Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 147

Various Russian officials have continued to react over the last several days to the Clinton administration’s July 28 decision to impose sanctions on seven Russian enterprises believed to have improperly exported sensitive military technologies to Iran. A senior representative of the powerful Russian Security Council said that the U.S. action had come as no surprise–describing the sanctions as a normal way to ensure proper export controls in civilized countries. The official also said that a bill on export controls is soon to be discussed in Russia’s State Duma. That bill, called “On Export Controls,” was approved yesterday by the Russian government. The aim of the bill is to regularize and strengthen Russian government controls over the export of sensitive military (or dual-use) technologies, in part by improving coordination among the agencies involved. The law also aims to fill in existing gaps in export controls in Russia’s legal code. (Russian agencies, July 29-30)

As the Russian government moved to strengthen its performance in this area, however, several of those enterprises named in Washington’s recent imposition of sanctions have protested the U.S. action. Glavkosmos, for example, the Russian state organization that oversees space exploration, denied transferring any sensitive technologies to Iran. A Glavkosmos representative said that the agency is “accurately observing the regime of nonproliferation of missile technologies.” The same official did admit, however, that Glavkosmos has signed contracts with Iran. What is more, he did not rule out the possibility that individual Russian citizens might be dealing illegally with Iran on their own. (Itar-Tass, July 30)

Meanwhile, the Baltic State Technical University announced its intention to sue an American newspaper for a February article claiming that the university had a US$20 million deal to sell secret missile technology to Iran. The rector of the university called the story a complete falsehood. (Russian agencies, July 30) The Baltic State Technical University, located in St. Petersburg, was also on the U.S. sanctions list. On July 28, the university said that some twenty-five Iranian scientists who had been training there had been sent home some two years ago. He also said that their training prior to departure had not violated Russia’s obligations with regard to the nonproliferation of missile technologies. (Itar-Tass, July 29; see also the Monitor, July 28)