FILE ID:95041108.POL

(Also discussed PFP, START II, ABM on recent visit) (680)
By Jacquelyn S. Porth
USIA Security Affairs Writer

Washington -- While the subject of Russia's plan to sell a nuclear
reactor to Iran did not loom large on Defense Secretary Perry's
agenda, the secretary did tell the Russians during his recent visit
that the United States doesn't think "that anything except refraining
from the sale...will satisfy our proliferation concerns" about Iran.

A senior Defense Department official told reporters April 11 the
secretary made that point after some Russian officials hinted that
sufficient proliferation constraints would be built into the sale to
Iran. The official said Perry also pointed out that Iran clearly does
not need to buy the Russian reactor to meet its energy requirements.

"One little glimmer of hope in this whole deal," the official said, is
that the Iranians may not be able to afford to pay for the reactor
"and they'll get started and not be able to follow through on it." The
Russians made it clear that their motivation is to earn hard currency
with the sale, and Perry raised the possibility that Iran may not have
enough money to complete the deal, causing the program to be "strung
out over a very long period of time or...terminated at some point."

Perry's trip to Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Russia at the end
of March and beginning of April was designed to show that the United
States remains "steady" in pursuing its interests in the former Soviet
Union and in solidifying its defense-to-defense relationships.

In Ukraine Perry discussed the Russian-Ukrainian Black Sea Fleet
dispute and also told the Ukrainians that American firms will be able
to cooperate with Ukraine on a future space launch. He also observed
the removal of an SS-19 missile from its silo and visited a former
naval weapons manufacturer which is being converted to a facility
which will produce modular prefabricated housing. U.S. and Ukrainian
officials also discussed an upcoming joint peacekeeping exercise,
which the secretary will return to observe in about six weeks.

In Russia Perry discussed a joint peacekeeping exercise that will take
place in the United States in the fall, as well as the Partnership for
Peace (PFP) program. The official said Russian Defense Minister Pavel
Grachev expressed support for Russian participation in PFP.

The official also said the U.S. delegation encountered "residual
anxiety" about NATO eastward expansion, but Perry explained to his
hosts that expansion is not directed at Russia. START II ratification
was discussed, and Perry inaugurated a joint program to increase the
safety and security of nuclear weapons in Russia. He also viewed
various aspects of the Nunn-Lugar nuclear dismantlement effort at
work, including strategic bombers being chopped in half.

The secretary presented the U.S. position on developing future theater
missile defenses and how they will be in compliance with the 1972
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and the Russian-Chechnya situation was
on the agenda.

In Kazakhstan Perry discussed U.S. efforts to help the Kazakhis create
their own naval fleet as well efforts to follow-up on Project
Sapphire, which removed highly enriched uranium from Kazakhstan to the
United States earlier this year.

The secretary also opened an International Science Center in Almaty.
The center distributes research grants to former weapons scientists,
the official explained, "so that people who previously made their
living out of designing or testing nuclear weapons have something else
to do with their careers."

The official said the secretary went to Uzbekistan because it is
"strategically located" and shares many common interests with the
United States. While there, he said, Perry inaugurated a U.S.-Uzbeki
military-to-military relationship that will allow bilateral defense
activities, such as joint military training and defense conversion
efforts, to begin.

Perry also stressed the need for "continued progress in
democratization as well as economic reform" in Uzbekistan, "where, the
official noted, "progress has been much slower...than we would like."