INTRODUCING HOUSE RESOLUTION 188 URGING THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH TO TAKE ACTION REGARDING THE ACQUISITION BY IRAN OF C-802 CRUISE MISSILES -- HON. BENJAMIN A. GILMAN (Extension of Remarks - July 17, 1997)
HON. BENJAMIN A. GILMAN
in the House of Representatives
THURSDAY, JULY 17, 1997
- Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, I am submitting today a resolution that calls upon the Clinton administration to take firm action against those responsible for providing dangerous C-802 cruise missiles to Iran.
- The safety and security of American servicemen and women stationed in the Persian Gulf theater of operations are at stake. The acquisition of C-802 cruise missiles by Iran is a destabilizing development and constitutes a clear threat to peace in the region. This violates the provisions of the Iran-Iraq Arms Non-Proliferation Act of 1992, and, therefore, requires the President to levy sanctions against the provider of the cruise missiles--China. To date, the administration has done nothing. I urge my colleagues in the House of Representatives to join me in calling on the executive branch to enforce the law with respect to the acquisition by Iran of these cruise missiles, and to take appropriate action against China for providing the weapons.
- We all remember the tragic and deadly attack against the naval escort vessel U.S.S. Stark that occurred in the Persian Gulf in May 1987. A single cruise missile slammed into the frigate and killed 37 American sailors.
- Today, 15,000 members of the United States Armed Forces are stationed in the Persian Gulf area, carrying out a variety of important foreign policy objectives: enforcing economic sanctions against Iraq; protecting United States and European aircraft that are patrolling the no-fly zone over southern Iraq; and, maintaining open sea lanes through the gulf. We owe it to our troops to minimize to the extent possible the threat they face as they conduct their mission. Prohibiting rogue regimes such as Iran from acquiring advanced conventional weapons must be a high foreign policy objective for the United States, to ensure the safety of American Armed Forces in the region.
- In 1996, the China National Precision Machinery Import-Export Corp., a state-run enterprise, delivered 60 C-802 model cruise missiles to Iran. These missiles are mounted on patrol boats for use by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Navy. The China National Precision Machinery Import-Export Corp. markets the C-802 in its sales brochure as a missile with mighty attack capability and great firepower for use against escort vessels such as the U.S.S. Stark. This is the same company that supplied missile technology to Pakistan, a transaction that led the United States Government to impose economic sanctions for violating United States law and the international nonproliferation guidelines.
- In addition, China reportedly is supplying Iran with a land-based version of the C-802 cruise missile. Iran has been constructing several sites along its coastlines to accommodate transporter-erector-launchers [TELs], from which the Iranian Revolutionary Guard can fire
- these cruise missiles at targets in both the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. The C-802 model cruise missile provides the Iranian military a weapon with greater range, accuracy, reliability, and mobility than it previously possessed.
- In November 1996, Iran conducted land, sea, and air war games in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman and successfully test-fired a C-802 anti-ship cruise missile from one of its patrol boats. Adm. Scott Redd, the former commander-in-chief of the United States Fifth Fleet, said that the C-802 missiles give Iran a `360-degree threat which can come at you from basically anywhere.' Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Robert Einhorn told the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee on April 11, 1997, that the C-802 cruise missiles `pose new, direct threats to deployed United States forces.'
- The Iran-Iraq Arms Non-Proliferation Act of 1992--title XVI of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1993--establishes United States policy to oppose any transfer to Iran of destabilizing numbers and types of advanced conventional weapons, including cruise missiles. The law requires the President to apply sanctions to `those nations and persons who assist [Iran] in acquiring weapons.' The sanctions include a 1-year suspension of U.S. assistance to the offending country and a 2-year ban on the import of any goods produced by the company found in violation of the statute.
- We know that China is responsible for the transfer of these cruise missiles to Iran. The President must impose the sanctions that are stipulated in the law.
- To my dismay, the administration has concluded that the known transfers of C-802 cruise missiles from China to Iran are not of a destabilizing number and type and, therefore, require no enforcement of sanctions against China. Instead, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee in May 1997 that the administration has `deep concerns' about the acquisition of cruise missiles by Iran and will continue to review this development. I find this to be an unacceptable response.
- While reasonable people can disagree over what constitutes destabilizing, there can be no argument that Iran has been engaged in a worrisome expansion of its conventional military capability, especially its navy. Iran has threatened to use its military power to close the Straits of Hormuz, disrupt international shipping, and challenge American forces active in the gulf. The Tehran government views the United States military as an unwelcome presence in the region. Our ships have had several close encounters with the Iranian navy in the past year. Fortunately these confrontations have remained small and contained.
- As Elaine Sciolino points out in her April 20, 1997, article in the New York Times, the potential for real conflict between the United States and Iran is significant, `when two enemy navies with vastly different military missions and governments that do not talk to each other are crowded into such a small, highly strategic body of water.' The acquisition by Iran of advanced cruise missiles, like the C-802 model, must be considered a serious threat to stability, given the explosive situation that already exists. Iran's intent seems clear to me: to challenger the United States for predominance in the gulf.
- Thus, the number of C-802 cruise missiles that Iran acquires becomes academic when considering application of the provisions of the Iran-Iraq Arms Non-Proliferation Act. Our men and women in uniform in the Persian Gulf now face a greater risk with at least 60 lethal cruise missiles targeted at them. The sailors aboard the U.S.S. Stark can remind us of the irreparable harm that one cruise missile can perform, let alone 60.
- Other considerations aside, the law requires the administration to impose sanctions on China for its role in providing these weapons to Iran. I strongly recommend that the President consider applying sanctions against the Chinese Government, as spelled out in the statute, rather than only against the China National Precision Machinery Import-Export Corp. As a state-run enterprise, this company operates with Central Government complicity. Previous penalties by the U.S. Government against this corporation have not eliminated business dealings that are inimical to American security interests. The Chinese Government has sent us a message by permitting the sale of C-802 cruise missiles to Iran. It's time for the U.S. Government to deliver a crystal clear response.
- Again, I urge my colleagues in the House of Representatives to support this resolution calling upon the Clinton administration to take appropriate action.