-on to it ancestor, the SA-6, which killed many American pilot in the Vietnam war, is a very capable and fearsome missile system. Russia had formerly refused to sell Iran the S-300, demuring to the West’s desire to ‘deal’ with the Iranian nuclear threat first. Of course Russia was only to glad to help get Obama’s Iranian nuclear deal signed on the dotted line, then late in 2015, the first components of the S-300 began flowing to Tehran, who promptly highlighted them via parades through Tehran. The final stages of delivery have just been completed and Iran immediately deployed the system around sensitive nuclear sites that the Israelis would love to see just go away.

After the missile system deal was signed, rumors began to abound of Iran licensing the technology to produce the Russian T-90 tank in-country. Of course Iran would love to harness the ability to produce such a weapon rather than buy it off the shelf. Their armored capability was basically destroyed during the Iran, Iraq War and is woefully inadequate at the moment. Large numbers of the T-90, and the ability to reproduce them, would go a long way to solving this issue.

Since that time, there has been talk coming out of the Kremlin and the Iranian capital about selling Iran Russian high-performance, jet fighter aircraft, such as the SU-27 and the like. This would get Tel Aviv’s attention. The Iranian air force is still flying, or trying to fly, Vietnam era, American fighters such as the F-14 and the F-4, although these vintage planes are still capable against a medieval fighting force like the Islamic State. They are not viable against the Israeli air force however.

It was rumored in the press that Iran kicked Russia out of Hamedan after only a few days due to ‘bragging’ in the Russian state press about Russia establishing an air base in Iran. I am sure a few feathers were ruffled but in the long run, these two nations, and militaries for that matter, can’t do without one another for strategic reasons. Russia doesn’t make much but they make great weapons. Iran has the money to buy them. As I said, a match made in heaven; expect more weapons transfer announcements to come.


L. Todd Wood, a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, flew special operations helicopters supporting SEAL Team 6, Delta Force and others. After leaving the military, he pursued his other passion, finance, spending 18 years on Wall Street trading emerging market debt, and later, writing. The first of his many thrillers is “Currency.” Todd is a contributor to The Washington Times, Fox Business, Moscow Times, the New York Post, the National Review, Zero Hedge and others, and he is a foreign correspondent for Newsmax TV. For more information about L. Todd Wood, visit