Moscow-Beijing Terror Axis: Russia and China Are Now Abandoning the Cold War-Era Ruse of a "Sino-Soviet Split," and Cooperate Openly on Many Endeavors -- Including Sponsorship of Terrorism. (Cover Story - Russia)

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On November 5, 2001, in his first interview with an American journalist since the September 11th terrorist attacks, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke to Barbara Walters about terrorism, Afghanistan, and Russian-U.S. cooperation. In one question, Walters brought up the issue of Russia's ongoing policy of providing Iran with nuclear technology that could be used for nuclear weapons.

"Well," Putin responded, "it is a legend which has nothing to do with reality.... We have not ever, ever sold anything to Iran out of the range of technology or information that would help Iran develop missiles or weapons of mass destruction.... We are categorically opposed to transferring any technologies to Iran that would help it develop nuclear weapons."

Mr. Putin's response, of course, was a blatant lie, which Ms. Walters did not challenge or refute, though evidence to do so is readily and abundantly available. Putin was simply following the proven successful pattern. In February 1997, when the Clinton administration was taking heat for looking the other way as Russia was assisting Iran's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs, Vice President Al Gore was dispatched to Moscow with evidence. Russian Premier Viktor Chernomyrdin flatly denied the undeniable. Several months later Foreign Minister Yevgeniy Primakov followed the same course, repeatedly denying the facts when Israeli officials pressed him at a conference in Israel.

Arming Iran

Our supposed Russian and Chinese partners have for some years been busily building Iran's ballistic missile program, which may soon be able to deliver warheads with chemical, biological, or nuclear payloads to Saudi Arabia and Turkey, where thousands of American troops are serving. Iran's Shahab-3 and Shahab-4 missiles are based on Soviet SS-4 rockets illegally transferred to Iran in clear violation of the Missile Technology Control Regime signed by Russia in 1995 and the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty signed by Moscow in 1987.

China has been helping with rocket motors, missile guidance components, test equipment, and technical training and assistance. The Shahab-4 soon may be capable of reaching as far as Germany. Kenneth R. Timmerman, director of the Middle East Data Project, wrote in the January 1998 Reader's Digest ("Missile Threat From Iran") that "U.S. and Western intelligence sources have confirmed that several hundred Russian engineers and technicians travel regularly to missile facilities outside Teheran." According to Timmerman and earlier reports, among the Russians directly involved is Yuri Koptev, head of the Russian Space Agency. Incredibly, while U.S. taxpayers were sending billions of dollars to Russia for Koptev's space station Mir and Russian disarmament programs, Yuri and his Beijing comrades were building surrogate launchpads from which they could fire deadly salvos against U.S. targets -- our bases, troops, ships, oil fields, and allies.

The August 1998 issue of Arab-Asian Affairs provided a detailed look at the massive Russian-Chinese cooperative weapons effort in Iran and noted: "Western intelligence agencies monitoring such developments as the recent completion by Chinese experts of a uranium enrichment plant at the Iranian atomic center at Karaj -- a colossal facility constructed under the guise of a medical and hospital complex 100 miles from Tehran -- still failed to register that Russia and China are both engaged in Iran's nuclear buildup. …