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EDITORIAL

Weapon sales to Israel and Iran deserve condemnation

Is Russia friend, foe or merely a Communist-nation-turned entrepreneur?

The remnant of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics recently announced its sale to Iran of sophisticated anti-aircraft systems. Disturbing, yes, but nothing the United States hasn't done. Both Russia and the United States have a remarkable ability to focus on the short term when selling weapons to fleeting allies.

Russia may have exceeded even the United States' entrepreneurial spirit when, one day after announcing the sale of weapons to Iran, it announced its sale to Israel of already launched reconnaisance satellites designed for Iran flyovers.

"The Israeli satellite reached its target orbit and has been transferred to the client's control," a Russian official said.

The speed at which Russia transformed itself from Communist nation to international capitalist extrordinare is breathtaking.

While the United States is angry about the non-stop rhetoric from Iran, Israel is, quite appropriately, scared. Unlike the United States, Israel is within the range of Iranian ballistic missiles. Missiles that Iran already may be able to cap with home-grown nuclear warheads.

The two Russian sales, combined, are a caricature of profiteering. It is entirely feasible that, in the near future, Israel will attack Iran based upon information on nuclear-weapon production gained from Russian-made satellites. Should it do so, Iran will try to destroy the invaders with Russian-made anti-aircraft systems.

And even as the U.S. government comments on the immorality of such a result, it is selling weapons to both India and Pakistan, avowed enemies with nuclear weapons on hand.

Russia's sales should be condemned, but the United States is hardly in a position to condemn them.

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