MOSCOW — The ink on the multinational framework agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program was barely dry before Russia announced last week that it would send Tehran sophisticated air-defense missiles, withheld in deference to the West when sanctions against Iran were stiffened in 2010.

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For the United States, Russia’s decision to send Iran S-300 missile systems was the latest signal yet that the growing acrimony between Moscow and Washington was not easing — even with a nuclear deal on the line.
For Israel, the deal represented a threat, as S-300 missiles could effectively neutralize a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear development facilities to prevent Tehran from developing a bomb.

But for Russia, the S-300 sale was a preemptive strike of a different kind to ensure that Russia would not lose its best opportunity to enter the Iranian market before the potential lifting of international sanctions.

“A few years back, I heard one of our diplomats say: ‘A pro-American Iran is more dangerous for us than a nuclear Iran,’ ” said Russian Middle East expert Georgy Mirsky, explaining that this philosophy, though unofficial, guides the thinking of many in the Kremlin — especially as the United States has made overtures to ease relations with Tehran.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/russia-iran-relationship-is-a-marriage-of-opportunity/2015/04/18/5de80852-e390-11e4-ae0f-f8c46aa8c3a4_story.html?wprss=rss_world

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