The head of Iran’s Quds Force has flown to Moscow again, despite U.N. Resolutions imposing a travel ban on him. Reuters report:
Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani has flouted an international travel ban and flown to Moscow for talks with Russia’s military and political leadership on Syria and deliveries of Russian missiles, sources said on Friday.
The main purpose of his visit was to discuss new delivery routes for shipments of Russian S-300 surface-to-air missile systems, sources said. Several sources also said Soleimani wanted to talk about how Russia and Iran could help the Syrian government take back full control of the city of Aleppo.
“General Soleimani traveled to Moscow last night to discuss issues including the delivery of S-300s and further military cooperation,” a senior Iranian security official told Reuters.
Soleimani met Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu on Friday, one source said. A Kremlin spokesman said a meeting with Soleimani was not on Putin’s schedule.
So Russia is hosting Soleimani despite a travel ban, where they’re discussing arms sales. Among those is a reported sale of advanced Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter jets—which the U.S. Administration is relying on Russia’s respect for a U.N. Resolution to prevent. Adam Kredo over at the WFB reports:
State Department Spokesman Mark Toner told the Free Beacon in a statement on Wednesday that the United States is opposed to Russia selling Iran a cadre of advanced Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter jets.
These sales do not directly violate the nuclear agreement signed last summer by Iran and global powers, according to officials, who explained that the sales are instead in violation of a U.N. resolution overseeing the deal.[..]
“In terms of the specific reports about the proposed sale of the Sukhoi Su-30SM multi-role fighter jets, for example, we would almost certainly veto such a sale, as provision of such equipment to Iran would further exacerbate existing tensions in the region,” Toner told the Free Beacon in a statement.
U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, which oversees the nuclear deal, “prohibits the sale to Iran of specified categories of conventional arms as defined for the purposes of the U.N. Register of Conventional Arms, without approval in advance on a case-by-case basis by the U.N. Security Council,” Toner explained.
This “includes the Su-30SM fighter,” he said.
Without the buy-in of the parties involved, U.N. Resolutions are barely worth the paper they’re written on. They won’t stop Russia from sending jets to Tehran, or Tehran from sending cash to Moscow, if both parties want the transaction to happen. And so far, America has been content to merely complain, and to continue treating the Kremlin with kid gloves.
Related: the Secretary of State called Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday to ask him to pressure Assad to go. Maybe it’s time to have a Middle East policy that depends on more than Russian goodwill?