Monday, January 18, 2021

Iran Could Join US, Russia, Turkey To Deploy Air Defense Systems Outside Its Borders

Israel has repeatedly targeted Iranian interests in the Middle East which includes their proxies – Hamas and Hezbollah. Iran is now keen to protect its proxies and bolster the defences of their allies – Iraq and Syria and build up their air defence capabilities to deter Israel.

An agreement signed in July to boost Syrian air defences capabilities enables Iran to station two of its air defence missile systems on Syrian soil, according to a report by Tehran Times. According to Paul Iddon writing for the Forbes, Iran could deploy Bavar-373 and 3rd Khordad missiles, which are comparable to the Russian S-300 systems.

Iddon quoting the Tehran Times writes “the two countries have decided to change the rules of engagement in Syrian airspace and to respond to the repeated Israeli raids on Syrian soil.”  Israel could preempt the deployment of Iranian air defence missiles in Syria.

Iran has much to achieve if it is able to overcome the odds and manages to station these air defence systems in Iraq and Syria. I would give Iran an imposing Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) air defence “bubbles” covering strategically vital regions of Iraq and Levant.

While the air defences that Iran deploys would ostensibly be Iraqi and Syrian, Tehran would most likely have its engineers operating the systems. Russian technicians are believed to be in full control of Syria’s S-300s, the most advanced in Syrian’ armoury. Iranian engineers would more likely than not have similar control over any systems it manages to deploy in either country.

Tensions between Israel and Iran are brewing after Tehran vowed revenge for a spate of explosions and at its nuclear and industrial facilities that have been blamed on Israel.

As reported by EurAsian Times earlier, a fire broke out at the Natanz nuclear facility. Iran claims it was a cyber attack planned by Israel or the US and pledged to retaliate against the perpetrators.

Simon Henderson, a veteran researcher, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, believes that the explosion at Natanz has put the facility out of commission, and Tehran probably doesn’t have an alternative to manufacture the advanced centrifuges.

This has set back Iran’s nuclear program for months if not years. Intelligence sources from other countries have also drawn similar conclusions and cite a setback of one or two years.

Iran has alleged that Israel was behind the attack but so far Israel has remained silent. When quizzed about Israel being behind the attacks in Iran, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that Israel was not necessarily behind every incident in the region.

PM Netanyahu had considered attacking the facility for years using airpower but had not done so out of fear of damaging ties with the US and opening up a battlefront with Tehran. The planned attack was shelved after Iran signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015 much to the delight of the Obama Administration.

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