Wednesday, February 17, 2010

China Syndrome: Iran and the Missile Defense System

Iran And The Chinese Gambit

February 12, 2010: Iran, in response to Russia's refusal to deliver S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems it bought several years ago, announced that it had gone ahead and designed its own, which will have similar capabilities as the S-300. Now Iran regularly announces it has designed and built modern weapons (which it cannot buy because of three decades of embargos). These weapons rarely show up, although some are seen in prototype form. Meanwhile, the S-300, and similar systems, have not been delivered because Western nations have told Russia and China that if they arm Iran with modern weapons, there will be consequences.

But an "Iranian" S-300 might be more likely. That's because last year, Iran sought to purchase the Chinese made HQ-9 anti-aircraft missile system. China buys a lot of oil from Iran, and is considered an ally. China is believed to have secretly supplied Iran with a lot of military technology. By not delivering actual weapons, China avoids a confrontation with angry Western nations.

China has been offering its HQ-9 system to foreign customers, as the FD-2000, for several years now. The Russians are not happy with this, given the amount of stolen S-300 technology believed to be in the HQ-9. Russia has been pointed in warning China not to export weapons containing stolen Russian tech. But the Chinese have done it, apparently believing there's really nothing the Russians can do about it. China, in this case, may have followed past practice and quietly sold Iran the technology for the FD-2000, and let them build their own, and call it whatever they want.

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