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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


[Page: S5741]


Mr. HELMS. I thank the Chair. Let me make a few comments before we consider regular order.

On February 8 of last year, 1996, I sent a letter to President Clinton urging that he no longer tolerate Chinese-Iranian missile cooperation and transfers. At that time I noted that U.S. nonproliferation laws provided `a clear, legal requirement--and I am quoting from my letter--that sanctions be levied against China for its missile sales to Iran,' and I appealed to the President at that time to act decisively. In response, the President assured me that he would, in fact, and in deed, implement the missile sanctions law, and he used the words, `faithfully and fully' when the United States had determined that sanctionable activities have occurred.

Senator Bennett and I were speaking about that a while ago. We have been waiting for more than a year. Meanwhile, repeated media reports have confirmed beyond any peradventure whatsoever that Chinese-Iranian missile cooperation continues apace, and that the United States is well aware of these activities and that the administration has deliberately elected to ignore Sections 73 and 81 of the Arms Export Control Act, and the 1992 Iran-Iraq nonproliferation act.

In fact, an article in the Washington Times last November 21, I believe it was, purports to quote from a classified October 2, 1996 CIA report entitled, `Arms Transfers to State Sponsors of Terrorism.' Among the transfers reported are missile guidance components, 400 metric tons of chemicals for Iran's chemical warfare program, and advanced cruise missiles .

There can be no doubt that China's provision of advanced missile technology and equipment to Iran directly threatens our national security interests and directly contravenes U.S. law. Over the past several years, Iran has purchased Sunburn, C-801 and C-802 antiship cruise missiles , fast attack missile boats, diesel submarines, and naval mine warfare capabilities.

In addition, Iran has reportedly been constructing tunnels along the coast of the Persian Gulf to shelter ballistic missiles . And Iran may have deployed antishipping missiles on islands at the mouth of the Persian Gulf--which, as anybody who has been there knows, is a natural choke point, useful for strangling our flow of oil through the gulf.

These new capabilities pose a serious risk to the U.S. naval presence in the region, and to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar's oil and natural gas refineries along the coast.

The point is, the White House should be prepared to, as it promised, fully and faithfully respond with the sanctions required by law for China's proliferation activities, as the President assured me he would in a letter last year.

In closing, I welcome Senator Bennett's remarks and his amendment.

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