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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Some Say Iran's Weapons Come From Russia

As Iran Rattles Its Shiny New Sabers, 'Some Say the Weaponry Comes Mostly From Russia'

In an article written by LEE KEATH, AP reporter, in Apr 4, 2006, it appears that Iran has unveiled with great fanfare a series of what it portrays as sophisticated, homegrown weapons flying boats and missiles invisible to radar, torpedoes too fast to elude......the armaments, tested.....send what may be Iran's real message: its increased ability to hit oil tankers if tension with America turns to outright confrontation......the Strait of Hormuz, the 34-mile-wide entrance to the Gulf through which about two-fifths of the world's oil supplies pass. For the rest of a well written and interesting article that discussed among other weapons the Hoot Torpedo, Fajr-3 missile, and Kowsar surface-to-sea missile to this link at ABC News: Iran Weapons
This is actually old news with a new threat potential. In October 2000, Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs and the Subcommittee on European Affairs of the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, 106th Congress, 2nd Session, held a hearing on that was obtained from FAS entitled: IRANIAN WEAPONS PROGRAMS: THE RUSSIAN CONNECTION:

For Immediate Release October 5, 2000, Sam Brownback U.S. Senator from Kansas


Washington.--Vice President Al Gore's connection to arms from Russia to Iran was a topic of concern today at a Senate Foreign Relations joint subcommittee hearing, U.S. Senator Sam Brownback said. Brownback's statement follows.
``We are facing a major crisis in the coming years, and responsibility can largely be laid at the feet of this Administration,'' Brownback said. ``In 1993, the Clinton Administration turned the nation's Russia policy over to Al Gore, who set up a Commission with Victor Chernomyrdin (then the Russian Vice Premier). This so-called ``GCC'' was supposedly the place where U.S. concerns over Russian proliferation were to be resolved.
``Let us take for example the matter of Russia's massive arming of Iran with advanced conventional weaponry, which began in earnest in 1992. In June, 1995, Al Gore negotiated a deal with the Russians supposedly to bring this trade to a halt. In exchange for Russia's pledge not to conclude any new contracts, the United States let Russia into the Waasenaar Arrangement, changed U.S. regulations to allow U.S.
defense contractors and satellite companies to do business with Russian firms, and pledged to avoid any sanctions that would upset this relationship. In other words, because of this deal that was struck by Vice President Gore, Russia is eligible for all sorts of defense cooperation. Indeed, according to recent State Department estimates, Russia has made $7.7 billion over the past few years just from launching U.S. satellites.
``Despite the 1995 agreement, Russia continued to sell advanced conventional weapons to Iran. Indeed, the Director of Central Intelligence's most recent proliferation report states: `Russia (along with its sister republics in the FSU) also remains an important source of conventional weapons and spare parts for Iran . . .'
``Then, of course, there are the ineffectual efforts by this administration to terminate Russia's nuclear cooperation with Iran. Despite all sorts of pledges by Russia not to go beyond limited construction at the Bushehr facility, recent press accounts indicate that Russia is now engaging in the sale of sophisticated laser
technology that will speed Iran's ability to enrich nuclear material for weapons. Russia is doing this despite its promises made under the Nonproliferation Treaty not to assist foreign nations in acquiring nuclear weapons.
``Russia is doing it despite all manner of pledges to Vice President Gore, and despite the fact that it is receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid from programs run by the Department of Energy and the Department of State.
``We all remember the administration's efforts from 1998 to 1999 to prevent the Senate from approving the Iran Nonproliferation Act. Various officials assured Senators, time and again, that Russia had `turned the corner', or that President Yeltsin had issued a critical directive, or that the Duma would soon consider changes to export laws to solve the proliferation problem.
``But--looking back over the past eight years--the truth of the matter is that this administration has not solved the proliferation problem. The problem has grown decidedly worse, and because of that the world is a far more dangerous place.
``The next administration will inherit a diplomatic situation chock-full of broken promises, and a commercial situation where Russian companies are profiting not only from multi-billion dollar trade with the U.S., but are doing a healthy business with the Iranians on the side.
``Although the Clinton-Gore Administration is in the midst of a charm offensive toward Iran--going so far as to grant a visa for the Iranian Foreign Minister to tour American college campuses last month--it is obvious to most of us that Iran remains a danger to the world, and to its own people. And for those of you looking for evidence: ten Jews are languishing in Iranian prisons on false charges, probably still praying that the world's greatest democracy cares enough to do something for them.
``On March 14 of this year, President Clinton signed the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000. Now I assume, perhaps incorrectly, that when a President signs a bill into law, he intends to carry out the terms of that law. Accordingly, Congress was due to receive a report on foreign entities or persons that provide assistance to Iran's missile and nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs on June 12 of this year. It never came.
``A second report was due on September 14. It too never came. One reason it didn't--the State Department did not even bother to ask the CIA for the relevant documents for the report until the third week of May, three weeks before the first report was due, and a full two-and-a-half months after the President signed the bill into law.
``Transfers to Iran from the very countries with whom this Act is concerned, Russia in particular, continue unabated. Just last month, Tehran again test-fired its Shahab-3 missile. That missile would be sitting in a box somewhere if it weren't for Russian aid to Iran.
``Perhaps the administration's lack of urgency relates to improvements on the Iran proliferation front. All the evidence I see suggests the contrary,''

So, as you can see, this has been an ongoing problem since the 1990s. It is old news with new threat potential. History really does have a way of repeating itself.

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