Cheat-Seeking Missles

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Rusky Arms Dealers Sanctioned On Iran

In late July, the US imposed sanctions on two major Russian arms dealers — state arms exporter Rosoboroneksport and the aviation firm Sukhoi. The charge: selling high-tech equipment to Iran.

Moscow News has an interview with Nikolai Zlobin, the director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Washington-based Center for Defense Information. It's an interesting (and brief!) interview, in which Zlobin says State wouldn't have moved unless there was something to the allegations:
Whenever the State Department or the Commerce Department or the Justice Department advises defense contractors, arms producers, not to deal with certain companies around the world, you can be sure that the advice is seriously thought out on the legal level. There can be no questions about the legal side of this.
Should Rosoboroneksport and/or Sukhoi decide to appeal, it might give this story more visibility, and provide us a peek behind the allegations of Russia/Iran military deals. Let's hope.

Despite the statements about sound US legal footing, Zlobin is also ready to cut Sukhoi some slack:
Q: Judging by press reports, the head of Sukhoi has repeatedly sworn that for at least the last seven or eight years, his firm has not sold a single screw to Iran. Can we believe such statements?

I think you can. Of course, one should look into the matter concretely. The Americans generally look into such situations carefully because a firm like Boeing can hire very competent, very professional, very expensive lawyers to prove that the U.S. government is wrong. Statistics show that American firms win cases against the government rather more often than the government wins such cases against firms.
I confess: I'd missed this story. But it's not surprising. Interesting as it is that the Bush Admin is doing something about disarming Iran, Nexis only found a half dozen stories, mostly in news round-ups and BBC, none in American mainstream media.

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