RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 4, No. 228, Part I, 27 November 2000

IRAN... Following an article in the "The Washington Post" on
22 November, a number of Russian newspapers reported on 24
November that a few days before the U.S. presidential
election on 7 November, Russia informed Washington that on 1
December 2000, Russia will withdraw from its earlier
commitment not to supply Iran with conventional arms.
According to "Vremya novostei," some Russian government
officials have complained that by leaking the secret 1995
memorandum of the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission on Russian
arms sales to Iran, the U.S. has already violated the
agreement. "Nezavisimaya gazeta," on the other hand, notes
the primary reason for reviving military cooperation with
Iran is not anger at the U.S. but the realization that the
agreement caused Russia huge economic losses. JAC

...AS RUSSIA REJECTS U.S. ULTIMATUMS. "Nezavisimaya gazeta"
also reports that analysts with the Foreign Intelligence
Service convinced the Kremlin and Foreign Ministry that "the
advantages of resuming full-fledged arms sales to Iran would
outweigh all negative consequences of the decision." An
unidentified senior defense industry official told "Vremya
novostei" that preliminary calculations show that any harm
done by future U.S. sanctions will be outweighed by the gains
from supplying military hardware to Iran. On 23 November,
Clinton administration officials warned that if Russia
withdraws from the memorandum restricting arms sales to Iran,
the U.S. might respond with economic sanctions against
Russia, Reuters reported. Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov
responded that "the language of sanctions is not the kind of
language you can use with Russia." He added that Russia is
rigorously abiding by agreements not to provide weapons of
mass destruction. If any country has concerns, he said, "we
are willing to engage in a dialogue in order to remove such
concerns." JAC

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