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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 46, May 2000

Russia Criticises US for Interference over Export Control Policy

On April 24, the US State Department announced its satisfaction at the outcome of an investigation by the Russian Government into alleged assistance for Iran's missile programme provided by Yuri Savelyev, the Rector of the Baltic State Technical University (BSTU). According to Department spokesperson James Rubin, the "investigation revealed a number of violations of procedures for enrolling foreign students and resulted in administrative action against the Rector and cancellation of specialized courses for Iranian students and training of Iranian specialists at BSTU. The Russian Government's decision to take action against the Rector…demonstrates Russia's commitment to stopping the flow of sensitive technologies to Iran and underscores the importance of continued US-Russian cooperation in combating the threat posed by Iran's aggressive pursuit of WMD and their delivery systems." Rubin continued:

"Consistent with the Russian Government's actions, and with our own assessment, the United States now also will move to impose a ban on US Government assistance to and procurement from the Rector of BSTU and proceed to impose a ban on imports from and US exports to this person."

The Russian Government, however, saw nothing consistent about the imposition of US sanctions. On April 26, an irate Foreign Ministry statement declared: "One is surprised at the obvious attempt to put into question the effectiveness of the measures taken by the Russian authorities with regard to the Rector… Proceeding from the provisions of the Federal Law on Export Control, the Federal Service on Currency and Export Control (VEK of Russia) banned the training of Iranian citizens…in rocket-related specialities because the knowledge they would acquire could be used to further the missile programmes of Iran. No actions of Yuri Savelyev revealed characteristics that entail criminal or administrative liability under the Russian laws. At the same time, these actions were assessed from the legal point of view as [a] gross violation by the Rector of the procedure established by the Education Ministry, in consequence of which Yuri Savelyev has been reprimanded and warned. The Russian side cannot accept the argument of Washington which invokes American legislation. We have repeatedly expressed our negative assessment of the attempts by the US to render extraterritorial character to its own laws in violation of the basic principles of international law. The retention of sanctions with regard to other Russian legal entities on account of their 'assistance' to Iranian missile and nuclear programs is at odds with the real state of affairs and contradicts the goals of expansion and deepening of the interaction between Russia and the US in addressing the problems of non-proliferation and export control."

The April 24 US statement also announced - to applause from Moscow - the lifting of sanctions against two Russian entities, the INOR Scientific Center and the Polyus Scientific Production Association "which have ceased the proliferant behaviour that led to the imposition of these penalties."

Reports: Text - State Department spokesperson on Russia-Iran missile issues, US State Department (Washington File), April 24; US amends sanctions on Russian entities over Iran, Reuters, April 24; Russia criticizes Washington over Iran sanctions, Reuters, April 26; Russian Foreign Ministry Statement, Document 354-26-4-2000, April 26.

© 2000 The Acronym Institute.

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