Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 100

Not surprisingly, the Senate vote elicited a critical response from Moscow. On May 25, a Russian Foreign Ministry official accused U.S. lawmakers–and the U.S. media–of falsely citing missile proliferation concerns to “prevent the free development of legitimate trade and economic ties” between Russia and Iran. The official also made mention of broad international opposition to attempts by the United States to apply American laws to foreign companies doing business in third countries. (Itar-Tass, May 25) A number of U.S. allies have joined Russia in objecting to sanctions threatened by Washington against companies doing business in Cuba as well as in Iran.

In order to forestall possible sanctions, Moscow has taken a number of steps in recent months said to be aimed at closing off the illegal transfer of missile technology to Iran. In January of this year, the Russian government announced that it would tighten controls on all exports of military and dual-purpose technologies (those having military and civilian applications). That was followed in early May by a Kremlin announcement that President Boris Yeltsin had ordered the government to draft a series of new measures with this same goal in mind. Then, on the eve of Yeltsin’s departure for the Group of Eight summit in Birmingham, the Kremlin announced implementation of several related measures, including the establishment of supervisory bodies in all enterprises dealing with missile technologies. During Yeltsin’s talks with President Clinton in Birmingham, U.S. officials said that Yeltsin had “reaffirmed in the clearest and most unambiguous terms” his commitment to ending the flow of missile technology to Iran.” (The New York Times, May 18. See Monitor, May 19)