While the Obama administration considers pulling back on continuing to develop technology to provide a missile shield for Europe and beyond, the Iranians have made important developments in missile technology. This is not coming from Chas Freeman’s dreaded Israel lobby, but from a Russian military expert during a March 12, 2009 press conference which has not been widely reported in the European or American press:
Russia and the West would be making a big mistake if they ignored or underestimated the potential missile and nuclear threat coming from Iran, a Russian military expert said on Thursday.
“Iran is actively working on a missile development program. I won’t say the Iranians will be able to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles in the near future, but they will most likely be able to threaten the whole of Europe,” said [retired] Maj. Gen. Vladimir Dvorkin, head of the Moscow-based Center for Strategic Nuclear Forces….
“Iran has long abandoned outdated missile technologies and is capable of producing sophisticated missile systems,” Dvorkin said at a news conference in RIA Novosti
Dvorkin also warned that Iran is only 1-2 years away from obtaining nuclear weapons capability:
“One can speak of one or two years,” Vladimir Dvorkin, a retired general and veteran participant in US-Soviet disarmament talks in the 1970s and 1980s, told reporters when asked how close Iran was to having a nuclear weapon.
“In the technical sense, what may be holding them back is the lack of enough weapons-grade uranium,” said Dvorkin, who today heads a strategic arms research
centre at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow.
“I consider this a significant threat,” said Dvorkin, who stressed that he was voicing his personal views and not those of the Russian government.
UPDATE: The website DebkaFile is reporting that Dvorkin’s comments signal a tougher Russian line on Iran’s nuclear development:
A Russian strategic arms control expert, Vladimir Dvorkin, said Thursday, March 12, that Iran could produce an atomic weapon in “one or two years,” allowing Tehran to broaden its support for Hamas and Hizballah. Dvorkin, as head of the strategic arms research center at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow and a former general of Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces, is a highly respected authority in the West….
It was the second pointer to a tougher Russian stance on Iran’s nuclear weapon aspiratoins. On March 10, the Russian news agency Interfax quoted an unnamed Moscow source as stating that “Russia may shelve delivery of its advanced S-300 air defense missile system to Iran.” Tehran wants this system to protect its nuclear sites against air or missile attack.
The Moscow source added: “Such a possibility is not excluded. The question must be decided at a political level…” The final decision on the transaction has therefore been passed to president Dmitry Medvedev and prime minister Vladimir Putin, say our Moscow sources.
The Dvorkin statement and Interfax disclosure lay down a hard new Kremlin line on the impasse over Iran’s quest for a nuclear bomb just ahead of the Russian President’s first summit with US president Barack Obama in London on April 1.
They also suggest that Russia would show some flexibility in the interests of cooperation with Washington. Moscow has not lost sight of a possible quid pro quo with Obama over the deployment of a US missile shield close to its borders versus Russian involvement in the Iran nuclear issue – although both sides deny this was proposed.
UPDATE No. 2:
►The least we could do is give Dvorkin a big Obama “hellooo” for sounding the warning.