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Nuclear News - 03/17/99
RANSAC Nuclear News, 17 March, 1999

A. Russian Nuclear Policy
1. Official Reports Yeltsin's Nuclear Deterrence Policy, Interfax(03/15/99)

B. START Treaty Update
1. Duma Makes Suggestions on Start-2, Itar-Tass (03/16/99)
2. Primakov Warns of New Arms Race Should START II Fail ParliamentHurdle, Agence France Presse (03/16/99)
3. Conditional START II Bill Drafted, Associated Press (03/17/99)

C. Russia-Iran
1. Russia to Offer U.S. Deal to End Iran Nuclear Aid, New YorkTimes (03/17/99)


A. Russian Nuclear Policy
Official Reports Yeltsin's Nuclear Deterrence Policy
Interfax
March 15, 1999

MOSCOW -- Russian First Deputy Security Chief Vyacheslav Mikhailovcommented on Monday [15 March] on the guidelines for the nucleardeterrence policy approved by President Boris Yeltsin in a documentsaying that Russia may use nuclear weapons if all other measures havefailed to ward off a dire threat to security. Russia sees its nuclearforces as a "guarantor of its national security and a means of deterringaggression against the Russian state and its allies," Mikhailov said.According to the guidelines, the main purpose of Russia's nucleardeterrence policy is to guarantee the territorial integrity andindependence of Russia and its allies and prevent external barriers toRussia's development. This policy, the document says, is not directedagainst any specific state or groups of states. Moscow, the guidelinessay, considers its nuclear arms primarily as a means of deterrence andmay use them only as an extreme measure to fend off a critical threat tothe security of Russia or any of its allies. "As long as there arenuclear weapons in the arsenals of other states, the guaranteed nucleardeterrence of an aggressor against Russia or its allies is one of themost important priorities of the Russian state," Mikhailov said. Thedocument also says that Russia stands for consistent internationalefforts to reduce global nuclear arsenals and ultimately destroy them."We believe that in the prevention of military threats priority shouldbe given to political, diplomatic, legal and other nonmilitary measures,including actions by the UN aimed at maintaining peace and cutting shortacts of aggression," Mikhailov said.


B. START Treaty Update
Duma Makes Suggestions on Start-2
Itar-Tass
March 16, 1999

MOSCOW -- On the decision of the State Duma Council, the draft law onthe ratification of the START-2 treaty has been submitted for theconsideration of President Boris Yeltsin. According to the Duma pressservice, suggestions to it were made by Roman Popkovich, head ofthe Duma Committee for Defense, and Vladimir Lukin, head of the DumaCommittee for International Affairs.

The version of the draft law, submitted to the president, says that theforce major circumstances, which give the right to Russia to withdrawfrom the treaty as a form of the exercise of its state sovereignty,include the infringement by the U.S. of the START-2 treaty, which maycreate a threat to Russia's national security; the U.S. withdrawal fromthe USSR-U.S. treaty on the limitation of anti-missile systems; thebuildup of strategic offensive armaments by the countries, which are notsignatories to the START-2 treaty, in such a way that it will create athreat to Russia's national security; the making and putting intoeffect by the U.S. and other countries, including NATO member states, ofdecisions on military development, which create a threat to Russia'snational security, including decisions on the deployment of nuclearweapons on the territory of the countries, which join NATO after thesigning of the START-2 treaty.

The draft law says that the START-2 treaty will be put into effect onthe basis of the preservation of Russia's strategic nuclear potential onthe level, needed for upholding its national security, with the priorityfinancing of the strategic nuclear forces and on condition that the U.S.will abide by the START-1 treaty.

Under the draft law, the president shall make a decision on the time andprocedure for phasing out and deactivating the strategic offensivearmaments, which fall under the START-2 treaty, as well as on theadoption of new types of strategic armaments.

The government shall provide for the priority financing of the strategicnuclear forces of Russia, of the work for the safe liquidation andutilization of strategic offensive armaments and of the whole range ofmeasures, aimed at putting into effect the START-1 and START-2 treaties.


Primakov Warns of New Arms Race Should START II Fail ParliamentHurdle
Agence France Presse
March 16, 1999

MOSCOW -- Russia and the United States will get sucked into a new armsrace if the Russian parliament fails to ratify a key nuclear disarmamenttreaty, Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov warned Tuesday.

Speaking in a pre-recorded debate broadcast on national television,Primakov said the United States would unilaterally pull out of acornerstone missile defense agreement should Russian lawmakers fail toratify the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START II).

"We have to protect ourselves against the possibility of the UnitedStates leaving the ABM agreement," Primakov said, referring to the 1972Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty which limits missile defensesystems.

"If we do not ratify (START II), then I am more than convinced that theUnited States will leave (the ABM) ... and we will launch a new armsrace."

The United States has aired controversial plans to build a ballisticmissile shield to protect itself against "rogue states," an umbrellawhich would apparently breach the 1972 ABM treaty that has served as acornerstone of other nuclear non-proliferation agreements.

Washington has also grown impatient with the Russian parliament'sfailure to ratify the 1993 START II agreement that provides for bothcountries' nuclear warhead stocks to be cut in half.

START II has failed to reach the State Duma lower house of parliamentfor a vote as the opposition majority feels the treaty puts Moscow at anuclear disadvantage compared to Washington.

But Primakov urged lawmakers to ratify the agreement in the comingmonths so that Moscow and Washington could get down to negotiations on anew, START III treaty, that would slash nuclear arsenals even further.

"An agreement with the United States allows us to keep nuclear parity,"Primakov said, "and this is very important. We will immediately beginnew talks (on START-III). The start of these talks is linked to ourratification (of START-II)."

Primakov was joined in the taped debate by First Deputy Prime MinisterYury Maslyukov and the chief of the general staff, General AnatolyKvashnin, as the government re-doubled its efforts to get the nuclearbill on the Duma floor in time for ratification this spring.

"We will have to ratify (START II) anyway because rockets pose a greatdanger with time," Maslyukov said. "They will be like a new Chernobyl."

Kvashnin meanwhile said Russia's nuclear arsenal would remain largeenough to serve as a deterrent against potential aggressors for manydecades to come.

"We need to be able to convince any potential aggressor that a waragainst Russia is impossible," Kvashnin said. "START II ... allows us toconvincingly prove the might of our return hit."

The Russian parliament had been ready to put START II ratification onits agenda last autumn, but fury over US-led air strikes against Iraqscuttled those plans.


Conditional START II Bill Drafted
Associated Press
March 17, 1999

Lawmakers presented a bill Tuesday to make approval of the START IInuclear arms reduction treaty dependent on the United States continuingto honor a ban on anti-missile defense systems.

The bill, which would have to be approved by the two houses ofparliament and signed by President Boris Yeltsin, would allow Russia toback out of the START II agreement if the United States withdraws fromthe 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty. The proposed bill was sent toYeltsin for initial review.

The U.S. Senate, meanwhile, was reviewing a bill Tuesday that wouldcommit the United States to a national missile defense system thatopponents say violates terms of the 1972 treaty, signed with the SovietUnion. President Bill Clinton has threatened to veto the bill.

The bill, expected to pass the Senate, perhaps by the end of Tuesday,"increases the odds that Russia will end the reduction of nuclearweapons," said Senator Carl Levin, a Democratic opponent.

A congressional delegation was in Moscow on Tuesday trying to persuadedeputies to accept the U.S. proposal, intended to allow development of asystem to protect all 50 states from ballistic missile attack. Thechange is based on a new assessment of the threat of attack on theUnited States from ballistic missiles potentially developed in countriessuch as Iran, Iraq and North Korea.

The ABM pact keeps both sides from building an anti-missile defensesystem. It's based on the notion that if both are unprotected, theywon't risk a nuclear attack for fear of devastating retaliation.

Under START II, which Moscow and Washington signed in 1993, the twosides must reduce nuclear stockpiles to 3,500 warheads each.

Communists who dominate parliament have long delayed ratification ofSTART II, saying Russia doesn't have the money to dismantle old missilesand build new ones allowed under the treaty. Russia would also be unableto fund a new missile defense system for itself.

Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznyov said Tuesday that if Yeltsin agrees tothe latest bill, lawmakers will begin debating START II before PrimeMinister Yevgeny Primakov heads to the United States on March 24.


C. Russia-Iran
Russia to Offer U.S. Deal to End Iran Nuclear Aid
Michael R. Gordon
New York Times
March 17, 1999

MOSCOW -- Russia has offered to curtail nuclear cooperation with Iran ifWashington ends sanctions against two leading Russian nuclear researchcenters, Russia's Atomic Energy Minister says.

The proposal comes as Prime Minister Yevgeny M. Primakov prepares forcritical talks in Washington next week on security issues and Russianappeals for billions of dollars in credits from the InternationalMonetary Fund.

The minister made the disclosure in an interview on Monday.

The aim of the Russian proposal is to remove a major irritant inrelations with the West and unlock valuable contracts to the nation'shardapped nuclear institutes.

Senior Clinton Administration officials said that Yevgeny Adamov, theAtomic Energy Minister, had presented the plan to American officialslast week and that the two sides are trying to hammer out an agreementby the Primakov meeting.

"It would help with the overall tone of our relationship," anAdministration official said. "Adamov is taking the initiative andappears to have Primakov's support. But we still have a paper tonegotiate."

Adamov's proposal addresses one of Washington's main fears: that Russiamay expand its nuclear cooperation with Teheran. Russia is alreadyplanning to build several nuclear power reactors at Bushehr in Iran.While American officials object to that project, they are even moreworried that Russia will also provide Iran with heavy water and graphitereactors, which are useful in producing plutonium for nuclear bombs.

Fears that Russia might be broadening its nuclear trade with Iran toinclude heavy water and graphite technology led the United States inJanuary to impose sanctions against the Scientific Research and DesignInstitute for Power Technology, also known as Nikiet, and the MendeleyevUniversity of Chemical Technology.

Russian nuclear cooperation with Iran is also a major Israeli concern.

The sanctions were an especially embarrassing for the Russians sinceAdamov used to be the head of the research institute.

"Nikiet is really at the center of our concern," said an Americanexpert. "It is the principal Russian entity that could provideassistance beyond Bushehr. If we can address Nikiet we have made a verysignificant step."

Adamov's plan, in theory, would do precisely that. Adamov said he wantedto sign a document in Washington affirming that the institute has cutoff all contact with Iran.

In return, the United States would lift sanctions against the institute.A similar agreement, Adamov said, could be worked out for MendeleyevUniversity.

A procedure would be established to discuss future disputes about theprovision of Russian nuclear technology to Iran, according to Adamov'sproposal. But Russia would not abandon its plan to build reactors atBushehr.

Adamov said he had already instructed the institute to sunder its tieswith Iran. American officials said, however, that there were signs thecontacts were continuing.

Strapped for cash and eager to maintain a modicum of cooperation withWashington, Iran is just one nuclear issue where the Russians are hopingfor a breakthrough.

A compromise also has already been worked out concerning 16 advanced IBMcomputers the Russians obtained in 1996 in violation of American exportcontrols.

The Russians obtained the computers using Moscow-based middlemen andinstalled them in the closed city of Arzamas-16, a design center forRussia's nuclear arsenal.

The Clinton Administration initially asked that the computers bereturned. Under the compromise, the computers have quietly been movedfrom a military site to a civilian site within the city: a buildingused by Sberbank, a Government bank.

The computers are to be used for civilian purposes like the developmentof commercial software, according to the new arrangement. The compromiseplan was overseen by Siegfried Hecker, the former director of the LosAlamos National Laboratory, who quietly visited Russia to help put it inplace.

American officials hope to work out a similar arrangement for an SP-2IBM computer, which American officials suspect has also been deliveredto Arzamas, for a high-performance computer system from SiliconGraphics, which is at the nuclear design center at Chelyabinsk.

There has been progress on other fronts as well. Officials hope toconclude arrangements that would ease the sale to internationalcompanies of billions of dollars worth of low-enriched uranium derivedfrom Russian nuclear warheads. An agreement was worked on in 1993 buthas been thwarted by commercial and legal problems.

Iran, however, has been the most contentious issue. There is no surprisewhy the Russians are anxious to see the sanctions lifted. If they arenot removed, the sanctions would deprive Nikiet of several milliondollars worth of work, a considerable setback for the cash-poorinstitute.

Washington also has an interest in resolving the issue. The institute,which designed the type of reactor involved in the accident atChernobyl, is helping to improve the safety of Russia's nuclear powercomplex, a task Washington has supported.

United States Energy Department officials have been so worried about thesafety implications of the sanctions that they secretly appealed to theWhite House, asking that some exceptions be made so that importantsafety work could go forward, American officials said.

Russia has also taken some steps to cut off contracts on the sale ofmissile technology to Iran, but much more needs to be done, Americanofficials said.

One issue is whether the institute has, in fact, stopped its contactswith Iran, as Adamov contends it has.

Explaining the contacts, Adamov said the institute had prepared acontract for the sale of a research reactor to Iran. MendeleyevUniversity, he insisted, has provided some basic unclassifiedinformation on heavy water technology, while recommending that Iranpurchase a light-water reactor.

Adamov said that the Russian Government had rejected his proposal tosell the research reactor to Iran and that the institute no longer hasdealings with the Iranians. That, he insisted, should lay the basis foran agreement in Washington.

"I do believe in American pragmatism," he said. "This is a chance tocheck if these people are pragmatic, though I am afraid of some angrypeople in the State Department. They are somewhat narrow-minded."



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