Yesterday in Washington Israeli Trade and Industry Minister Natan Sharansky charged that Russia is not doing enough to stop the leakage of missile technologies to Iran. Sharansky, who was in Moscow for talks late last month, said that he was not accusing Russian authorities of being behind the deals with Iran. But he did accuse them of failing to mobilize all possible resources to stop the spread of sensitive military technologies to Iran (AP, March 15).
Sharansky’s charges yesterday echoed those which the Clinton administration has leveled repeatedly–but with little apparent effect–against Russian authorities. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu likewise reportedly intends to raise the issue of Russian-Iranian defense cooperation during an official visit to Moscow scheduled for later this month. Netanyahu, who will confer with U.S. Vice President Al Gore on the issue prior to his arrival in Moscow, will reportedly present Russian officials with documentation substantiating the Israeli-U.S. charges (Itar-Tass, March 7). To date, Russian officials have claimed that the United States and Israel have provided no proof in their allegations that Russian military specialists and defense institutes are continuing to leak sensitive technologies to Iran.
In his remarks to reporters yesterday, Sharansky also described Israel’s concerns over the rising incidence of anti-Semitism in Russia. The former dissident, who was stripped of his Soviet citizenship in 1987 and deported, said that verbal attacks on Jews in Russia had spread from the Russian parliament to local government bodies. Sharansky said that Jews in Russia have told him that they now fear the prospect of pogroms, and that this fear could drive more of them to seek to emigrate from Russia (AP, March 15). Reports last week indicated that emigration from Russia to Israel have doubled during the first two months of this year, compared with the same period last year (see the Monitor, March 12).
YELTSIN AND PRIMAKOV AGAIN DENY THEY ARE IN CONFLICT.