SENSE OF THE CONGRESS REGARDING PROLIFERATION OF MISSILE TECHNOLOGY FROM RUSSIA TO IRAN (Senate - November 04, 1997)

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Mr. HELMS. Mr. President, as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I am pleased that the committee has reported favorably Senate Concurrent Resolution 48, expressing the sense of the Congress regarding proliferation of missile technology from Russia to Iran.

The committee held a hearing on alleged Russian ballistic missile proliferation activities with Iran on October 8, but the committee did not hold a specific hearing on Senate Concurrent Resolution 48. The resolution was placed on the agenda of the committee's business meeting for October 9, 1997. During the business meeting several members of the committee raised questions about the intent, scope, and implication of the resolution. Desirous of maintaining consensus, I postponed consideration of the resolution until the questions were answered.

Specifically, questions arose regarding paragraph (2) of section (1) of the resolution. After consultation, the sponsors and co-sponsors of Senate Concurrent Resolution 48 agreed with the committee that the resolution does not raise, suggest, or recommend reassessment of those programs which are in the national security interests of the United States. Accordingly, in the committee's view this interpretation removes from consideration, under this resolution, any ongoing programs and projects currently being conducted by the United States which seek to reduce the threat of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, their materials and know-how, as well as associated means of delivery. The resolution is also not intended to affect cooperative space programs between the United States and Russia. Nor is the resolution intended to affect humanitarian assistance or the programs of the National Endowment for Democracy, which promote democracy and market economic principles. Finally, the committee intends that the responsibility for making the determination regarding the adequacy of the Russian response under paragraph (2) lies with the President.

Mr. KYL. Mr. President, over the past few weeks, a series of increasingly troubling reports have been published in the press indicating Iran has nearly completed development of two long-range missiles that will allow it to strike targets as far away as central Europe. According to these press reports, Russian missile assistance has been the critical factor that has enabled Tehran's missile program to make such rapid progress.

In order to halt this dangerous trade, Representative Harman and I have introduced a bipartisan concurrent resolution expressing the sense of the Congress that proliferation of such technology and missile components by Russian governmental and nongovernmental entities must stop. Our resolution calls on the President to use all the tools at his disposal, including targeted sanctions, to end this proliferation threat, if these activities do not cease.

I join with Representative Harman, in clarifying that this resolution is not intended to affect the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program or similar U.S. government projects and programs which seek to reduce the threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, their materials, know-how, as well as associated means of delivery currently being conducted. But we need to be clear that those individuals who proliferate will be penalized with the tools the U.S. has available.

Mr. LUGAR. Mr. President, would the Senator yield?

Mr. KYL. Mr. President, I would be happy to yield to the Senator from Indiana.

Mr. LUGAR. I thank the Senator. I think we both agree that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, their materials, known-how, as well as associated means of delivery might very well be the number one national security threat facing the United States.

As the Senator knows, when his resolution was raised at the Committee on Foreign Relations business meeting on October 9, 1997, I was concerned about the meaning of paragraph (2) of section (1). Paragraph (2) of section (1) states that: `if the Russian response in inadequate' to Presidential demands that the Russian Government take concrete actions to stop governmental and nongovernmental entities from providing ballistic missile technology and technical advice to Iran, `the United States should impose sanctions on the responsible Russian entities in accordance with Executive Order 12938 on the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, and reassess cooperative activities with Russia.'

I was joined by several colleagues on the Foreign Relations Committee who were also unsure of the intent of the Senator's language as well as the definition of the term `cooperative activities'. As the Senator knows, many of our colleagues in Congress and in the executive branch believe that our ongoing cooperative efforts with Russia to dismantle, eliminate, destroy, and convert weapons of mass destruction, their materials, know-how, as well as associated means of delivery is vital of the national security interests of the United States. In particular, I am proud of the steps of our Department of Defense, Department of Energy and other executive agencies have made in reducing the threats to the United States from weapons and materials of mass destruction.

I thank the Senator for taking the time to contact me personally and for working with me to ensure that this resolution does not have the unintended consequence of calling in question these critical national security programs. I believe the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, the Department of Energy's Material Protection Control and Accounting Program, and others have played and will continue to play a critical role in serving the national security interests of the United States.

Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Arizona.

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Mr. KYL. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Indiana and I assure him that I support the Committee's report language which removes from consideration, under this resolution, any ongoing programs and projects which seek to reduce the threat of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, their materials, and know-how; as well as cooperative space programs between the United States and Russia and the programs of the National Endowment for Democracy which promote democracy and market economic principles in Russia.

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