OMITTED FROM THE CONGRESSIONAL RECORD OF WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 1997, DURING CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 2709 (House of Representatives - November 13, 1997)

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Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

(Mr. GILMAN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

(Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, the Iran Missile Proliferation Sanctions Act of 1997 is intended to close loopholes in our counterproliferation laws in order to address a matter of critical concern to our national security, the risk that Iran may soon obtain from firms in Russia and elsewhere the capability of producing its own medium and long-range ballistic missiles.

This legislation enjoys extremely strong support on both sides of the aisle. At last count, over 263 Members had asked to be listed as cosponsors, including both the Speaker, Mr. Gingrich, and the Democratic leader, Mr. Gephardt. A companion measure in the Senate has 84 cosponsors, led by the Senate majority leader, Mr. Lott, and by Mr. Lieberman of Connecticut.

The urgency for this legislation is apparent from press reports. For more than a year, our Government has been in constant dialog with the Russian leadership regarding Russian assistance to the Iranian ballistic missile program. The meetings have been going on, more talks are scheduled, more summits are held, yet the Iranian military continues to make rapid progress in developing long-range missiles with critically needed assistance from Russian firms. Unless something happens soon, according to press reports, Iran is likely to achieve the ability to produce its own ballistic missiles within less than 1 year.

It is now time for the Congress to say that enough is enough. We need to back up our rhetoric on nonproliferation with meaningful action. With this legislation, we will be giving Russian firms compelling reasons not to trade with Iran. The sanctions which this legislation threatens to impose will force those firms to choose between their short-term profits from dealing with Iran and potentially far more lucrative long-term economic relations with our own Nation.

To make certain that the President takes a careful look at this legislation, the amendment before us also adds to our Iranian sanctions measure the text of Senate 610, the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act of 1997, which passed the Senate unanimously earlier this year. Unlike the Chemical Weapons Convention itself, which was controversial in the Senate, the implementing legislation is strongly supported all across the political spectrum, from the administration to Senators such as John Kyl and Jesse Helms who have led the fight against the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Mr. Speaker, in the 1980's the world stood by as Saddam Hussein built up the Iraqi arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. This bill will help make certain that Iran does not follow the example of its neighbors in Iraq and become the next threat to international stability. Accordingly, I urge my colleagues to join in support of this measure.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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