THE NEUTRAL ZONE
United States and Russian officials made headway on an agreement to freeze their respective nuclear arsenals to lay the groundwork for an eventual treaty next year, according to a Wall Street Journal report. This agreement would provide Russia with an extension to the “New START Treaty,” which centers on long-range arms. The two nations have also agreed to extend proposed limits on imports of Russian uranium by 20 years, which the Trump administration says will help the U.S. nuclear industry.
While U.S. officials announced progress has been made, Russian officials responded to the new terms with some skepticism. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that the U.S. proposals are “absolutely unilateral and don’t take into account our interests, or the experience of many decades when arms control has existed to mutual satisfaction.”
Russian officials have also stated that they will sell air defense weaponry to Iran as soon as the UN embargo ends on Oct. 18. Russian ambassador to Iran Levan Jagarian told Iranian state news outlet Resalat that Russia would have “no problem” selling S-400 missile systems to Iran, adding that they are “not afraid of U.S. threats” and “will live up to our commitments.” In an interview published by the state-owned outlet Tehran Times, Russian representative Mikhail Ulyanov stated, “The policy of American administration on Iran is absolutely flawed, not wise, and absolutely counterproductive, creating serious problems not only for Iran but also for the whole region and international community.”
U.S., Russia Move Toward Outline of Nuclear Deal, Administration Says – Wall Street Journal – 10/6/2020
A week ago, the two sides said they were far apart on core issues in the negotiations and that the prospects for a framework accord this year appeared dim. But the developments described by the administration official on Monday suggested that the U.S. and Russia might be able to come to terms on some of the broad principles of a future treaty while deferring some thorny issues to future negotiations over the concrete provisions of that agreement.
US sees “important progress” in Helsinki nuclear arms talks – Associated Press – 10/6/2020
In Moscow, the tone was much more skeptical. Speaking at a meeting with European business leaders on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused Washington of “unilateralism” and said the New START treaty would likely cease to exist. Lavorov said the conditions for the treaty’s extension that the U.S. has put forward are “absolutely unilateral and don’t take into account our interests, or the experience of many decades when arms control has existed to mutual satisfaction.”
Russia ambassador has ‘no problem’ selling air defense system to Iran as UN embargo set to expire: report – Fox News – 10/6/2020
“The Security Council in that resolution said that the supply of arms to Iran and from Iran would be subject to consideration by the Security Council and that on October 18, 2020, this regime of sales to Iran would stop,” Lavrov stated in an Alarabiya interview late last month. “There is no embargo, and there would be no limitations whatsoever after the expiration of this timeframe established by the Security Council.”
Russia pledges to continue weapons sales to Iran – The Jerusalem Post – 10/6/2020
“We have provided Iran with S-300. Russia does not have any problem delivering S-400 to Iran and it did not have any problem before either,” the ambassador said, referring to the Russian-built anti-aircraft missile systems.Zvi Magen, a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv and a former Israeli ambassador to Russia, told The Media Line that Russia’s declaration “isn’t anything new, and is not out of character.