Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Wednesday that Israel had asked Russia not to go through with a major deal to sell advanced fighter jets and other weapons to Iran.

But Lieberman told political reporters that the chances of halting the deal were low because the sale would be in Russia’s economic interest. According to Russian media reports, the $10-billion transaction includes fighter jets, advanced T-90 tanks, helicopters and artillery.

Viktor Ozerov, head of the Russian Federation Council’s Defense Committee, has said the negotiations are still underway and that if the deal is concluded, the weapons will be delivered in stages over several years. He said the first shipment could only take place in 2020, when the sanctions against selling arms to Iran are due to be lifted. […]