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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 14, April 1997

Israel Urges Russian Rethink on Iran Missile Programme

On 4 March, Israel's Prime Minster, Benjamin Netanyahu, warned that Russia was helping, or considering helping, Iran acquire ballistic missiles. In a speech in Jerusalem, Netanyahu stated:

"We view any assistance given by Russia to Iran to develop ballistic missiles as something that is inherently endangering the very future of Israel, and we believe it also endangers the future and interests of Russia... This is something that we will let the Russian government know in no uncertain terms..."

On 13 March, following a two-day visit to Russia (11-12 March), Netanyahu told reporters:

"I was assured by President Yeltsin that the nuclear cooperation was on a very rudimentary level and that the ballistic missile development, he said, was not taking place and will not take place. ... Since this is an ongoing concern of ours, we agreed to have further conversations on this point to clarify our concerns and to ensure indeed that this threat does not materialise."

In Tel Aviv on 26 March, Netanyahu repeated his warning on Iran's designs; and directed it specifically at States outside the Middle East:

"Iran is developing ballistic missiles first to reach Israel, then Europe, then with a range of 10,000 kilometres, which includes the eastern seaboard of the US... It is the duty of every nation to stop this proliferation."

Reports: Israel to press Russia on missiles for Iran, Reuter News Reports, 4 March; Iran dismisses nuclear technology fears, Reuter News Reports, 13 March; Israel - Iran a threat to Europe, AP Washington News Wire, 26 March.

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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