A press spokesman for Energomash, one of Russia’s largest producers of rocket engines, sharply denied yesterday that the company had ever conducted talks with Iraqi officials or signed any document for the sale of rocket engines, equipment or services to Iraq in violation of UN sanctions (Russian agencies, October 21).
The spokesman was responding to charges leveled in an article published on October 18 by “The Washington Post.” That article, in turn, was based on information from a new study carried out jointly by the Center for Policy Studies in Russia and the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California.
The study concluded that a delegation of top Iraqi missile experts had traveled to Russia in late 1994 and had signed a large number of documents to acquire missile engines, technology and services. The study named Energomash as one of the Russian companies involved, saying that the company had agreed to provide “complete technology transfers” to Iraq, including production equipment for two types of liquid-fueled missile engines. Energomash, according to the report, also agreed to train Iraqi missile experts and to enter a joint project to develop a rocket engine. Energomash officials reportedly assured the Iraqis that the deals could be carried out even without the approval of the Russian government.
The study said that most of the agreements in this and other Iraqi-Russian deals were never actually consummated. The allegations contained in the study suggest nonetheless that high-ranking Russian officials may have approved the efforts by Iraqi officials to procure missile technologies in Russia. The study also raises questions as to why a Russian criminal investigation into the alleged Iraqi-Russian cooperation had focused narrowly on only one transaction–an effort to deliver gyroscopes to Iraq–rather than on a host of other dealings. The investigation was ultimately closed without any charges being brought (Washington Post, October 18).
BEREZOVSKY POWER GRAB FAILS DESPITE TACTICAL SHIFT.