What happens when serious economic sanctions are lifted from a nation with a thirst for weapons and big plans for using them? A bonanza for arms dealers, that’s what.
“Under the broader sanctions programme, offensive weapons and a whole range of kit – some obvious like military aircraft but some much more general such as types of computer software – were banned from sale to Tehran,” the UK Telegraph explains. “Russia and China are likely to be the two big beneficiaries as Iran looks to modernise its air force, which is particularly antiquated, and sharpen its already highly developed domestic missile production system.”
Western nations appear to be mostly excluded from primary sales, although they might be able to make a few bucks selling Iran enhancements for their weapons:
Western arms companies such as British Aerospace and Lockheed Martin may be prevented from exporting to Iran, even after the deal, and would probably in any case not be first choice for a country which is a strategic ally of Russia and China. But other companies may be able to sell items from the banned list which are not overtly military but have military use – from high grade metal alloys that can give extra range to missiles to drone technology and even high capacity computer equipment.
The Telegraph says Iran will face a “major dilemma” about how to spend the incredible fortune Obama just dumped into their laps – $100 billion in frozen assets thawed quickly, plus new revenue streams opening up left and right. The Iranians don’t sound conflicted about that at all, since Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has already commanded that five percent of Iran’s budget be allocated to military spending.
According to U.S. News & World Report, the theocracy is especially keen on missile technology, and while its official commitment to defense spending is kept modest to perpetuate the image of a shy, peaceful nation, the true budget of the dirty-tricks Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps “is in fact much greater than this number, supplemented by the economic activities of the organization, which runs the Khatam al-Anbia engineering firm.”
Khamenei also ordered his military and paramilitary organizations to “increase their military and defense preparedness and increase their combative and mental capabilities on a daily basis.” It’s probably just a coincidence that Iran has been interested in advanced air-defense missile systems from Russia, even before the sanctions were formally lifted.