On the one-year anniversary of the start of talks with Iran, and as President Barack Obama prepares to give his State of the Union address, Russia has signed a military deal with Iran. The agreement covers “includes expanded counter-terrorism cooperation, exchanges of military personnel for training purposes and an understanding for each country’s navy to more frequently use the other’s ports,” the AP reports. Russia’s defense minister called it “long-term and comprehensive.”
The deal sends an unmistakable signal to Washington–and to Jerusalem–that Iran is far from isolated, and that rival powers are maneuvering to prevent a military strike as a last resort. According to the AP, Iranian media also reported Tuesday that Russia had settled an old contractual dispute over a missile defense system that Russia had canceled in 2007, when the George W. Bush administration–then enjoying far greater leverage–joined Israel in protesting the sale.
Iran has been a persistent theme in President Obama’s State of the Union speeches in recent years. He has promised, over and over again, that talks would yield a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear program. He has also claimed to have built international unity against Iran among the P+5 nations (Russia, China, the U.S., France, Britain, and Germany). However, a deal with Iran has proved elusive, and talks have been extended twice despite suspected violations by the Iranian regime.
The President is expected to reiterate his threat to veto any new Iran sanctions–a position that was supported last week by British Prime Minister David Cameron, who said that he had been lobbying members of the U.S. Senate to oppose and new sanctions. Cameron said that new sanctions “could put at risk the valuable international unity that has been so crucial to our approach.” However, the new military deal between Russia and Iran suggests that such unity may be illusory at best.
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the new ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak