Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 153

Allegations of Russia’s continuing role in efforts by Iran to develop ballistic missiles appeared to dominate talks launched this weekend between Russian Security Council Secretary Andrei Kokoshin and top Israeli leaders. Kokoshin reportedly met twice over the weekend with Israeli Industry and Trade Minister Natan Sharansky, who also oversees relations between Russia and Israel. Sharansky was said to have been primarily interested in discussing Israeli concerns over the leakage of Russian missile technology to Iran. The same message was apparently conveyed to Kokoshin during talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on August 9. The Israeli leader said that Russian authorities had to work “ten times harder” in order to prevent Russian companies from providing arms technology to Iran. Kokoshin reportedly denied that the Russian government had been lax in this area. (Itar-Tass, Xinhua, August 9)

Alleged Russian missile cooperation with Iran has been one of the primary obstacles to improved relations between Israel and Russia, and the issue has been raised repeatedly by Israel officials in meetings with Russian leaders. The reports over the weekend suggested that the Israeli government has not been impressed by a series of steps taken by Russian authorities over the past few months aimed at improving government control over the export of sensitive military technologies. The Clinton administration has cited these measures–including an investigation into nine Russian firms suspected of improper dealings with Iran–as proof that Moscow is finally taking vigorous action to stop the leakage of missile technology to that country.