First it was Iran, now it’s Venezuela whom Russia will help to build a nuclear power plant. For peaceful purposes, of course. The nuclear plant is Venezuela’s first, and on Friday, an agreement was signed by Russian nuclear agency chief Sergei Kiriyenko and Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro which detailed, “the construction and use of an atomic power station on the territory of Venezuela,” according to Reuters.
Since the newest sanctions on Iran are preventing Russia from selling the S-300 air defense systems to Iran as originally planned in 2007, it may be getting sold to Venezuela, a Russian arms trade expert told www.tehrantimes.com on Saturday.
A Moscow based international arms trade think tank leader named Igor Korotchenko stated that, “Russia is looking for a buyer of five battalions of S-300PMU-1 air defense systems ordered by Iran, which are worth $800 million, and Venezuela could become such a buyer.”
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has expressed an interest in “buying different types of Russian-made air defense systems to create a multilayered air defense network.”One has to wonder if perhaps there’s some kind of a black market arrangement between Chavez and Iran’s President Ahmadinejad. Especially since the two have their hate of the US in common.
Chavez’s words on the matter of Venezuela’s nuclear facility, as reported by a www.ft.com article on Friday, are a near duplicate to Ahmadinejad’s words when Russia was helping them build their nuclear power plant: “Venezuela is on its way to getting nuclear power. I hardly need to say so, but I’ll say it anyway: for peaceful purposes, of course. They’ll say that we are going to build atomic bombs. No we are not . . . Nothing is going to stop us, we are free, sovereign and independent.”
Venezuela is also expected to purchase 35 tanks from Russia in the near future according to http://news.xinhuanet.com on Saturday. But these are not just a few isolated purchases of military equipment from Russia. Back in September of 2009, Reuters reported that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “We have expressed concerned about the number of Venezuelan arms purchases. They outpace all other countries in South America and certainly raise questions as to whether there is going to be an arms race in the region.” The article also noted that Russia loaned Venezuela “$2.2 billion to purchase 92 tanks and advanced anti-aircraft missiles (which) might spur other countries to add arms. Chavez, a fierce critic of U.S. foreign policy, also set alarm bells ringing in Washington when he announced this month that Venezuela would step up energy sector cooperation with Iran, another U.S. foe.”
In a more blatant suggestion that war could be on the horizon, a www.israelnationalnews.com article on Thursday noted that an Iranian weekly newspaper was “predicting” a war between Israel and Lebanon because Ahmadinejad is currently visiting Lebanon. Since Iran funds, trains and arms Hezbollah, and Ahmadinejad has been meeting with area residents so that he could praise them for attacking Israel, one can conclude that there could certainly be some discussion on the matter. It’s suspected that Hezbollah would wait on Iran’s approval before lashing out.
If a war should break out between Lebanon and Israel, it is certainly a possibility that Iran would support Lebanon. Especially since there have been indications that Ahmadinejad believes that Israel and perhaps the US worked together to unleash the Stuxnet worm at Iran’s Bushehr nuclear facility and in other locations in Iran. Ahmadinejad would like nothing more than what appears to be a legitimate excuse in the eyes of the world to attack Israel (representative of all Jews in his mind) and the US (representative of all Christians in his mind) to help bring about his belief in the emergence of the 12th Imam and the dominance of Islam and Sharia law.