The U.S. Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee yesterday approved two resolutions, one that denounced Moscow for recent passage of a law that critics say abridges religious freedoms in Russia and another that threatens sanctions against Russia for aiding an Iranian missile building program. The second of the resolutions would target Russian government agencies and companies found to have helped Iran in developing ballistic missiles. It calls also for the U.S. to cut aid to Russia and to "reassess cooperative actions with Russia" if the federal authorities in Moscow fail to respond adequately. (AP, November 5)
On October 24 the House International Relations Committee approved the Iran Missile Proliferation Sanctions Act of 1997. It would require the president to submit within 30 days of its passage a list of people, corporations, or government entities believed to have transferred or attempted to transfer missile goods or technology to Iran since mid-1995. (AP, November 3)
On November 4, a top Israeli army officer repeated accusations that Russia is continuing to aid Iran in the development of a ballistic missile, in this case despite assurances to the contrary given by Russian foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov. (Xinhua, November 4) The Russian diplomat visited Israel late last month as part of a larger mission to the Middle East. He was told in Jerusalem that Israel would oppose a larger role for Moscow in the Middle Eastern peace process so long as Russia continues to aid Iran. Primakov repeated Moscow’s denials that the Russian government, or independent Russian companies or specialists, are involved in any Iranian missile-building program. (See Monitor, October 27)
Russian-British Military Agreement.