Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 11

On January 15 Russian lawmakers continued to criticize the Clinton administration for its decision to impose sanctions on three Russian institutions alleged to be leaking missile and nuclear technology to Iran. Russia’s lower house of parliament–the State Duma–unanimously approved a statement expressing the lawmakers’ “indignation in connection with Washington’s groundless introduction of sanctions” against those institutions. According to the statement, Russia observes international norms on the proliferation of weapons technologies and will not yield to the “dictates” of Washington. Furthermore–the statement read–Moscow should not let the United States undermine the friendly relations between Russia and Iran, or those between Russia and other Arab states at odds with Washington (Itar-Tass, January 15).

At the same time that it imposed sanctions on the three Russian institutions, the Clinton administration warned that Washington would curtail Russia’s lucrative launches of U.S. satellites if Moscow failed to stop leaking sensitive technologies to Iran.

Yegor Stroyev, communist chairman of Russia’s upper house of parliament (the Federation Council), seconded the Duma’s nonbinding statement on January 15. Stroyev charged that Washington’s sanctions decision was part of a broader U.S. policy aimed at isolating Russia from “the entire world–politically, economically and intellectually.” The U.S. leadership, he continued, seeks to “split and isolate Russia as soon as possible,” while aiming also to dissolve the CIS and weaken Russia’s positions in the East (Russian agencies, January 15).

The Clinton administration, the chairman claimed, had failed to corroborate its charges against the three institutions accused of leaking technology to Iran. Nikolai Bordyuzha, the Kremlin chief of staff, said that he had contacted several U.S. officials, including U.S. Ambassador James Collins, but had been unable to lay hand on any documentation related to the U.S. charges. He said that the United States was reluctant to submit concrete evidence “for fear of disclosing sources.” Bordyuzha called for establishing a “concrete and constructive dialogue” between the intelligence establishments of the two countries on the matter (Russian agencies, January 15). Clinton administration officials have said that they have provided evidence on numerous occasions to back up their charges of improper exchanges between Russia and Iran.