Moscow puts Iran subs sale on hold

RUSSIA yesterday rescinded a decision to sell submarines to Iran in the face of continued United States opposition to the deal.

'The sale of two submarines to Iran is not on our agenda because of difficulties in reaching a settlement between Russia and Iran on the delivery of special equipment and military materials,' said Vladimir Pakhomov, who heads the military-technology co-operation department in the Russian Foreign Trade Ministry.

On Thursday Moscow made it clear that it planned to go ahead with its plan to sell two diesel-powered submarines and two small nuclear reactors, despite repeated US protests.

The Russian government has relaxed controls of arms sales in the hope of expanding the weapons trade to provide much-needed foreign currency for economic reforms. But Western governments, and the US in particular, are concerned that a Russian arms selling spree would make certain regions more unstable.

Western governments are also being lobbied furiously by Western arms dealers who are facing tougher competition from the cheaper Russian products now flooding the international market.

The dispute over the proposed sale of the submarines burst into the open in New York this week after the acting US Secretary of State, Lawrence Eagleburger, said he was concerned it might create more instability in the Middle East. If the sale had gone ahead, Iran would have been the first Gulf country with submarines. US Navy officials took the view that this would have introduced a new threat to naval operations there.

In the face of the US concerns, Russia immediately backed down. Mr Pakhomov said that the sale of submarines would not go ahead for the time being because of a dispute over payments covering trade between the two countries.

One of the reasons why the US is so concerned about Russian arms sales is that, despite the end of Soviet power, much mystery still surrounds arms sales by Moscow.

For example, the Russian government says that it sold dollars 1.5bn of arms last year but this figure is misleading. It was calculated by taking into account a massive devaluation of the rouble, and does not include huge discounts given to some long-standing clients, such as Syria and Libya. The true figure is closer to dollars 4bn or dollars 5bn, according to government sources. In the deliveries were 553 tanks, 658 other armoured vehicles, 1,783 missiles of various types and other items.

During the 1980s the Soviet Union sold up to dollars 12bn of arms a year but nevertheless the lower figure today represents a substantial challenge to Western arms dealers, because the Russian government is selling in markets that Moscow once found ideologically unacceptable.

In the case of Iran, which was the former Soviet Union's best client last year and which is being developed aggressively by Russian arms traders, strong rivalry is developing between Russia and the US.

The Russian Foreign Minister, who is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, has brushed aside US concerns and defended the sale for strategic and economic resaons. An official at the Russian foreign ministry in Moscow said the US concerns about the sale of the submarines were 'being dictated not by political considerations, but by the desire of the United States to return to the Iranian arms market, which it had controlled under the Shah'.

The US government is likely to keep up pressure on Russia to maintain stricter controls over its arms sales because Russian arms manufacturers are now allowed to market their weapons and negotiate arms deals freely.

WASHINGTON - President George Bush is likely to sign into law a nine-month moratorium on US nuclear testing and a 1996 halt to the testing, congressional and administration sources said yesterday, Reuter reports.

But Mr Bush is likely to sign that law with a clear understanding that he will try to revise it later to allow US nuclear testing beyond 1996, the sources said.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Travel
travel
Life and Style
The veteran poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof issues a stark challenge to emerging economies at the Melbourne HIV/Aids conference
health
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich talk Penguins of Madagascar at Comic-Con
comic-con 2014Cumberbatch fans banned from asking about Sherlock at Comic-Con
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
filmGuardians Of The Galaxy should have taken itself a bit more seriously, writes Geoffrey Macnab
News
Sir Chris Hoy won six Olympic golds - in which four events?
news
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Graduate Recruitment Resourcers - Banking Technologies

£18000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Huxley Associates are looking...

Implementation Engineer

£150 - £200 per day: Orgtel: Implementation Engineer Hampshire / London (Gre...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Pharmacuetical

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Real Staffing, one of the UK'...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform