"I want to thank the Arms Control Association … for being such effective advocates for sensible policies to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and most importantly, reduce the risk of nuclear war."
– Senator Joe Biden,
January 28, 2004
Missile Proliferation

Russia Issues New Export Decree To Stem Missile Transfers to Iran

Russia Issues New Export Decree To Stem Missile Transfers to Iran

By Howard Diamond

Following a A year of steady high-level U.S. diplomatic pressure, Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin on January 22, issued a new "catch-all" regulation to cut off the flow of Russian technology and materials to Iran's ballistic missile development effort. The edict will—if fully implemented—close an important gap in Russian export laws and regulations that Iran has used to acquire technologies not explicitly listed for control, according to an administration official. The decree, which took effect immediately, could also provide the Clinton administration with the leverage it needs to halt congressional efforts to sanction Moscow for past transfers of missile technology.

The new regulation requires Russian businesses to forgo transactions of dual-use nuclear, chemical, biological or missile technology or services when they know or have reason to know of a proliferation end-use, and report to Moscow all proposed contracts of restricted dual-use materials and technology. The decree is similar to parts of the 1991 Enhanced Proliferation Control Initiative (EPCI) in the United States and like measures in other countries that require industry cooperation in controlling potentially dangerous exports. Such measures, however, depend heavily on government efforts to advise businesses of customers to avoid, as well as the willingness of companies to abstain from illegal but often lucrative deals.

The U.S. official said that over the long term, the effectiveness of the decree will depend on whether Moscow puts up the money to support a solid export control regime—something the United States will be watching closely. He added that Moscow appears to be taking new steps to end the transfer of missile technology by limiting access for Iranian students to advanced aerospace training and warning both Russian companies and Tehran that leaks of Russian ballistic missile technology will not be tolerated.

The Clinton administration has made stopping Tehran's drive to acquire nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, as well as ballistic missiles for their delivery, one of its highest priorities, and has won pledges from both Russia and China to either cut off or limit their cooperation with Iran. Beijing has promised Washington that it will end its nuclear cooperation and sales of anti-ship cruise missiles to Iran. (See page 30.) Moscow, on the other hand, while pledging not to sell weapons or nuclear enrichment and reprocessing technologies to Iran, has rejected White House requests not to finish the German-origin 1,000-megawatt (electric) light-water reactor project at Bushehr on the Iranian coast.

Iran's Missile Efforts

Washington believes Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons in spite of its membership as a non-nuclear-weapon state in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and is concerned Tehran is now developing missiles that could deliver nuclear warheads. News reports based on U.S. intelligence claim Tehran is trying to produce two types of medium-range missiles: the 1,300-kilometer Shahab-3, based on the North Korean Nodong missile, with a 750-kilogram payload; and the 2,000-kilometer Shahab-4, alleged to be based on the Soviet SS-4 missile, with a 1,000-kilogram payload.

CIA Director George Tenet told the Senate Intelligence Committee on January 28 that much of Iran's progress in moving up the deployment dates for the two missiles—from the 1997 estimate of 10 years or less to the current estimate of only two or three years—is due to assistance from Russian companies. Leaked U.S. and Israeli intelligence reports have suggested widespread Russian cooperation with Iran on engine technology, guidance systems and special materials, and have named several entities including Rosvoorouzhenie, the state arms-export agency; the Bauman Institute, an advanced technical education center; the companies NPO Trud, Polyus and Inor; as well as the Russian Space Agency (RSA) and its director, Yuri Koptev.

Koptev's name has sparked special concern because he has been leading the Russian side in bilateral efforts to address U.S. concerns about the missile technology leaks. According to the administration official, however, the accusations about him and the RSA are not accurate. Koptev's and the RSA's involvement with Iran, he said, has been limited to discussions of peaceful space cooperation and satellites.

Since July 1997, Koptev has met four times with U.S. special envoy Ambassador Frank Wisner as part of an ongoing diplomatic mechanism to assess U.S. intelligence showing possible technology transfers to Tehran and to discuss ways of preventing them. Koptev told reporters on January 30 that out of 13 warnings, Washington's intelligence has produced only two cases in which Russian officials found illicit activities. Wisner's last visit to Moscow, on January 13, was described by U.S. officials as his most productive trip yet. Wisner is expected to make another trip to Russia prior to the March 9-11 meetings in Washington of the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission which has also been addressing the missile technology issue.

Signs of progress through the Wisner-Koptev mechanism and Moscow's recent promulgation of the export decree have put the Clinton administration in a delicate position with regard to punishing Russian entities for past cooperation with Iran's missile program. U.S. laws enforcing the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) require sanctions if entities in a member-state violate the regime's prohibition on selling missiles or missile technology for systems capable of delivering a 500 kilogram payload over 300 kilometers without the member-state taking adequate investigative or enforcement action. Sanctions could also be imposed under the EPCI at the president's choosing. According to the administration official, however, discretionary sanctions under the EPCI would be counterproductive. The administration has yet to make a determination with regard to the companies' legal culpability under U.S. sanctions laws.

Congressional Action

Its apparent reluctance to "get tough" on Moscow and impose sanctions has been critically received on Capitol Hill and has prompted new legislation aimed at sanctioning Russia. Prior to ending its last session on November 12, the House of Representatives adopted, by a voice vote, the Iran Missile Proliferation Sanctions Act of 1997, intended to punish any entity that provides technology or assistance to Tehran's ballistic missile program.

Senate Democrats blocked a move to quickly adopt the House bill and, at the administration's request, the Senate has held off further consideration of the measure. According to one Hill staffer, even with 84 co-sponsors, Senate action on the measure is unlikely until after the GCC meeting in March in order to give the administration time to work with Moscow on concrete steps to stop the missile technology leaks.

In addition to sanctioning entities found to be assisting Tehran's missile program, the legislation also includes the implementation language for the Chemical Weapons Convention, making the bill harder for the president to veto. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and National Security Advisor Samuel Berger have already stated, however, that the president will not accept the measure as it now stands.

The administration's chief objections are that the proposed statute will undermine the diplomatic efforts that are showing signs of success and that, unlike other U.S. laws, the new sanctions bill doesn't require a high-standard of evidence or even an exporter's awareness of complicity in proliferation efforts to be liable for punishment. Sanctions would also have to be imposed within 30 days of receiving "credible evidence" of an entity's involvement in Iran's missile program, opening the possibility of sanctions being imposed erroneously. The bill does allow for a presidential waiver, but only where doing so is "essential to the national security of the United States."

U.S., Russian Missile Commanders Agree to New Transparency Measures

GENERAL EUGENE Habiger, commander in chief of U.S. Strategic Command, and Colonel General Vladimir Yakovlev, head of the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces, have agreed to an exchange of officers for the purpose of observing each other's nuclear command and control procedures. In a November 4 Defense Department briefing, Habiger outlined the nature of these exchanges and indicated that, on the basis of his observations and conversations with high level Russian officials during his October 22 28 visit to Russia, he is confident that Moscow's nuclear arsenal is safe and secure.

During his trip, Habiger examined a nuclear weapons storage facility at Kostroma, a rail mobile SS 24 ICBM base located approximately 300 kilometers northeast of Moscow. Habiger said he was impressed with its safety and security procedures and was assured that Kostroma was "representative" of ICBM bases throughout Russia. As an example of these security measures, he said access to nuclear weapons in Russia requires the presence of three people, whereas the United States has a two person policy.

Under the proposed exchanges, which could begin within the next few weeks, a team of four or five Russian specialists would visit a U.S. ICBM base to observe the safety and security procedures instituted at nuclear weapon storage facilities. A team of U.S. specialists would also have similar access in Russia. Habiger and Yakovlev also agreed to establish a so called "shadow program," under which Russia would send the equivalent of a wing commander, a squadron commander, a flight commander and a missile crew member to the United States to shadow their respective counterparts for a one week period. A similar U.S. team would pay a reciprocal visit to a Russian missile base.

Habiger said he also had access to various Russian nuclear command and control centers, from the national level down to the unit level. In an apparent effort to alleviate lingering concerns about an accidental or unauthorized Russian nuclear launch, he stated that these centers seek to function in a "fail safe" mode, whereby any one of the centers (even at the unit level) can inhibit the launch of an ICBM.

During his Pentagon briefing, Habiger also discussed Russia's plans to modernize its strategic nuclear forces. He said the single warhead SS 27, which will constitute the backbone of the Russian ICBM force under START II, is expected to achieve initial operational capability around the middle of 1998. Habiger noted that Russia laid the keel for a new class of ballistic missile submarines (known as the Borey) in the fall of 1996, which is expected to become operational around 2005. As for its bomber force, he said Russia has a research and development program for a new air launched cruise missile and that new Blackjack bombers may come on line in the near future.

Habiger noted that the Russians did not modernize their strategic forces during the 1980s when the United States was moving forward with systems such as the B 2 bomber, the Trident submarine and the corresponding D 5 ballistic missile. As a result, he pointed out that Russia is pushing hard for a START III agreement in part because the service life of its systems, including the SS 18 ICBM, is "coming to an end."

U.S., North Korea Meet for Missile Discussions

More than a year after the United States and North Korea initiated talks aimed at limiting Pyongyang's missile development programs and missile exports, U.S. and North Korean officials held a second round of talks June 11-13 in New York. The talks produced no agreements, but a senior administration official described the talks as businesslike, and said "they provide a good basis for further discussions," and possibly additional talks this summer. North Korea has been developing medium-range (about 1,000 kilometer) missiles that would allow it to strike all of South Korea and nearly all of Japan, and has sold Syria and Iran improved Scud missiles capable of delivering chemical or biological warheads.

The two sides first met to discuss the issue in April 1996, however, intervening events such as the submarine incident of September 1996 kept additional rounds of talks from being scheduled. The United States has linked North Korean performance on the missile issue with the improved political and economic relations mandated by the 1994 U.S.North Korean Agreed Framework that froze North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

The U.S. delegation was led by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Non-Proliferation Robert Einhorn; his North Korean counterpart was Li Hyongchol, director of American affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A senior administration official said the U.S. goal was to get Pyongyang to practice restraint in its missile activities, but did not comment on specific options being discussed. Topics in the first round of talks included a request by Pyongyang for compensation for forgone missile sales, which was denied by the United States. Also discussed in April was the possibility of North Korea joining the Missile Technology Control Regime, a voluntary arrangement of nations who have adopted a common policy proscribing the sale of ballistic missiles and their components and technology, for systems capable of carrying a 500-kilogram payload 300 kilometers or more or for any system (other than manned aircraft) intended to carry weapons of mass destruction.

UNSCOM Head Says Iraq Has 'Operational' Missile Force

Howard Diamond

IRAQ HAS MANAGED to retain an operational force of ballistic missiles in violation of UN prohibitions against possessing such weapons with ranges above 150 kilometers, according to Rolf Ekeus, head of the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM). UNSCOM has long suspected Iraq of possessing missile capabilities beyond those permitted under UN Security Council Resolution 687. Ekeus' assessment, offered during a January 29 luncheon speech sponsored by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, indicates that Baghdad may have an operational force of between 18 and 25 Scud or Scud variant missiles.

"Every piece of what is necessary to constitute an operation[sic] force is available in Iraq," Ekeus said, including transporter erector launcher (TEL) vehicles, rocket fuel and "an organization to operate these missiles." The missiles, whose range of up to 650 kilometers would allow Iraq to reach targets in Israel and Iran, are of particular concern because of Iraq's past use of ballistic missiles against neighboring countries and the missiles' potential to deliver weapons of mass destruction. According to Ekeus, Iraq has used a variety of deceptive methods used to hide the missiles and related equipment.

During the past several months, Ekeus said Baghdad has become increasingly uncooperative in response to UNSCOM's ongoing effort to establish a "material balance" of Iraq's past ballistic missile programs. In November 1996, Iraq refused to permit UNSCOM to take 150 destroyed rocket engines, which Baghdad claims it destroyed and buried in the summer of 1991, to the United States for metallurgical analysis by a Department of Defense laboratory. UNSCOM inspectors want to confirm whether the engine metal matches that of the old Soviet produced rocket motors, because it believes Iraq destroyed inferior, indigenously produced engines instead of operational Soviet produced motors.

Under Resolution 687, Iraq is permitted to possess ballistic missiles with ranges under 150 kilometers, but the Gulf War cease fire resolution mandates destruction of Iraq's longer range Scud and Scud variant missiles. In April 1991, Iraq gave 48 missiles to UNSCOM for destruction and claimed to have destoyed and buried 85 others without UNSCOM supervision. While the sites identified by Iraq did appear to hold the declared number of destroyed missiles, further investigation by UNSCOM showed that Iraq had, in some cases, simply transferred "buried" missiles from one site to another so they would be double counted. UNSCOM also found that some of the sites did not actually contain operational missiles systems, but training missiles. Iraq is also believed to have removed and stored critical missile components, such as turbo pumps, which they are unable to produce domestically.

Iraq's refusal to comply with the UN resolutions persists even in the face of economic sanctions, which have cost Iraq more than $100 billion in lost oil revenue. Ekeus claims that Iraqi obstruction of UNSCOM's mission has gotten worse as Baghdad perceives Security Council support for UNSCOM to be waning. As a case in point, Ekeus cited Security Council inaction after the Iraqi refusal to allow analysis of the destroyed rocket motors. Instead of approving a resolution demanding Iraqi compliance, the Security Council issued a statement that "deplores" Iraq's non cooperation, and notes "that such action complicates the implementation by the Special Commission of its mandate." The result, according to Ekeus, is that UNSCOM is now facing "serious obstructions" by Iraq for simple document requests and for the removal from the country of chemical munitions for analysis.

Panel Upholds NIE Assessment of Ballistic Missile Threat to U.S.

Craig Cerniello

ON JANUARY 23, the CIA released the unclassified version of the independent panel review of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) 95 19—the controversial assessment that concluded that no countries, other than the declared nuclear weapon states, will develop a ballistic missile capable of threatening the contiguous 48 states or Canada in the next 15 years. The panel, headed by former CIA Director Robert Gates, rejected the claim made by congressional conservatives that NIE 95 19 was politically influenced by the Clinton administration in order to downplay the longer range missile threat to U.S. territory. Although acknowledging several deficiencies in the intelligence estimate, the panel reaffirmed the estimate's conclusion that the United States is unlikely to face a limited missile threat from any "rogue" country before 2010. Congressional critics of the NIE have now taken aim at the panel's findings.


Gates Panel Review

One of the most hotly contested issues in the current national missile defense (NMD) debate is the nature of the threat to the United States posed by longer range ballistic missiles. When the NIE was released in November 1995, it posed a significant challenge to congressional Republicans who advocated the early deployment of an NMD system to defend against what they claim is an emerging missile threat to U.S. territory. In subsequent months, several congressional members challenged the NIE's findings and argued that the estimate was politically influenced by the administration in order to justify its decision not to commit to the early deployment of an NMD system.

As a result of the controversy generated by NIE 95 19, Congress, in its fiscal year 1997 defense authorization bill, required the director of the CIA to convene a panel of "independent, nongovernmental individuals with appropriate expertise and experience" to review the underlying assumptions and conclusions of the estimate. Then CIA Director John Deutch appointed Gates to chair the independent panel, which included Ambassador Richard Armitage, Sidney Drell, Arnold Kanter, Janne E. Nolan, Henry S. Rowen and retired Air Force General Jasper Welch. The conclusions reached by the seven panel members were unanimous.

The Gates panel dismissed the charge that NIE 95 19 was politically influenced. "The Panel found no evidence of politicization and is completely satisfied that the analysts' views were based on the evidence before them and their substantive analysis," the report stated. Moreover, it concluded that, "unsubstantiated allegations challenging the integrity of Intelligence Community analysts by those who simply disagree with their conclusions, including Members of Congress, are irresponsible."

The Gates panel noted that there were several deficiencies with respect to the process in preparing the NIE and the manner in which it was presented. The panel said those in senior management positions were not sufficiently involved in the preparation of the estimate, especially given the controversial nature of the issue being addressed. "The result was not a politicized Estimate but one that was politically naive," the report said. The panel also claimed that the estimate lacked a clear scope and was "rushed to completion."

The Gates panel pointed out that one of the most serious problems in NIE 95 19 was that its main conclusion on the missile threat to the United States was based on "a stronger evidentiary and technical case than was presented in the Estimate." The panel's report illustrates several examples of how the NIE's key judgment could have been strengthened. For instance, the panel stated that the estimate could have analyzed the length of time it took countries with successful missile programs, such as China, to develop an ICBM capability. Such an analysis, they claimed, would have revealed that it took China more than 20 years to develop its 4,750 kilometer range CSS 3 ICBM—a clear indication that states with much less resources (e.g. North Korea) have a long way to go before successfully developing an ICBM capable of reaching U.S. territory.

The panel also identified several analytical shortcomings in NIE 95 19. Most important, the panel claimed that the intelligence estimate failed to thoroughly address the motives and objectives of those states seeking an ICBM capability. The panel's report said insufficient attention was devoted to the potential threat to the United States posed by land attack cruise missiles and shorter range, sea based ballistic missiles. Other deficiencies included the failure to ask whether potential adversaries could acquire an ICBM capability through channels not considered by the intelligence community, and an overemphasis on the Missile Technology Control Regime as a means of slowing ballistic missile proliferation.

In the final analysis, however, the Gates panel concluded that "the Intelligence Community has a strong case that, for sound technical reasons, the United States is unlikely to face an indigenously developed and tested intercontinental ballistic missile threat from the Third World before 2010, even taking into account the acquisition of foreign hardware and technical assistance. That case is even stronger than presented in the NIE."

Clearly dissatisfied with the panel's findings, Representative Curt Weldon (R PA) argued in a January 17 letter to Gates that the independent review failed to adequately refute the charge that NIE 95 19 was politically influenced by the administration. "Not once did your panel provide an opportunity for Members who charged politicization to be heard. Given your harsh condemnation, I believe you had a responsibility to explore those allegations and to offer a detailed rebuttal of them," Weldon wrote. The letter also rejected the notion that Congress was responsible for rushing the estimate to completion.

Ekeus Says Iraq Still Hiding Ballistic Missiles

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The New Politics of Missile Proliferation

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Egypt Received Scud Missile Parts From North Korea, Report Says

Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty


This treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union requires destruction of ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with certain ranges, and associated equipment within three years of the Treaty entering into force.


The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty required that both the United States and the Soviet Union destroy their ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with the range of 500 to 5000 kilometers, as well as the missiles’ launchers and support structures. This was to be met three years after the Treaty gets entered into force. As the Soviet Union reached nuclear parity with the United States and started vamping up the qualitative element of their missiles, this Treaty helped pacify the arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union. Several proposals were made between President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev. When the Soviet Union dissolved, the United States sought full implementation of the INF Treaty with twelve former Soviet republics.

Opened for Signature: 8 December 1987

Entry into force: 1 June 1988

Official Text: http://www.state.gov/t/avc/trty/102360.htm#text

Status and Signatories: http://www.state.gov/t/avc/trty/102360.htm#narrative

ACA Backgrounder: https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/INFtreaty

Country Resources:

Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)


This limits the spread of ballistic missiles and other unmanned delivery systems used for chemical, biological and nuclear attacks by encouraging its 35 member states to restrict their exports of technologies capable of delivering any type of WMD.


The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) is an informal association of governments with common interests in missile, unmanned air vehicle, and related technology nonproliferation. It began with France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States with an interim agreement to control nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. Its goal is to limit risks of proliferation by controlling transfers to delivery systems capable of weapons of mass destruction. States must follow laws and procedures which include information-sharing. There is no formal mechanism to ensure compliance.

Opened for Signature: 16 April 1987

Entry into force: 1987

Information: http://mtcr.info

ACA Backgrounder: https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/mtcr


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