I'm not as concerned with Russia's upgrading their weapons systems, nuclear and other, as you might think. For a number of reasons, Russia has made quite a lot of money in oil lately, and is finally able to afford military spending on this scale.
Like it or not, countries need to defend themselves from time to time. From pirates, among other things.
Iran's leadership, on the other hand, still hopes for an early demise for the 'American empire,' showing that they're on the same page as as Venesuela's leader and some of the more colorful of America's academics.
Which is one reason why I'm genuinely concerned that Iran is still going ahead with it's 'peaceful' nuclear program that Iran's leaders insist is strictly for civilian uses. Maybe one of the more oil-rich countries in the world is in desperate need of energy. On the other hand, given the Iranian president's stated preferences regarding Israel, America, and other non-Iranian entities, it's easy to see Iran's nuclear ambitions as having a more militant nature.
Then, there's the curious relationship between Russia and Iran. Granted, Iran is right next door to Russia, which might explain some of the on again-off again friendliness. But I keep thinking of odd alliances in the twentieth century.
In the news:
- "Iran calls new UN resolution not constructive"
International Herald Tribune (September 27, 2008 )
- "...Saeed Jalili said in remarks carried by state television that the new resolution would cause "mistrust" and would not help global peace and security.
- "On Friday, the U.S. and Russia led a new effort to condemn Iran's controversial program that includes no new sanctions. The brief resolution seeks to reaffirm three previous ones, which imposed sanctions on Iran for refusing to halt its uranium enrichment program....
- "Russia aims to upgrade nuclear arsenal"
CNN (September 26, 2008)
- "...Russia's economic troubles after the 1991 Soviet collapse hit the armed forces hard. But in recent years, flush with oil money, the Kremlin has been pumping more money into new weapons systems."
- "No new sanctions in next U.N. Iran vote"
Reuters (September 26, 2008)
- "Ahmadinejad: 'American empire' nearing its end"
CNN (September 24, 2008)
- "Iran describes nuke talks as 'constructive' "
CNN (July 19, 2008)
- "... Under the proposal, Iran would be allowed to continue to use the more than 3,000 centrifuges it already has but could not make more. In exchange, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany would not impose further sanctions against Iran during that period.
- "Iran says it is pursuing nuclear power only for energy purposes...."