Magazine article Arms Control Today

Russia Stands by Decision to Sell Arms to Iran

Magazine article Arms Control Today

Russia Stands by Decision to Sell Arms to Iran

Article excerpt

IN DECEMBER MEETINGS with high-level U.S. government officials, Russia reaffirmed that it would sell weapons to Iran, confirming Moscow's earlier declaration that it would withdraw from a June 1995 agreement not to sell arms to Tehran. During the talks, Russia said it would abide by international agreements preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and highlighted a new committee that had been established December 1 to oversee the Russian arms trade.

A U.S. team led by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Nonproliferation Controls John Barker discussed the issue of Russian arms sales to Iran in Moscow on December 6 and 7. The Department of State would only say that "full, frank, and comprehensive discussions" took place.

Secretary of Defense William Cohen also raised the issue on December 6 with Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev on the sidelines of a NATO defense ministers' meeting in Brussels. Sergeyev stated Russia would sell only "defensive" weapons to Tehran. However, there is no common definition of what a defensive weapon is.

Sergeyev traveled to Iran for a threeday visit from December 26 to 28 with the aim of renewing military cooperation between the two states. Though there were no reports of concluded arms deals, on December 28 State Department spokesman Philip Reeker described the United States as "particularly disturbed" by Russian press accounts that Moscow would be prepared to sell missiles and submarines to Tehran. …

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