John P. Barker, Deputy Assistant Secretary
of State for Nonproliferation Controls and
Joseph M. DeThomas, Deputy Assistant Secretary
of State for Regional Nonproliferation
Testimony Before the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee, Washington, DC, October 25, 2000
Mr. Chairman, we are here today under difficult and unhappy circumstances. Serious accusations have been leveled. Classified documents are appearing in the press as photo insets, and our negotiating strategy with Russia on sensitive national security matters is being compromised by discussing these matters in public. Anthony Cordesman, a respected and very independent authority on national security matters, and the Near East in particular, has recently summarized the issues we will address today:
Political campaigns are a poor time to debate complex military issues, particularly when the debate is based on press reports that are skewed to stress the importance of the story at the expense of objective perspective and the facts. Iran does represent a potential threat to U.S. interests, but it has not had a major conventional arms build-up or received destabilizing transfers of advanced conventional weapons. The violations of U.S. and Russian agreements have been minor, have had little military meaning, and been more technical than substantive.1
We are appearing today to say what the Administration has done over the past 7 years to address what we agree is a serious national security problem: Iran's quest to acquire advanced conventional and nuclear weapons as well as the means to deliver them. But, we also want to address directly the allegations we have heard about violations of laws and agreements purportedly kept secret from Congress. We will address what we can in this statement, but we are sure you understand that unauthorized disclosure of classified information does not mean it has been declassified. We still have an obligation to protect classified national security information. We are prepared to address detailed questions in closed session.
Preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, the means to deliver them, as well as advanced conventional weapons, has been a top foreign policy and national security objective throughout this and previous administrations. Most Western nuclear and arms exporters were by early 1995 in broad agreement on these matters, but Russia was clearly central to success. How to keep the collapse of the Soviet Union from opening up a huge opportunity for Iran to acquire these items by purchase or theft was one of the most complex and challenging problems the Administration confronted as it took office.
We needed to address three separate challenges. First, we had to ensure that political and economic collapse did not open the gates to the loss of control of Russia's expertise, equipment, and technology. Second, we had to ensure Russia had the legal and enforcement tools to control its capabilities. But most of all we needed to convince the Russian government that serious and firm constraints on what it exported, and to whom, were critical to Russia's own national and security interests.
The Soviet Union had been a primary exporter of conventional arms and nuclear technology, but the end of the Cold War deprived it of its foreign markets, and domestic military requirements were shrinking at the same time. In 1991 and 1992, Russia began to pursue the Iranian conventional arms and nuclear market in earnest. In 1991 Russia concluded a large, multi-year conventional arms contract. In 1992 it concluded a nuclear cooperation agreement with Iran. It is these two agreements -- which predate the Clinton Administration -- that the Administration had to contain and reverse. At the same time, Iran began to try to exploit the economic chaos and a lack of effective regulation to end-run the Russian Government even when it did want to block particular transactions.
To achieve these three critical objectives, the Administration has pursued a complex and long-term strategy. We put innovative assistance programs in place to control technology and prevent the "brain drain" of Russian scientists and their expertise to other states. We used diplomacy to build consensus on the importance of restraint in exports and effective controls to implement policy. We provided training and advice on sound export controls. Most important of all, we engaged all levels of the Russian government repeatedly and relentlessly to persuade them to walk back from arrangements with Tehran that were threatening not only to our security, but in the end to Russia's own interests. Where necessary, we used the threat of sanctions, and on occasion we imposed sanctions. This is not a strategy of immediate gratification.
It has been a long and difficult effort, but it has produced significant successes.
We have substantially constrained the types and quantities of conventional military equipment Iran is able to obtain. And we have slowed Iran's acquisition of WMD (weapons of mass destruction) and delivery systems. Let me give you a one sentence summary of what we achieved: Russia promised that it would not conclude new contracts for conventional weapons to Iran and it agreed not to provide to Iran most of the nuclear technology -- including all the most dangerous types of that technology -- that it was proposing to sell. One measure of our success in restraining Russian export behavior might be the many complaints from Russians directly, and in the Russian press, that Russia has lost billions of dollars of conventional arms sales to Iran, and hundreds of millions of dollars of sensitive nuclear technology sales, due specifically to our efforts. We know that these understandings were a good deal for the U.S., in part because of the Russian media commentators and politicians who argue that they are not in Russia's interests.
We will discuss in detail the efforts we made on the conventional and nuclear front, but first we want to address head on the accusations that have been circulating. The first accusation is that we kept these actions secret from you and the public. That is incorrect. Our actions both in the conventional field and the nuclear field in 1995 were discussed publicly at the May Moscow summit in extensive detail, as was the fact that the Vice President and Russian Prime Minister Chernomyrdin would resolve the details. That understanding between the Vice President and Russian Prime Minister Chernomyrdin on conventional arms was announced publicly in a fact sheet, also widely distributed, immediately after the June 1995 Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission meeting. The understandings the Vice President reached in 1995 on both nuclear and conventional matters were briefed to Congress. Of course, certain sensitive documents were classified, and were closely held in the Executive Branch. This is the common practice for all administrations on very sensitive diplomatic negotiations, but the thrust of those documents has been conveyed to both Congress and the American people.
The second accusation is that we reached a deal with Moscow to evade our own law. This is not true. We agreed to provide assurances that we would take "appropriate steps" to avoid penalties on transfers in the pipeline, but only after careful review to ensure that they did not in fact trigger mandatory sanctions under the Iran-Iraq Arms Nonproliferation Act or other potentially applicable laws. We will be prepared to discuss this in considerable detail, but it is important to state in this open session that the conclusion of non-sanctionability was reached only after careful review and detailed analysis by the State Department, the intelligence community, the Defense Department, and senior levels of the Joint Staff.
Some have cited a sentence in a recently leaked classified letter of the Secretary of State as being inconsistent with this statement. The fact is that Secretary Albright's letter was intended to deliver a stern warning that failure to abide by the restrictions embodied in the Aide Memoire regarding arms sales to Iran could have serious consequences, including the possibility of sanctions. Her letter did not go into the nuances of U.S. sanctions law. We can address this issue in detail in closed session.
The third accusation is that understandings we reached with the Russians should have been formally submitted to Congress under the Case Act because, it is alleged, they are legally binding. We did discuss with Russia whether to negotiate an agreement that would be binding under international law, and after consulting agreed instead to address these matters in an understanding, a political promise by Russia documented first in a public joint statement. This understanding was elaborated in more detail in the Aide Memoire. Under this understanding, Russia has not concluded new contracts for new weapons. It has not even delivered all the weapons it said it would. It has certainly foregone billions in sales.
While important elements of our diplomatic efforts have required confidentiality, key to our success has been the fact that we have engaged Russia's leadership at the most senior levels to make authoritative and public statements. Key commitments were made in joint statements or press conferences after Summits between Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin in 1994 and 1995. Additional Russian commitments were articulated in public at the conclusion of meetings between Vice President Gore and Prime Minister Chernomyrdin.
While the substance of these understandings has been public since 1995, some details were kept confidential. Confidentiality is crucial to many diplomatic negotiations. The diplomatic process on conventional arms transfers has fortunately not come to a halt because of recent leaks. But playing this out in the press can only have a chilling effect on our ability to continue the process, and could seriously undermine the U.S. national security interests that are at stake in these discussions.
The understanding that the U.S. reached with Russia in 1995 to limit the sale of conventional weapons to Iran was an important gain for U.S. security, as well as for our friends and allies. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 led to the rapid opening of new markets for conventional arms. Russia was quick to sign a contract with Iran for the sale of a broad range of conventional arms. This Administration inherited the situation of an expanding arms relationship between Russia and Iran. The question was how to constrain it.
The 1992 Iran-Iraq Arms Nonproliferation Act urged the President to "urgently seek the agreement of other nations" to constrain arms sales to Iran and Iraq. We did just that, securing important commitments from all countries that joined the Wassenaar Arrangement. They agreed not to supply arms and related technologies to "countries of concern," understood to include Iran, Iraq, Libya, and North Korea.
Our ability to hold these other major supplier states to these commitments has always depended on maintaining a united front. If one key supplier were to resume sales to Iran, it could be difficult to persuade others to continue foregoing these highly lucrative sales. It was with this in mind that we sought the commitment of Russia to curtail arms sales to Iran.
During their September 1994 Summit, Presidents Yeltsin and Clinton reached an understanding that Russia would not undertake new contracts or other agreements to transfer conventional arms to Iran, but that existing contracts could be fulfilled. President Yeltsin announced this understanding publicly. This matter was again on the agenda for the May 1995 Summit, and the subject of public discussion even before the Summit. In a pre-Summit press briefing, Secretary of State Christopher expressed hope that Russia would join the new multilateral regime to control exports of conventional weapons and related dual-use technologies, stating that "the only thing that stands between Russia joining- is working out the arrangements with respect to their sales to Iran, those negotiations are going forward." Secretary of Defense Perry, when asked about whether Russia's arms sales to Iran were a reason for alarm, spoke first of the submarines, noting that two had been delivered and one remained to be delivered, and then spoke to the more general issue:
We do not see cause for concern on the level and the nature of conventional arms being transferred. We would prefer they not be transferred, but we're -- quite satisfied with the agreement not to continue transfer. The Russians have a very, very substantial capability in conventional arms and conventional arms technology. And it would give us a very substantial problem if they were to make a free transfer of those to the Iranians. So I'd like to focus on the positive side of that, which is their agreement to cut that off after those present contracts.
The May 1995 Summit resolved the outstanding issues, and a Joint Statement dated May 10, 1995, reaffirmed that Russia would "undertake no new contracts or other agreements to transfer arms to Iran. This commitment is comprehensive and covers both arms and associated items." The Joint Statement also reaffirmed U.S. support for Russia's participation as a founding member in a new international export control regime for the control of arms and sensitive dual-use goods and technologies. It was also announced that same day that the Presidents had asked Vice President Gore and Prime Minister Chernmomyrdin "to record the details in an agreement no later than their meeting in June." The Aide Memoire recording those understandings was signed the following month.
The U.S. had little direct leverage; we were essentially asking Russia to forego billions of dollars in arms sales in exchange for membership in a multilateral group that would only further constrain their arms sales. But we worked with the leverage that we did have, and through the dogged determination of our senior officials, Russia agreed to close out its existing contracts within a few years and agreed not to sign new contracts for the sale of arms to Iran. Had not the U.S. secured this commitment, Russia would have been free to provide Iran with advanced conventional arms, and greater overall quantities of conventional arms. It would have been able to sell Iran items such as surface-to-air missiles, items we know that the Iranians sought to acquire. Instead we were able to get Russia to commit not to sign any new arms contracts with Iran, thus precluding the sale of weapons that could provide great threats to U.S. forces, to our allies including Israel, and to stability in the region.
Of course we would have preferred to have stopped the sale of all conventional arms to Iran. But this deal precluded the most advanced conventional weapons from reaching Iran -- the very weapons that would have provided the greatest risks to U.S. interests and those of our friends and allies (and the very weapons targeted by the Iran-Iraq Arms Nonproliferation Act).
Much has been made in the press recently about whether the arms covered under the contract signed in 1991 would adversely affect U.S. security. There have also been accusations that the 1995 understanding was not consistent with, or even violated, U.S. sanctions laws, and in particular, that a commitment was made to ignore U.S. sanctions law. A further accusation is that the understandings reached are legally binding obligations, and that all this was kept from Congress. Let me address each of these allegations in turn.
Was U.S. Security or Regional Stability Jeopardized?
As a key part of the process to resolve the issues addressed in the Joint Statement and the Aide Memoire, we insisted on an exchange of information on these pre-existing contracts. The impact of all of the arms transferred or to be transferred, including the Kilo submarine, was reviewed by senior military and defense officials, including senior levels of the Joint Staff. It was their judgment that transfers under those pre-existing contracts would not provide Iran with new military capabilities, alter the regional military balance, or compromise the ability of the U.S. and our allies to protect our mutual security interests. They judged that the declared pipeline contained no destabilizing types of advanced conventional weapons. This judgment extended to the third Kilo-class submarine that Russia delivered in 1996. Our military judged that while the submarine represented an added threat to U.S. forces in the Gulf, it was judged to be manageable. As Dr. Perry noted publicly at the time, it was far better to obtain the commitment from Russia to forego future sales of advanced conventional weapons or destabilizing quantities of other types of military equipment.
Both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House International Relations Committee were informed about the understanding in 1995. Then Deputy Assistant Secretary Robert Einhorn revisited this issue in open testimony June 5, 1997 before this Committee, noting that "Russia informed us that one Kilo-class submarine was expected to be delivered to Iran" and that tanks were also to be delivered under the pre-existing contracts. "Prior to concluding the 1995 agreement we made certain that the contracts in the pipeline did not involve any new weapons systems and would not alter the regional balance or compromise the ability of the U.S. and our allies to protect our mutual interests."
Frankly, these were hard calls -- but we made an informed decision with the best advice available, and with the involvement of our senior military. We judged that we could best protect our security interests by constraining future sales of Russian advanced conventional weapons, rather than not entering into the agreement and watching Russia proceed with sales of the most threatening weapons.
Were Sanctions Laws Ignored?
The 1995 understanding was fully consistent with U.S. law. The transfers covered under the Aide Memoire were not sanctionable.
The applicability of U.S. sanctions laws was explicitly addressed within the Executive Branch before we completed the 1995 understanding. After a review of the facts, and with specific input from and concurrence of the Defense Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, we concluded that sanctions under the Iran-Iraq act would not be triggered because the items did not meet the definition of "advanced conventional weapons" under the Act, as explained above, nor would the types and quantities of arms to be transferred be destabilizing to the region. These conclusions are supported by the terms of the Act and its legislative history.
In addition, before we concluded the Aide Memoire, State legal counsel reviewed other applicable statutes that govern transfers of lethal military equipment to Iran, and determined that these statutes did not apply to the arms transfers identified under the agreement because the contracts had been entered into before the effective date specified in the legislation.
Some have alleged that the U.S. has not applied the sanctions laws to Russian transfers of conventional arms to Iran. That is not true, and indeed the Committee has been previously informed of this in writing. We can review this for you in detail in a classified setting.
Furthermore, the Aide Memoire does not commit the U.S. not to enforce the sanctions laws, as has been erroneously suggested. The Aide Memoire notes that the United States is prepared to take appropriate steps to avoid any penalties to Russia that might otherwise arise under domestic law with respect to the completion of the transfers disclosed in the Annex for so long as the Russian Federation acts in accordance with these commitments.
The phrase "appropriate steps" in a non-legally binding document clearly would not compel the Executive Branch to ignore domestic law. It was drafted this way specifically to allow us to enforce the law, bearing in mind the Executive Branch in fact had legal means available to "avoid penalties" -- the waiver provisions in both of the potentially applicable statutes. As noted above, we have never had to take any steps pursuant to this pledge, for after reviewing the list of transfers that would be grand-fathered, we determined (before signing the Aide Memoire) that then existing sanctions laws would not be triggered by the transfers.
Secretary Albright's January letter to Foreign Minister Ivanov is entirely consistent with the purposes of the Aide Memoire and the Iran-Iraq Act. Secretary Albright delivered a stern warning that failure to abide by the restrictions embodied in the Aide Memoire regarding arms sales to Iran could have serious consequences, including the possibility of sanctions. In that letter, we were still seeking clarifications from the Russians regarding the numbers and types of transfers that they wished to continue beyond the December 31, 1999, deadline. At the time of the letter, those clarifications had not yet been received. Because it was essential that the U.S. obtain this information, we felt that it was appropriate to stress the maximum consequences they might face, depending on further disclosures about Russian export activity. A variety of discretionary sanctions were available to us under legal authorities other than the Iran-Iraq Arms Nonproliferation Act and the lethal military equipment laws, (e.g., cutting off licenses under the Arms Export Control Act).
We felt this approach would be most effective in persuading the Russians to provide the needed information. And, indeed, this approach succeeded in obtaining a reaffirmation of the Russian commitment to limit the scope of the conventional weapons transfers to those items covered by the Aide Memoire.
It has always been the case that the transfers subject to the Aide Memoire do not trigger U.S. sanctions laws. That was our conclusion in 1995, and it has never changed.
Any transfers that are outside of the scope of the Aide Memoire could of course trigger the sanctions laws, including the Iran-Iraq Arms Nonproliferation Act and the lethal military equipment laws. We continue to monitor this closely, and we will apply the law to Russia, as we have in the past, if Russia completes transactions that trigger sanctions.
Did We Make Legally-Binding Commitments?
As indicated in public statements from that period, we were prepared in 1994 to enter into a formal agreement providing legally binding commitments. After consulting with Russia on how to reflect our discussions, we instead chose to proceed with political statements and understandings. Insisting on a formal legal approach would not have furthered our purpose to stop Russia from signing new arms contracts with Iran, nor would it have prevented Russia from making sales that were significant threats to U.S. interests and U.S. security.
The 1995 Summit statements were clearly political undertakings made by each side. The 1995 Aide Memoire recorded details of those political undertakings.
Contrary to speculation in the press, a document is not legally binding solely because it deals with an important matter and there are commitments made by both sides. The two sides must intend for the document to be legally binding. That was not the case here -- as amply demonstrated in the text and the negotiating record.
Was Congress Informed of these Understandings?
At no time did we attempt to keep the substance or existence of these understandings hidden from Congress. They were the subject of White House press conferences both before and after the 1995 Summit, and the subject of a Joint Statement from the Summit.
We also briefed Congress on these understandings and accomplishments. The House International Relations Committee staff was briefed in July 1995. Certain interested House Members, including Chairman Gilman, were briefed in August 1995. As the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has noted, it was briefed in mid-1995. And the understandings were recounted in open public testimony before Senate committees several times, including twice in 1997.
Nuclear Technology and Cooperation
The Executive Branch's policy on blocking nuclear cooperation with Iran is essentially unchanged since 1985. We have opposed the transfer of nuclear technology to Iran even under international safeguards, because of our concerns about its nuclear weapon ambitions. Iran has lacked the technical wherewithal to succeed in producing nuclear weapons. Key to constraining Iran's nuclear ambition is to deny it foreign technology. Since 1992, the greatest challenge to that policy has been from Russia.
The collapse of the Soviet Union deprived Russia's massive nuclear industry of its entire foreign market and a significant fraction of its previous domestic market. Economic imperatives drove Russia to market its nuclear technology in places where it did not face Western competition. As a result of the successful informal international embargo on nuclear transfers to Iran that we had crafted, Iran was such a market.
Based on an agreement concluded in 1992, the Russians and Iranians announced in 1994 and early 1995 their intentions to finish a power reactor originally started by the Germans in Bushehr. We were and still are opposed to this reactor, not because we believe such a light-water power reactor under International Atomic Energy Agency Safeguards itself poses a serious proliferation threat, but because of our concern that the Bushehr project would be used by Iran as a cover for maintaining wide-ranging contacts with Russian nuclear entities and for engaging in more sensitive forms of cooperation with more direct applicability to a nuclear weapons program.
This agreement between Russia and Iran also contained provisions for additional power reactors, as well as other technology far more significant for Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions. We know that elements of the Russian government were considering the transfer of centrifuge enrichment technology that would permit production of highly enriched uranium, and a research reactor of sufficient power to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons. We knew there were plans to supply other key nuclear technologies. Altogether, this package of items would have greatly advanced Iran's ability to produce nuclear weapons usable material.
The Clinton Administration embarked on a high-level diplomatic campaign to halt this project. Following a series of exchanges between the President and President Yeltsin, the Russians agreed to scale back their cooperation with Iran very significantly in 1995. The results of that effort were reported in The Nonproliferation Primer -- A Majority Report of the Subcommittee on International Security, Proliferation, and Federal Services of the Senate Committee on Governmental Services:
Although Moscow was unwilling to cancel the Bushehr project, in 1995 the Administration did persuade President Yeltsin to limit the scope of Russian nuclear assistance. Yeltsin approved the sale of nuclear reactors, but ordered Russia's Ministry of Atomic Energy to drop plans to provide equipment and advice to Iran's effort to mine uranium ore and process it to use as reactor fuel -- assistance that would have given Iran an independent source of fissile material for nuclear weapons. (p. 18)
In fact, President Yeltsin agreed not to supply Iran with any technology that would put at risk the international nonproliferation regime. This included the supply of uranium enrichment technology or the supply of reactors suited for the production of plutonium. The culmination of this difficult diplomatic campaign was the letter from Prime Minister Chernomyrdin to Vice President Gore. That letter codified the limits Russia would impose on itself in cooperating with Iran. Much of the substance was briefed to the press before and especially after the May 1995 Moscow Summit. That substance has been described to Congress through open testimony and a series of classified briefings.
It did not give us everything we wanted, but it did eliminate those aspects of cooperation with Iran that presented a clear and present danger to our national security. Without the limits the Russian government did impose, Iran today would have received hundreds of millions of dollars worth of sensitive nuclear technology and would be well on the way to mastering the nuclear fuel cycle.
That is what the Chernomyrdin letter is. Now, let me say what it is not.
It is not a secret agreement hidden from Congress. The text of the letter was and is classified, just as have been many other confidential exchanges undertaken by this and past Administrations. This was a highly sensitive diplomatic negotiation and publicity could well have brought it down. The letter is still classified. We cannot discuss its contents in detail in an open session.
We want to be clear on a critical point. Confidentiality is crucial to many diplomatic negotiations. The diplomatic process on these matters fortunately has not come to a halt because of recent leaks. But playing this out in the press can only have a chilling effect on our ability to continue the process, and could seriously undermine the U.S. national security interests that are at stake in these discussions.
There is in fact a sentence in a letter -- quoted in the press -- that indicates the Russians did not want us to brief Congress. That sentence had no effect. We informed the Russians before the letter was sent that we would brief Congress, and we informed the Russians immediately upon its receipt that we would brief the matter to Congress. The Russians accepted this. We agreed that we would do this in a confidential manner as we do for many sensitive negotiations. Briefings were offered to key Senate and House Members in the spring of 1996. Representatives of the National Security Council, the Office of the Vice President and the Department of State did the briefings. Subsequently, we have updated this Committee and others on the state-of-play of our efforts, both in open testimony and in classified briefings.
The Administration did not give up its opposition to the Bushehr reactor. We still oppose it. Our actions in persuading other countries not to participate in the project have slowed it down. But only a decision by the Russian government could stop it. The Russian government has not been prepared to give up the reactor project, at least in part because of its big price tag.
The Administration has not turned a blind eye to Russian activities. Recently Russian entities -- some of them associated with the Ministry of Atomic Energy -- have pursued cooperation with Iran that is not consistent with the Chernomyrdin assurances. We sanctioned two Russian entities in January of 1999 as a result. We have also been unstinting in our day-to-day diplomacy with the Russians to block any transfers. The Administration has made a major effort over the past few months to bring Russian behavior back into line with the assurance. We cannot report complete success, but last month the Russians did suspend the activities of an institute in St. Petersburg that planned to transfer equipment related to a sophisticated means of uranium enrichment.
I do not want to downplay the current problems we are facing on the nuclear front, but they are considerably less than what we would be facing today without the Chernomyrdin assurance. Faced with the choice of pursuing this at times frustrating diplomatic effort and the alternative of unconstrained Russian assistance to Iran, we would choose the former.
I want to conclude my remarks on a personal note. I have served as a nonproliferation expert for Secretaries of State and Administrations of both parties for nearly twenty years. The arrangements discussed here today are manifestly in the interests of the United States and of the effort to halt nuclear proliferation. But, they have powerful opponents in Moscow. A partisan brawl that drags legitimately classified material into the newspapers as photo insets can only benefit Iran. If these arrangements are not in place, Iran will be in position to acquire new reactors and a wide array of sensitive nuclear technology. That will not be in the interest of future Administrations of either party or of the American people.
Impeding Iran's WMD and missile delivery systems will remain at the top of the U.S. national security agenda. Ensuring that Iran does not acquire destabilizing types and quantities of advanced conventional weapons is also critical.
Russia is key to both those objectives. We have no alternative but to continue an active strategy of seeking to thwart Iranian efforts to procure the material and technologies they need for their non-conventional programs. That means engaging Russia directly and actively; working with them to strengthen resolve; assisting them in strengthening export control laws and regulations; and helping to make the implementation of those policies, laws, and regulations more effective. This is a step-by-step, incremental process. There is no silver bullet, it is a problem that must be worked at many levels, from many directions, and worked continuously.
By any reasonable standard, our policies have been effective. Since the signing of the Aide Memoire, Russia has not concluded new agreements to export arms to Iran, it has not exported advanced conventional arms to Iran, and in fact it has not even to date completed shipments under the original 1991 agreement. Iran's efforts to acquire the types and quantities of arms that would threaten regional stability have been thwarted.
On the nuclear and missile programs, we see a similar story. We have succeeded in slowing and complicating Iran's programs and driving up their costs. We have closed off many of the world's best sources of advanced technology to Iranian procurement efforts, and forced Iran to rely on technologies less sophisticated and reliable than would otherwise be the case. And critically, we have bought additional time. As Assistant Secretary for Nonproliferation Robert Einhorn testified before this Committee just last month: despite the gains Iran has made, we do not consider it inevitable that Iran will acquire nuclear weapons deliverable by long-range missiles.
But avoiding that highly destabilizing outcome, or the threat of advanced conventional weapons in the region, will require continued leadership by the United States and the concerted efforts of the international community, including the active commitment and cooperation of Russia. We have made important steps. This will continue to be a key national security priority for this Administration, and we will leave a vastly different situation than would have been the case had we failed to limit Russia's nuclear and conventional arms exports to Iran.
1Anthony H. Cordesman, Iranian Arms Transfers: The Facts, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC, revised October 15, 2000, p. 2.
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