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Nuclear News - 03/19/99
RANSAC Nuclear News, 19 March, 1999

A. START Treaty Update
1. ...And One Pushed Through Duma, RFE/RL Newsline (03/18/99)
2. Duma Faction Urges MPS to Back Start-2 Ratification, Itar-Tass(03/18/99)

B. Russia-Iran
1. Iran: No Curbs Expected In Russia Nuclear Ties, Reuters (03/18/99)
2. U.S. Wants Russia Action On Iran, Reuters (03/19/99)
3. US Ready to Look at Russia's Non-Proliferation Proposal, Itar-Tass(03/19/99)

C. NMD and Russia
1. U.S. Senate Action Labeled Unpleasant Surprise..., RFE/RL Newsline(0319/99)
2. ...As U.S. Congressmen Fail To Persuade Duma, RFE/RL Newsline(0319/99)


A. START Treaty Update
...And One Pushed Through Duma
RFE/RL Newsline
March 18, 1999

The same day, the State Duma passed the law on financing the Strategic Nuclear Forces through 2010 in its first reading by a vote of 376 to zero and one abstention. Duma Defense Committee Chairman Roman Popkovich said earlier that passage of this law is critical to the successful ratification of the START-II treaty.According to ITAR-TASS, the legislation clarifies certainaspects of the drafting and implementation of the law on thefederal budget where the latter concerns financing of thecountry's strategic nuclear forces. It also addressesratification issues of international treaties pertaining tothose forces.


Duma Faction Urges MPS to Back Start-2 Ratification
Itar-Tass
March 18, 1999

MOSCOW -- The Our Home is Russia (NDR) faction on Thursday urged theRussian State Duma lower house of parliament to pass the bill on theratification of the START-2 agreement.

The faction regards the ratification as a major step on the way ofensuring the country's nuclear security, said the statement, arriving toItar-Tass from the Executive committee of the NDR Political Council.

The statement says that the ratification of START-2 is important for afurther drastic reduction in strategic nuclear arms, as well as forbringing closer the amount of those arms in the nuclear states, whichwill serve as a basis for creating the international system ofcollective nuclear security.

For Russia, the ratification means the maintenance of the nuclear armsbalance with its main opponent in international relations, the U.S., anda possibility to pursue money-consuming course of qualitativedevelopment of Russia's strategic arms. That could discourage the U.S.from further works on developing the ABM national system, the documentsaid.

A session of the presidium of the NDR political council, held onThursday under the chairmanship of the movement's leader ViktorChernomyrdin, supported the faction's statement.


B. Russia-Iran
Iran: No Curbs Expected In Russia Nuclear Ties
Reuters
March 18, 1999

TEHRAN Iran said on Wednesday it expected no reduction in its nuclearcooperation with Russia, which has drawn strong criticism from theUnited States.

"We see no evidence or signs that the Russians want to reduce nuclearcooperation with Iran," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid RezaAsefi told a news conference. "Our cooperation is peaceful and movingtoward a peaceful direction."

Asefi was reacting to a New York Times report that Russia had offeredto cut back its nuclear aid to Iran if Washington ends its sanctionsagainst two Russian nuclear research centers.

In Moscow, Russian Atomic Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov saidRussia would continue nuclear cooperation with Iran in spite of the U.S.misgivings, but he announced a small concession to the United States.

Moscow is trying to persuade Washington to lift sanctions on a numberof its scientific institutes which U.S. officials say are helping Iranbuild weapons of mass destruction.

Adamov dismissed the suggestion in the New York Times that Russiahad offered to curtail its nuclear cooperation with Iran.

He confirmed the paper's report that Moscow had severed ties betweenIran and the Scientific Research and Design Institute for PowerTechnology (NIKIET) to try to allay U.S. concerns.

NIKIET had had no contact with Iran since September, he said.

NIKIET was among three Russian entities hit by U.S. sanctions inJanuary for allegedly helping Iran's nuclear weapons and missileprograms. Tehran denies seeking weapons of mass destruction and saysits missile program has deterrent aims.

Seven other Russian scientific bodies were penalized in July, days afterIran test-fired a missile with a range of 1,300 km (800 miles) capableof striking Israel.

Russia has a $800 million contract to build a nuclear power plant inIran's Gulf port of Bushehr.


U.S. Wants Russia Action On Iran
Reuters
March 19, 1999

WASHINGTON-- Russia has told the United States it will take steps to curb nuclear cooperation with Iran but Washington wants to see action before lifting sanctions, the State Department said Thursday.

Deputy spokesman James Foley said that in addition to published remarks by Atomic Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov, "we've heard that in the last weeks" in private contacts with the Russians.

"We welcome statements by Minister Adamov that Russia is willing to curtail illicit cooperation with Iran's nuclear program. So this is apotentially positive statement on his part," Foley told reporters.

But he added: "We would like to see action taken to remedy the problem before the (U.S.) penalties (on Russian research centers) can bereconsidered."

The issue is expected to be discussed when Vice President Al Gore and Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov meet in Washington nextweek, Foley said.

The deputy spokesman did not give details on exactly how Russia might curb cooperation with Iran.

Adamov, at a news conference Wednesday in Moscow, said Russia would continue nuclear cooperation with Iran in spite of U.S. misgivings.

But he confirmed a New York Times report that Moscow had severed contact between Iran and the Scientific Research and Design Institutefor Power Technology (NIKIET) to try to allay U.S. concerns.

In January Washington imposed sanctions on NIKIET and the Mendeleyev University of Chemical Technology for making "material contributions to Iran's nuclear weapons program."

The Clinton administration also sanctioned the Moscow Aviation Institutefor aiding a missile program.

Seven other scientific bodies were penalized last July, days after Irantest-fired a missile with a range of 800 miles (1,280 km) capable ofstriking Israel and Russia.

Adamov, who headed NIKIET for 12 years, told the news conferencethe institute had had no contact with Iran since September.

He told the New York Times he wanted to sign a document in Washington affirming that NIKIET's ties with Iran had been severed and alsostipulating the same for Mendeleyev University.

Russia is already planning to build several nuclear power reactors atBushehr in Iran and U.S. officials are even more concerned that Moscowwill also provide heavy water and graphite reactors, which can be usedin producing plutonium for nuclear bombs.

"Ongoing Russian cooperation with Iran remains a serious concern thatwe are discussing intensively with the government of Russia," Foleysaid.

"If the Russian aim is to halt that kind of cooperation with Iran, thatis a good statement. What we want to see, though, is the action taken toeliminate the problem so we can verify the cooperation has ceased. Andin that context, we will be looking to look at the penalties," he added.


US Ready to Look at Russia's Non-Proliferation Proposal
Itar-Tass
March 19, 1999

WASHINGTON -- The United Stated is ready to analyze proposal by RussianNuclear Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov concerning non-proliferation andRussia's cooperation with Iran, said Leon Fuerth, an assistant to the USvice-president for national security.

He told reporters on Thursday that the US could handle the proposal inworking contacts with the Russian government, with Prime MinisterYevgeny Primakov to visit the US on March 23-25.

Primakov and US Vice President Albert Gore will co-chair a regularmeeting of the intergovernmental cooperation commission. The US is tolook at the crux of Adamov's proposal and at a possible decision, Fuerthsaid in a comment on Adamov's interview published on Wednesday in TheNew York Times.

Adamov said that Russia is willing to give guarantees to stop contactsin the nuclear field with Iran, a cause of Washington's concern, if theUS administration reverses the economic sanctions against Russia'sResearch and Design Institute of Energy Engineering, or NIKIET, and theMendeleyev Chemical Technological Institute implicated in nuclearcooperation with Iran.

Fuerth said the US administration wants the Russian government tocooperate on the non-proliferation issue in the most serious way, and isready to answer cooperative moves.

He said non-proliferation concerns not only nuclear but also rockettechnologies, and brings in question quotas of commercial launches of UScommunications satellites on Russian booster rockets.

The US' stance is that the quotas of satellite launches into ageostationary orbit cannot be broadened until the US has grounds tobelieve that transfer of Russian rocket technologies to other countriesis under rigorous control.

He stressed that potential for the development of Russia-US businesscooperation in uses of space is extremely high.

Both sides realize this, but a very serious discussion is needed on howthis potential can be employed, Fuerth said.

He added that Moscow and Washington had been discussing the issue formore than "one day" and the US administration is interested in achievingprogress in solving it at the meeting of the inter-governmentalcommission due here on March 23-25.


C. NMD and Russia
U.S. Senate Action Labeled Unpleasant Surprise...
RFE/RL Newsline
March 19, 1999

Responding to the U.S. Senate's approval of a bill on the deployment of an anti-ballistic missile system, the Russian ForeignMinistry issued a statement on 18 March calling thelegislation a "serious threat to the whole process of nucleararms reduction as well as strategic stability, for the sakeof which decades of international agreements werenegotiated." The statement added that "although Washingtonstresses that a decision on the system will not be madebefore 2000, the very direction of the Senate's actionscripple" existing agreements in this area. In an interviewwith NBC television, Prime Minister Primakov called thepassage of the bill "an unpleasant surprise," while DefenseMinister Marshal Igor Sergeev told Interfax that "the [U.S.]Senate's decision must be analyzed, but I have not losthope."


...As U.S. Congressmen Fail To Persuade Duma.
RFE/RL Newsline
March 19, 1999

Reporting on a visit by U.S. Congressmen to convince the State Duma that the new defense system would not be intended for use againstRussia, military analyst Pavel Felgengauer noted in"Segodnya" on 17 March that the Congressmen's talks with theDuma were not successful. According to Felgengauer,Representative Curt Weldon, who led the delegation, askedRussia to cooperate in developing the new system, but Weldon,who "will decide how much money will be allotted to variouscountries for research and design projects," refused todisclose how much would be allotted to Russia's militaryindustrial complex "if Moscow agrees with the U.S.'amendments' to the ABM treaty." Felgengauer also reportedthat the U.S. once signed a $100 million contract for a S-300V anti-aircraft system but winded up taking only the radarand regulation system for $30 million, reneging on the restof the agreement.



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