Iran to use windfall from Obama deal on buying Russian weapons

Washington Free Beacon:
The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency told lawmakers Tuesday that Iran will purchase new, advanced Russian weapons systems after receiving large-scale sanctions relief with the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal and will utilize these military capabilities in the Syrian civil war in the near future.

Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart made this statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee alongside Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, both of whom were on Capitol Hill to testify about the newly-release annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community,” which details the current array of threats posed to American interests and national security.

During the congressional hearing, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) asked Stewart to elaborate on an earlier comment he made that Iran “is unlikely in the short term to increase its military capability” with the estimated $50 billion to $150 billion it received in sanctions relief.

“It is unlikely immediately because I think the focus will be on internal economic gains,” Stewart said. “However, after 35 years of sanctions, Iran has developed … the most capable missile force in the region. It has extended its lethality, its accuracy. It has all the ranges covered. It can reach all of its regional targets.”

Stewart added that in the long term he “fully expects” Iran “ will invest some of the money into improving the rest of their military capabilities.”

Blumenthal asked how many years Stewart means by “long-term” and what the U.S. response should be to Iran’s growing asymmetrical and conventional military capabilities.

“The long term might not be as long as five years,” Stewart said in response. “We’ve already seen an agreement between Iran and Russia for the S-300 air defense system. We’re seeing Russia demonstrate tremendous capabilities as they’ve done their out-of-area deployment into Syria.”

The general described how “there’s lots of weapons technology being displayed, and I suspect within the next two to five years, we can expect Iran to invest in some of those weapons technology that’s being displayed on the Syrian battlefield by the Russians today.”

Iran has spent billions of dollars and deployed its own troops, Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon, and recruited Shiite fighters from around the Middle East to support embattled Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and ensure he remains in power.
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I would not consider two to five years "the long term."   It would take that long for Russia to build the weapons and deliver them if they started today.  The estimate also does not account for the funding that Iran is doing for its proxies such as Hezballah and Hamas which have both stated their intent of attacking Israel.

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