Congressmen ask Kerry to prevent Russia from selling arms to Iran

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Two congressmen wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry to “express our deep concern” that Russia still wants to help Iran expand its military air power.

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) wrote in a two-page letter dated Sept. 12 that the potential sale of five S-300 air defense systems to Iran “would have devastating implications for Middle East regional security.”

They urged Kerry to reaffirm America’s opposition to the arms transfer during his meetings last week with Russian officials in Geneva.

“We ask that you remain steadfast in your opposition,” the congressmen wrote in their letter, noting that if Iran received these systems “it would significantly expand the military effectiveness of Iranian air power, which will only embolden Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s illicit pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

They also pointed out that these missiles could end up in the hands of Hezbollah or the Syrian government.

Russia first agreed to sell the air defense system to Iran in 2007.