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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 40, September - October 1999

Russia Reacts Angrily to US Congressional Measure on Iran

On September 14, the US House of Representatives unanimously adopted legislation by 419-0 votes mandating the President to supply to Congress every six months a list of states, entities or individual assisting alleged Iranian programmes to acquire weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery. Under the terms of the measure, all those named would then be subject to economic and/or military sanctions. President Clinton has previously vetoed similar legislation. On September 16, a statement from Russia's Foreign Ministry described the legislation as designed to "escalate anti-Russian sanctions under a pretext of Russian rocket technology leaks to Iran". The statement described the measure as "a serious blow to our cooperation with the United States in the key questions of securing international security and stability".

Editor's note: on September 9, the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade announced that it had blocked a controversial proposal by Hydro-Quebec to sell experimental nuclear fusion technology to Iran. According to spokesperson Sean Rowan: "We told Hydro-Quebec we have put the programme on the export control list and would not allow the sale of this technology to Iran. The rationale for the decision was that the experimental nuclear fusion facility could indirectly benefit a nuclear weapons programme". Rowan strongly denied that the move was made at the behest of Washington: "Canada has its own foreign policy and this proposal was looked at under the Canadian system for export controls, which are among the most stringent in the world".

Reports: Canada will not sell nuclear fusion program to Iran, Reuters, September 9; Russia criticizes US bill, Associated Press, September 16; Russia slams US Iran legislation as anti-Russian, Reuters, September 16.

© 1999 The Acronym Institute.

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