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BROWNBACK: We'll call the committee hearing to order. Thank you all for joining us today on the hearing on the Foreign Relations Committee, subcommittee on the Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs; Hearing on Iran -- Iran and Proliferation: Is the U.S. doing enough?
Certainly appreciate all the people in attendance and we've got an excellent set of witnesses and some tough questions to ask about U.S. policy toward the Iranians. Washington is a town where people can and will disagree on just about anything. It is therefore my great pleasure to hold a hearing on a topic about which there is little disagreement. In the years since the Islamic revolution, Iran has developed into a militant nation intent on exporting its particular brand of Islam and using terror both internally and externally to achieve its aims. It is a rogue state, seemingly unsusceptible to reason, uninterested in international norms and committed to the development of weapons of mass destruction.
In the 19 years since the revolution, notwithstanding the blandishment of its most important trading partners in Europe, Iran has not lessened its support for international terrorism. The German courts recently confirmed as much, branding Iran's top leadership with responsibility for the gang-land style slaying of four Kurdish dissidents living in Berlin.
The executive branch and the Congress, Republicans and Democrats, we all agree that Iran represents a significant threat to the American people, to our friends and to our interests in the Middle East and the world over. Yet despite broad agreement, our various policy prescriptions do not seem to be working.
The European policy of critical engagement has proven ineffective and misguided. But our policy isn't being implemented as well as it should be, either. President Clinton has stated on a number of occasions that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction poses an extraordinary danger to the United States.
Clearly, the Congress agrees and has helped put in place a set of laws aimed at stemming the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to rogue states, such as Iran. Yet only twice in recent memory, twice, has any president invoked those laws to sanction nations that sell missiles and nuclear weapons technology to Iran.
And neither sanctions case involved either Russia or China, the two main proliferators to Iran. I have in front of me a list of transfers to Iran of everything from conventional cruise missiles to chemical precursors to full-blown nuclear reactors. Obviously, there is a substantial amount of classified material on these subjects, but many of the details are available in the open press and is upon open sources only that we have relied in preparing for today's discussion.
I will cite only a few of these cases in the interest of time. Case number one, China, a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention, reportedly sold chemical precursors, chemical production equipment and production technology, to Iran. In a hearing on Chinese proliferation just last week, the administration admitted these were destined to Iran's chemical weapons program.
It would be natural to conclude that such transfers were a violation of executive order 12,938, the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act, or the Iran/Iraq Non- Proliferation Act. Yet, none of the applicable sanctions have been imposed.
Case number two: Russia's allegedly assisting Iran's missile program and has supplied technology and parts of the SS-4 missile system. The SS-4 has a range of 1,250 miles and can be loaded with a nuclear warhead. If this report is true, it would be a violation of provisions of the Arms Export Control Act, the Iran/Iraq Non- Proliferation Act, as well as the Foreign Assistance Act.
Case number three: In mid 1995, reports surfaced about the transfer by China of sophisticated guidance equipment to Iran. It was later reported that there were unanimous agreement among experts, who had seen the evidence, that the transfer constituted a violation of the Missile Technology Control Regime.
In the unclassified material, I can see the United States demarched China on this issue, and that U.S. officials traveling to China discussed it. All of the reading I've done on the subject, however, suggests no decision on sanctions was ever made. If not, why not?
Case number four: In January and March 1996, both Vice Admiral John Redd, Commander of the Red -- Commander of the Fifth Fleet and General Peay, Commander of Central Command, told reporters that China had supplied Iran with a C802 anti-ship cruise missiles, against which the U.S. Navy has no defense and which clearly endanger the men and women serving in the Gulf. The sale of these missiles is clearly destabilizing, to use the language of the Iran/Iraq Non-Proliferation Act.
The administration appears to have concluded, however, that the known transfers are not of a destabilizing nature. That's certainly poor comfort in support for our sailors in the Gulf.
Case number five: In 1995, Russia and Iran signed a contract for the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy to complete work on an unfinished nuclear reactor in Iran. I understand that there are ongoing discussions between Tehran and Moscow for three more reactors.
The administration has clearly stated its opposition and asked the Russians to call off the deal. The Russians, however, have indicated they will proceed. Is this a sanctionable act? The transfer of reactors by itself is not because the Non-Proliferation Treaty allows such transfers to take place.
But, given that the administration has told us again and again, that Iran is aiming for a nuclear weapon and that they're afraid that technology transfers associated with reactors will speed up Iran's quest for nuclear weapons, there seem to be several laws that apply, including the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Act, the Export/Import Bank Act and others.
The administration, apparently, has chosen not to impose sanctions. Now, I've mentioned only five cases, but there are many more involving not only unconventional weapons, but conventional ones as well.
While China is Iran's number one supplier of unconventional arms, Russia, according to the Department of State, will be Iran's number one supplier of conventional arms and will reportedly sell $1 billion worth of arms to Iran in 1997 and 1998.
It was just last Friday that President Yeltsin stated that Russia has quote, "good, positive cooperation with Iran, which shows a tendency to grow," end quote. If it is, indeed, one of this administration's top priorities to isolate Iran and to strangle Iran's ability to earn foreign exchange that buys these weapons of mass destruction, why are we not doing more about the suppliers? How in the face of almost overwhelming evidence, can the administration have stated in a recent hearing that China and the United States quote, "recognize a shared interest in preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and related technologies."
Now I recognize that the use of sanctions is not always as effective as engagement. But where do we draw the line? The German government, last week, recalled its ambassador to Iran after the verdicts in the trial. The judge in the case stated clearly that Iran's leadership was behind the plot and that it was Germany's policy of engagement with the regime that led to Tehran to feel it could act with impunity on German soil.
Do we not at a certain point recognize what was recently brought home so clearly to the German government? That Iran and those who supply Iran with weapons of mass destruction believe that because we have been so appeasing, that they can continue on with their programs with impunity. What will happen when, inevitably, some companies violate the terms of the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act?
In front of me, I have several articles describing the French firm Total's (ph) intent to invest in Iranian oil fields to the tune of $858 million. The Malaysian firm, Putonis (ph) will be making a similar investment and what are we going to do?
BROWNBACK: Will this administration for good reasons or bad, fudge on imposing sanctions because they don't want to get into a tiff with France or Malaysia? Congress has passed a good deal of legislation to counter the dangers of terrorist states, like Iran getting nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and the means to deliver them.
The president has signed that legislation into law. Yet, those laws are, for the most part, lying around gathering dust. I've got charts of both of those that we have up to my right, to your left, about applicable laws that exist, the sanctions that have been opposed; about weapons sales to Iran; countries of China and Russian involved with those.
I have to your -- to my left and to your right, just a list of the headlines that have taken place in recent newspaper articles about all of this occurring. And, if that isn't enough, then we have the Wednesday "Washington Times," April 16th edition, headline: "Russia Sells Missiles To Iran, Terrorist To Get Latest Arms."
Is it just the sanctions are not useful? After all, that is a valid answer, though not one I would agree with. Are the laws not clear enough or not written tightly enough? Is there a reason that the administration uses the loopholes that exist?
Take the recent case of Moscow's agreement to provide Iran with nuclear reactors. Congress made clear its view that the sale was not compatible with the continued U.S. assistance program. The president disagreed and waived sanctions associated with the reactor deal.
I'm certain there are members of Congress who are asking themselves whether we should have given the president the loop hole he used. For my part, I believe that selling reactors to Iran and receiving aid from the United States are mutually exclusive. After all, we -- why should Russia spend U.S. tax dollars to support our avowed enemy?
The administration has told us again and again that Iran is a threat, that we must contain that threat and stem Iran's quest for nuclear weapon. What are we waiting for? Isn't it time to ask ourselves whether our policy is really working? And that's what I look forward to exploring in this hearing with the various witnesses that will be present to testify.
I think we have to have a -- need to have a good discussion, a frank discussion of what we're doing to contain Iran from getting weapons of mass destruction, and we'll pursue that in depth in this hearing.
I'd like to turn to my colleague, Mr. Smith, from Oregon, if he would have an opening statement, the mike is yours.
SMITH: Thank you, Senator. I'm pleased to be here with you. Congratulate you on the first hearing of this subcommittee. I'm honored to be a member of it. Welcome, Senator D'Amato. I'm anxious to hear his testimony. I know I share the concern he has about the prospective sales of new NATO members to Iran, and the impact that may have on Israel and other neighbors. So I look forward to these hearings and I'm glad to be here.
BROWNBACK: Thank you, Senator Smith. And we'll have others joining us. I would call first to the witness stand, Senator Alfonse D'Amato from New York. I'm well aware that we could sit here and threaten Iran, decry their weapons program, sanction their suppliers and the Iranians would pay us little heed. That is why we needed my esteemed colleague from New York to join us today.
Now at least we can be sure that President Rafsanjani will set up and take notice. Senator D'Amato deserves kudos and gratitude from the American people at a time the administration was uninterested in confronting the growing problem in Iran and was unwilling to prevent, even, U.S. companies from investing in Iran, Senator D'Amato was out there calling for an investment ban and sanctions.
The Iran/Libya Sanctions Act, which he authored, is a blow to Iran's source of foreign exchange and a much needed wake-up call to the regime. The United States cannot sit back and permit one of the world's most dangerous regimes to operate with impunity. So therefore, I welcome my esteemed colleague, here today, I congratulate you on the work that you've already done in this area and I look forward to your testimony of what else we need to do to make sure to get this threat to our security and our interests under control. Senator D'Amato?
D'AMATO: Well, Mr. Chairman, thank you for the graciousness of your introduction and I am very pleased to be here with you and Senator Smith and Senator Robb. Now, Mr. Chairman, at the outset, let me thank you for calling these hearings.
I think it's very important to focus in exactly what has taken place because little is really known about the circumstances and how the legislation, which basically says that we cannot nor should we do business with those countries, who permit unrestricted trade, in particularly in the oil and gas production of Iran and Libya, to continue as if all is well.
The fact of the matter is, that Iran is conducting a naval build- up in the Persian Gulf. It is building and buying Chinese-made C802 cruise missiles, a danger to our Navy, and our people are very, very concerned in that area. They are building weapons of mass destruction -- chemical weapons, as the chairman has alluded to, and it's because of this and those things that Iran's continued sponsorship of terrorism, that the legislation -- the Iran/Libyan Sanctions Act of 1996 was passed overwhelmingly and enacted into law.
Now, Mr. Chairman, let me divert from the very carefully prepared remarks of my staff and it's a great staff and they have me engaged in all these nuances in which a very few people understand and get right to the issue. You know, you can't say to a rogue nation, that you're outside the scope of dealing with us and we're not going to do business as usual and make international credits available to you and have you continue to use these great resources that we, directly and/or indirectly through our allies, help to finance.
And I'm talking about the oil and gas resources that both Libya and Iran have. And, that's why we passed the Iranian/Libyan Sanction bill. And make no mistake about it, that bill was destined to die in the House of Representatives. It was going to die because of the interest of the corporate structure, not only here in America, but throughout the world -- business, business.
People are willing to do business with just about anything to make money -- greed. We've seen it in the past. We've seen people do business with the most despicable characters in the world -- with the Swiss bankers. They weren't neutral. They were the Nazi's bankers during World War II. Little has really changed.
Multinational corporations in the countries where the various corporations operate and particularly their own national companies, they seem to forget the lessons of the past. And so they deal with these petty tyrants and dictators and those people who export revolution, even in those countries themselves.
And we just recently had the case that the chairman alluded to, in which the German court came down and found four of the people who were killed by the Iranians -- by orders of -- and the court said, specifically from the highest levels of Iran, these executions of these four Kurds, which took place on German soil, on foreign soil, were ordered in Berlin, which is where these four Kurds met their death, by the president of Iran and by the spiritual leader of Iran. This is the court.
I have to tell you, we would never have passed that bill were it not for a terrible tragedy -- TWA 800. It was at that point in time when the bill had passed the Senate and was over there being held in the House and being worked over -- worked over; being worked down, watered down, so that it would really be nothing.
And that's just the same kind of policy that we had with Iran and Libya for years, where we said we are not going to permit their oil to come into this country, but we let our foreign subsidiaries bring it in through the back door.
Finally, the president put a stop to that. I proposed legislation to do, he did it by executive order, fine. We did it. But how do we sound to our allies when we say one thing and do another. Are we really serious? What does that mean to the people who we are attempting to get to act as responsible citizens in the world -- in the world community and to stop exporting? They think that's just political propaganda and, indeed, lots of people, including our allies, say that's just political propaganda, there.
Well, I have to tell you something. I think the American people expect more of us. And I think this is more important than that. And I think that the recent killings demonstrate all what is taking place and how bold, how bold the Iranians are in the exporting their revolution, even to the territories of those countries who have been very sympathetic.
Now, let me tell you, there are some people say, this act isn't worth anything, it's just divisive. Well, they're wrong, they're wrong. Just look this past January and Hassan (ph) Yayaveev (ph) is quoted as saying that these -- that this act is having a very, very profound, detrimental impact -- and he says, there is little or no foreign investment in the Iranian petroleum industry.
We want them to get that message. But, if you continue to do business with the killers and those people who promote this kind of activity, well, why should they stop? I'm not -- we're not suggesting that we go in and bomb them. We are suggesting that we withhold the monetary moneys from them that make possible them bombing others and exporting that.
Now, with respect to the oil producing rogue states, like Iran and Libya, the sanctions policy should be viewed in terms of the U.S. national security.
D'AMATO: Any increase in Iranian and Libyan petroleum revenues should be viewed as a threat to the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.
I hope that our allies begin to understand. But they're not going to understand unless we are determined. U.S. sanctions against Iran and Libya are part of an ongoing effort by our country and by Congress to fill the gaps in U.S. policy.
And Congress, through its lawmaking powers has passed legislation against investment in Iran and Libya and sanctions against countries that deal with Cuba, otherwise known as the Helms-Burton Act. It is this prerogative of Congress to do so, and I think that we have to remember that despite a reluctance to deal with the issue, eventually the president did in fact sign both measures.
I think we have to also remember that that law is really only as good as its enforcement. Now fortunately, the administration has reached an agreement with the European Union regarding the implementation of the Helms-Burton Act and the Iranian-Libyan Sanctions Act.
And this agreement was due to the diligent work of Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, the undersecretary of commerce for international trade. His commitment to easing relations between the U.S. and the European Union is unending. And it's important. We want to keep our allies with us. And his work on this issue and the question of the holocaust victims assets in Swiss banks has been untiring and vital in both cases.
The agreement as it relates to the Iranian Libyan Sanctions Act is quite clear. It states -- and I quote -- "The United States will continue to work with the European Union towards objectives of meeting to terms one, for granting EU members state a waiver under section four of the act with regard to Iran, and two, for granting companies with the EU waivers under section 9C of the act with regard to Libya."
Now I think it should be clear that the terms within the law for granting a waiver specifically with regard to Iran are very simple. If the country where the company to be sanctioned is situated imposes substantial measures, including the imposition of economic sanctions -- in other words, our allies have to join with us -- then and only then can a waiver be granted.
Any suggestion that the European Union should be granted a blanket waiver without following the stipulations of the bill that is to join in this boycott is simply mistaken. There is no blanket waiver here.
And in passing the legislation, Congress intended for this law to be implemented in full. And if blanket waivers are provided without just cause, only Iran will benefit. And they'll laugh at us. And they'll continue their policies.
So it comes down to a question of how far a nation will go in implementing its tools to defend itself. And I think using the great economic power that we do have and hopefully to get our allies to work with us is the proper way.
Now there are some people who are talking about the principles of dual containment, and they argue that isolating Iran will only radicalize the regime. They argue that through the policy of dialogue we can moderate the behavior of this rogue regime.
Yet despite all of its criticisms of our efforts, our allies with all of their moderate talk, were doing business with them, were supplying them credit, have not been able to moderate their policy. It is flawed. And I think we'd better learn from the lessons of the past and as recently as the incident that took place in Germany.
I think we have to remember that terrorists are against all of the principles that we stand for, and that if we because of economic expedience look the other way so that we can continue business and rack up profits in the long run, we become self-defeating. Our allies can join with us and hopefully work with us and become part of the solution in moving Iran into a civilized nation that respects the rights of its neighbors.
And I thank the chair.
BROWNBACK: Thank you very much. Thank you very much, Senator D'Amato -- appreciate that statement.
Let me ask you, I've outlined five cases where weapons have been or precursor chemicals or ingredients to missile guidance system have found their way to Iran from China and Russia and some other places as well, and yet, nothing has happened. The sanctions have not been imposed.
What has been our failing to date (ph)? Why are these items still finding their way to a nation who's clearly considered a rogue regime and who is exporting -- officially -- exporting terrorism, even as was found by outside courts? Why is that continuing to occur?
D'AMATO: Mr. Chairman, I think it's because we have not pursued, not only this administration but past administrations, a policy which says that you can't say one thing and then do another. You can't say that you want to normalize your relations with us and work with us as a nation, whether it be China, whether it be Russia, and then undertake the very activities that undermine that by supplying various munitions and chemical weapons and precursor materials that are necessary that will be used in the manner, and they know it -- the Russians know it, the Chinese government knows it -- in a manner to destabilize and create tremendous problems throughout the world.
Now, how do you approach this? Do you approach it by making public ultimatums? I don't think so. I think that would be a mistake. And I don't suggest that.
But by gosh, behind the scenes when we are dealing with the Chinese, and where they are racking up $47 billion to $50 billion surpluses in trading with us, we have the economical leverage to say to their leaders. And I hope it's been done. Maybe the vice president did it. I don't know.
But I think at the very highest levels they have to be told, you cannot trade with us and work with us as we would like to build a relationship, of mutual respect, and then because you're going to receive a half-a-billion dollars in hard currency, sell weapons technology to Iran. And if you do that, you will be jeopardizing the mutuality of interests in terms of commerce, in terms of mutual respect because you are imperiling our safety.
You would not expect us to supply your enemies with materials that would be dangerous and threatening to you and to your people. We expect the same. Never happens.
And what happens when we talk about building something and using our vast power? My gosh, every single business group comes running in. Oh, no! You're costing the American consumer money!
Incredible. Myopic. And we haven't done this for years. And indeed, not only do these groups come in and lobby, they lobby to just do business as if everything -- just do business with them. And then they're going to be nice and they're going to respect you. The fact that they're selling, again, a half-a-billion dollars here and a half- a-billion dollars there worth to rogue nations the kinds of materials that will cause death and destruction and destabilize this world, we just simply forget. It's on the altar of economic greed.
And some of our own, some of our own corporate boardrooms, the most wonderful outstanding citizens of America who make all kinds of contributions, very little with their own money, generally from their corporations, to every kind of wonderful event there is, they're the very people coming in and talking about, oh, we're worried about the consumer.
Hell, they are. They're just worried about their own profits. I think that's a heck of a thing. But that's democracy. You and I and the others have an obligation of standing up and going beyond that.
And sometimes it means some of the interests that are in our own states and people that we know who have businesses, they're good and decent people and get blinded because they want that business. They want those cheap goods that come in because they're selling them at great mark-ups and they're making lots of money. You think they're really worried about the American consumer, that's a lot of nonsense.
BROWNBACK: We've treated it as too much of a secondary issue?
D'AMATO: Oh, yeah, totally. In other words, this is so what is it? So they're selling a half-a-billion dollars a year worth of chemical weapons and/or missile systems or nuclear technology. And, you know, we don't want to rock the boat. I've heard about what a great basket of opportunity it is and we shouldn't do anything to imperil those trade relations.
I've had friends come to me, tell me that, don't rock the boat. Well, I think there comes a point in time when behind the scenes we have to say to them, let me tell you, if you make these sales, if your generals who are running some of these plants both in Russia and in China, are going to conduct this kind of surreptitious sale, some of it not so surreptitious, to these various countries, then you're going to imperil our normal relationship and we're going to stop the business intercourse between the two that normally flows.
I don't think that that's threatening. That's just setting the record straight. That's protecting U.S. and world interests for our security. Seems to me that makes sense.
BROWNBACK: I want to welcome to the committee Senator Robb, whose ranking on this committee, has a vast amount of experience in the foreign relations field, one that I'm delighted to serve with on this committee. Looking forward to working with you and want to award floor and the mike over to Senator Robb.
ROBB: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thank our colleague from New York for joining us today. He has never been one to pull back when he has some thoughts that are relevant to a particular question. And certainly this is one he has been very passionate about.
And there were several comments that he made today that could lead to an interesting follow-up. But I think rather than keep our colleague here knowing that he has other business, and indeed I have two other committees that are meeting as we meet here at the moment, I'll defer those questions until the matter comes up on the floor of the Senate where we may have opportunity to debate this or other policy, and want to hear from the both the administration panel and the other panel that follows. But I join you in thanking our colleague for sharing his views with us on this important topic today.
D'AMATO: Thank you, Senator Robb. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
BROWNBACK: Thank you very much, Senator D'Amato.
Our second panel will be Mr. David Welch, acting assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs, and Mr. Robert J. Einhorn, deputy assistant secretary of state for proliferation, from the administration. We're looking forward to a good dialogue, presentation.
Think there have been a number of points made. I hope the two panelists if at all possible can address some of those points that are made, some of the questions that have been out there. I think would be most, certainly to me, most illuminating if you can address those items, because these are matters that come up frequently.
We do have your written testimony. We can take that into the record. You can surmise if you would like. I would hope you could address some of these cases that have come up.
BROWNBACK: I know you both have a very difficult job. As Senator D'Amato was just pointing out about the difficulties that consecutive administrations have faced since 1979 in dealing with Iran, this has not been an easy issue. I think also you know how strongly Congress has felt about this and the number of laws that we have passed and how frustrated we are that we don't seem to be making better progress.
So, Mr. Welch, the microphone is yours. We welcome you to this committee hearing. Thank you for coming.
Acting Assistant Secretary of State
for Near Eastern Affairs
WELCH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm pleased to be one of your first witnesses in this new capacity for you. It's a rookie event for me, too, in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and I'm glad you have picked such an easy topic for us to work on today.
If I might, I'd like to take a few minutes to talk in a general way about our policy. I'm going to take advantage of this opportunity because it is our first session together and I think when seen in the context of our overall effort, you will discern a common purpose in what we're doing with respect to Iran and with sum of the ideas and efforts made by Senator D'Amato.
Iran, in our view, poses a significant threat in a region where we have vital national interest. Its policies have not changed for the better over the last 4 years. It still seeks to project it's regional influence through a conventional military buildup and through development of weapons in mass destruction and their means of delivery. We're particularly concerned by Iran's continued pursuit of nuclear technologies, chemical and biological weapons components and production materials and missile technology. Iran's acquisition of ever more sophisticated missile technology from North Korea and China presents an increasing threat to our friends and to our own military presence in the Gulf.
Let me say, though, that Iran's threat is not limited to the military arena. It seeks to expand its influence by promoting violence around the world. It has used terror to disrupt the Middle East peace process and against its own people. Iran seeks to gain influence through disaffected elements in neighboring countries and by promoting subversion of neighboring governments. It has supported terrorist activity in places as far away as South America to the Far East. It's use of terror recognizes neither allies nor frontiers, age nor sex, religion nor ethnicity. Not even Iran's own people are protected from its violence. Its human rights rigors are among the worst in the world. Iran's ethnic and religious minorities and women regularly feel the lash of Iran's repressive system. Its disrespect for the right of free expression is vividly demonstrated by the regimes continuing public offer of money for the murder of another country's citizen, Salman Rushdie because of what he wrote.
Others who dare stand for freedom of ideas, like Iranian writer, Faras Sakuoue (ph) also suffer for their courage. Iranian oppositionist face less public but equally dire threats. About one week ago, as you know, a German court found that the assassination of four Iranians of Kurdish extraction at the Mykanos Restaurant in Berlin was ordered by the highest levels of the Iranian government. These murders were part of a broad pattern of state murder that has claimed the lives of 50 Iranian descendants since 1990.
What more tangible effort -- evidence could I offer of Iran's willingness to use terror and violence in pursuit of state goals? As you know, we are also investigating an incident at the al-Khobar apartment complex in Saudi Arabia. We have not reached any conclusions on that investigation. If the evidence were to demonstrate involvement by Iran, or for that any matter, any other state, we would take appropriate action to ensure that justice prevails.
What is the goal of U.S. policy on Iran? We seek to change Iranian behavior through economic and political pressure, while directly limiting Iranian capabilities. In the interim, we want to constrain the resources Iran has to pursue activities that threaten us and our allies. We seek neither to permanently isolate Iran, nor to overthrow the Iranian regime. We don't object to Islamic government. We want Iran to abandon those policies that have made it an international pariah.
Our approach includes non-proliferation and counterterrorism efforts combined with economic and political pressure. To combat global terrorism, we are developing a common agenda with European allies based on P8 counterterrorism measures. Upon non-proliferation, current legislation, enables the U.S. to pursue our objectives toward Iran. International cooperation curtails but has not eliminated Iran's access to the technology and equipment of proliferation concern. Current sanctions covering the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, missile equipment and technology, advanced conventional weapons and lethal military assistance to terrorist list countries allow us to punish those who ignore this international consensus.
Nonetheless, some governments do indeed continue to assist Iran with its weapons and mass destruction and missile programs. That's why we've combined our non-proliferation efforts with economic and political pressure. We want to demonstrate to Iran that its policies will not only fail, but will bring a significant cost to Iran's economic and political interest into the well-being of its own people. Targeting weaknesses in Iran's economy, particularly its need for technology and foreign capital, our unilateral efforts have limited Iran's policy options.
For example, as Senator D'Amato noted, Iran has difficulty attracting foreign investment into its oil industry because of the threat of U.S. sanctions. Iran must therefore choose, in effect, between development of its resources and funding the very policies to which we object. Similarly, our success in limiting Iran's international and influence and activity contrasts starkly with it's desire to be a regional power.
I've outlined for you our response to a threat posed by Iran. Now I'd like to discuss how I believe we could be more effective.
Our current legislative tools reached the limits of effective unilateral initiatives. We would be much more successful if we had a cooperative effort beyond counterterrorism and non-proliferation with our allies to use common political and economic clout to have a real impact on Iran. We've pressed our allies to adopt such an approach and to restrict Iran's access to foreign capital and technology. We seek a coordinated multilateral response that imposes clear consequences on Iran for its choices.
What would that common approach look like? Steps taken on April 10 by the European Union, including the recall of ambassadors suspension of the so-called critical dialog, expulsion of certain Iranian intelligence operatives -- these are solid initial steps, Senator.
A common strategy that brings us closer together with Europe would obviously have a greater impact. It would make clear to Iran that support for terrorist groups is unacceptable, period. We must be perfectly clear on that point: No support for terrorism for any reason at any time in any place. We must take an equally firm stand on proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. While the world community is working to reduce and eliminate these weapons, we cannot remain silent while Iran develops its own capabilities.
Europeans have said that they will meet April 29 to consider additional measures. We hope that the European Union's decision will move our approaches closer together by including measure that pose a tangible cost to Iran. We want to create an impetus for Iran to change.
What do I mean by meaningful change? Not dialog for it's own sake. Efforts to engage Iran have not achieved any notable successes. Has dialog stopped assassinations? No. Has dialog ended Iranian- supported terrorism? No. Has dialog stopped Iran's use of its embassies to coordinate arms procurement and terrorist action? No. Has dialog even succeeded in limiting the threat against Salman Rushdie? No. Current approaches have not conferred immunity from terrorism nor caused Iran to change.
Iran's revolution continues to evolve. Periodically, there are internal voices that are raised to criticize the regime's policies -- internal and external -- that put at risk Iran's own development and stability. Unfortunately, those voices are not being given a serious opportunity for expression in next month's presidential election in Iran. The candidates in that election share a common inconvenience the status quo and Iran's unacceptable policies.
As long as Iran continues to project -- seek to project Iranian power, violence and terror in a way that threatens our interest and international stability, we will work to isolate Iran and to limit that threat. We'll use all the tools at our disposal, protect our friends and our interest responding, as we need to to Iranian actions. We call on our allies to join us in applying a real cost to Iran. We hope that U.S. leadership and the growing realization of European nations that Iran's behavior is unacceptable will provide us an opportunity to work more closely together.
We're confident, however, that Iran will not prevail and that the Iranian people will in their own interest, eventually compel their revolution to evolve and yield the regime that respects international standards of behavior and the interest of all Iranians and their government.
WELCH: My colleague Bob Einhorn, who represents our Bureau of Political Military Affairs and is one of the State Department's preeminent experts on non-proliferation issues, has some comments about how the non-proliferation concerns apply in the case of Iran.
BROWNBACK: Thank you very much, Mr. Welch, for your testimony. Look forward to some discussion of your statements and some questions that I have.
Mr. Einhorn, welcome to the committee. I noted your testimony last week, I believe, in front of the Government Affairs Subcommittee on this same topic. I look forward to your discussion here today.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
for Political-Millitary Affairs
EINHORN: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And thank you for the opportunity to testify before your subcommittee.
Despite its avowed support for non-proliferation and disarmament, Iran is actively seeking the full range of weapons of mass destruction, missile delivery systems as well as advanced conventional weapons. It has a clandestine nuclear weapons development program that has sought to procure facilities and technologies that have no plausible justification in Iran's declared nuclear energy plans.
Its chemical warfare program is among the largest in the developing world, producing some 1,000 tons of CW agent per year. It has placed a high priority on acquiring biological weapons and is capable of producing many different kinds of BW agent.
It has imported Scud missiles as well as components and technology that would help them produce longer-range missiles indigenously. And it is buying conventional arms to give it the means to intimidate its neighbors and threaten commercial and military navigation in the Gulf.
Impeding Iran's acquisition of these capabilities has been one of the Clinton administration's highest priorities. We have waged a vigorous campaign both bilaterally and multilaterally to sensitize supplier governments to the growing threat and the persuade them to adopt effective measures to ensure that neither they nor exporters operating under their jurisdiction will assist Iran's programs.
In the nuclear area, we have successfully urged all but a very few suppliers not to engage in any nuclear cooperation with Iran. At the highest levels, we have pressed Russia to join this near- consensus.
While Russia continues to pursue construction of the Bushehr nuclear power reactor, it has agreed to limit significantly the scope of its nuclear cooperation with Iran, and in particular, will not meet Iran's request for a gas centrifuge enrichment plant or a plutonium producing heavy water research reactor.
Nonetheless, we continue to urge Russia to forgo all nuclear cooperation with Iran. We urge the same of China.
So far, China has suspended its sale of two power reactors to Iran, probably because of siting and financing difficulties. Whatever the reason, it's a positive step and we'll continue to call on Chinese leaders to curtail nuclear cooperation with Iran.
Multilaterally, the Nuclear Suppliers Group at U.S. initiative put in place in 1992 a regime to control nuclear-related dual-use exports, a regime which has substantially increased the obstacles to Iran acquiring the equipment and technology it seeks. Also learning from the Iraq experience, the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency based in Vienna, next month is expected to adopt more rigorous safeguarding procedures aimed at detecting undeclared nuclear activities.
Cumulatively, we believe the steps we have taken are real impediments to Iran's nuclear weapons aspirations. They have significantly slowed the Iranian program and pose obstacles to its ultimate success.
In the chemical area, the U.S. supported tightening of the Australia Group's controls over chemical-related exports has largely closed off European chemical and equipment companies as a source of supply and forced Iran to look elsewhere, particularly to China. The Chemical Weapons Convention will also play a major role. It will outlaw any assistance to Iran's CW program.
If Iran joins the CWC, it will be subject to challenge inspections. If it does not join, it will be subject to sanctions and political isolation.
We are deeply concerned that various Chinese entities have transferred dual-use chemicals, production equipment and production technology to Iran, which we expect will use them for its CW program. We have urged Chinese leaders to take strong steps to prevent these entities from assisting Iran's program and to strengthen China's still-inadequate export control system.
We have also told them that we are actively examining the transactions of which we are aware to determine whether they meet the requirements of our sanctions law. In the missile area, our continuing efforts to strengthen the Missile Technology Control Regime have effectively denied Iran's access to most of the world's leading producers of missile technology.
We are extremely concerned, however, by North Korea's supply of Scud missiles and Scud-related technology to Iran, as well as by missile-related cooperation between Iran and Russian and Chinese entities. We will be meeting bilaterally with North Koreans next month to discuss their missile exports, and will continue to press both Russia and China at the highest levels to avoid any contribution to Iran's long-range, ground-to-ground missile program.
We are also disturbed by Iran's efforts to build up its conventional force capabilities. We have persuaded the other 32 members of the Wassenaar arrangement to join us in agreeing not to transfer armaments to Iran and other countries of concern.
In connection with Wassenaar, President Yeltsin publicly pledged in 1994 that Russia would not enter into new arms contracts with Iran and that it would also close out existing contracts within a few years. Any transfers to Iran of advanced anti-aircraft missile systems, such as those in the S-300 series, would violate Russia's commitments.
We have raised the issue of reported transfers of such missiles with the most senior officials of the Russian government and have received firm assurances that such transfers would not occur. Indeed, we have not determined that any such transfers have taken place, but we will monitor this issue very carefully.
We have also expressed strong concerns to Chinese leaders about the transfer to Iran of C-802 anti-ship cruise missiles. These missiles add to Iran's maritime advantage over other Gulf states, put commercial shipping at risk and pose a direct threat to U.S. forces. We do not believe the C-802 transfers to date meet the standards for imposing sanctions under our law, but we are continuing to monitor this situation as well for any additional transfers that might cross the threshold of sanctionable activity.
Mr. Chairman, we have used a wide range of policy tools to promote our goal of impeding Iran's acquisition of weapons of mass destruction and other dangerous capabilities. Among those tools are multilateral export control regimes like the Nuclear Suppliers Group, international agreements like the Chemical Weapons Convention and active bilateral diplomacy. Another tool we have used is U.S. non- proliferation sanction laws. We have sanctioned Iran twice for missile-related imports, and imposed sanctions on entities providing assistance to Iran's CW program.
The threat or imposition of sanctions can, under certain circumstances, be an effective complement to other non-proliferation policies, but they are not a substitute.
EINHORN: Indeed, with all the laws currently on the books, we believe we have reached the limits of effective unilateral initiatives in this regard.
What is most needed is close cooperation among the world's leading suppliers of sensitive goods and technologies and other interested states. Fortunately, we have already managed to build wide international support for the need to constrain Iran's programs. Even in the cases where we have some differences, such as with China and Russia, we believe there is fundamental agreement on the need to prevent Iran from further development of weapons of mass destruction. We need to continue building on this foundation.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
BROWNBACK: Thank you, Mr. Einhorn. Appreciate your testimony.
Senator Robb, if you wouldn't mind, I though what we could do is seven minutes each, and we'll bounce back and forth on that until either you're exhausted or we're -- time to move on. We've got, you know, a series of questions.
If I could, Mr. Welch -- so, if we could get the time clocks moving to make sure to time him -- Mr. Welch, as you look around the world, would you say that Iran, as a nation, is our number one security threat presently to this nation and to our interests? Or is there another country that you would deem more of a present security threat than the Iranians are?
WELCH: I wouldn't want too many more to join those ranks, but I would see Iran as a substantial security threat to the United States, given the interests that we have in the immediate neighborhood of Iran, in the Gulf in particular, but also given the fervor by which they pursue their own -- their own perceived national interests, which takes them further afield than the Gulf, both practically and politically.
To use a political example as well as a practical one, consider their position on the peace process. The leadership of Iran has, in effect, targeted the peace process, both in political terms by its own actions in denouncing almost anything positive that goes on and supporting almost anything negative that goes on, and by practical steps by its allegiance and support of -- allegiance with and support of groups that themselves conduct actions of violence and terror against those who are involved in the peace process.
So while I do have responsibility for a couple of other places that fall into the category of roque states, Iran is certainly one that we regard as a very, very important national security threat and a serious long term one as well. I think that's a judgment that many of our allies in the region and outside it share.
BROWNBACK: So, you wouldn't -- you're saying they may not be the only one, but it's certainly in the Class A category for as far as our most difficult security threats we presently have around the entire world.
WELCH: Graduated from Class A to the pro leagues, yes.
BROWNBACK: And I would judge that as well, it seems to me. So what is so troubling to me, as I raised a number of examples, and even you can go to this Wednesday's "Washington Times," as I did -- "Russia Sells Missiles to Iran." If they are in the pro leagues, for our difficult security interests that we have, why aren't we taking even further steps to try to limit them, whether it's in the specifics of the missile sale or if you can enlighten me that this are not actually occurring, we have additional sanctions that you do have available to you to use. Why are we not stepping it up?
WELCH: Senator, let me take a stab at this, and then ask Bob to comment about the specifics raised by, among other things, that newspaper article.
First, we agree this ought to be a priority foreign policy concern of the United States. We think that in very real terms this administration and those that preceded it have demonstrated that Iran is a very fundamental concern of ours. We have in unilateral sanctions and in unilateral policy probably the most robust and vigorous effort against Iran's behavior of any nation in the world.
We are also seeking to expand that, to -- in both the non- proliferation and in other areas by reaching greater areas of common agreement with our allies that will enable us to target those behaviors that are specifically of concern to us.
We have, in some cases, chosen to extend our unilateral reach. The Iran-Libya Sanctions Act is an excellent example of that. The administration worked very closely with the House and Senate in order to forge a consensus behind this measure. It is a powerful deterrent to foreign investment in Iran's oil and gas sector. That, in turn, denies Iran the ability to get resources that it can use for some of the things that we find problematic.
While it's a new piece of legislation, I think Senator D'Amato is absolutely right in saying that it seems to be working, that those who are attracted to the idea of investment in Iran's petroleum sector are having second thoughts about doing that, as a result.
We need to go beyond that. We would like further economic and political steps by our friends.
BROWNBACK: Let's talk about ones that we could do. And I don't mean to interrupt, but I want to get to this point, if I could. We have aid that we give to Russia. They are providing nuclear reactors into that region. According to this and other articles, they're selling missiles into that region. We could step up pressure on those suppliers of these sort of weaponry, whether conventional or unconventional to the Iranians, and we are not.
EINHORN: Mr. Chairman, could I comment on that?
BROWNBACK: Please, because I want to get in on that point towards the suppliers, because we have done a lot towards Iran itself, but we're not getting at the people getting the items into Iran.
EINHORN: First of all, you cited the newspaper story. As I mentioned in my statement, we haven't concluded that any of these transactions have taken place -- that these transfers of advanced missiles have taken place, but we need to watch that very carefully.
But on your general point, the suggestion you make, I think, is that because we haven't invoked sanctions in all of these cases, or even in many of these cases, we're not pursuing conscientiously and vigorously a non-proliferation policy. In my view, the premise of that question puts too much reliance -- expects too much of our sanctions laws.
Our sanctions laws have a variety of very specific requirements that have to be met in order for sanctions to be triggered. They're very technical and they're very detailed. One, for example, in the chemical weapons sanctions law is that the exporting entity needs to know, to be conscious that its export is going to a chemical weapon program.
Now, what happens is that a lot of these chemical weapon aspiring states use front companies and intermediaries, and it may be very difficult for us to know whether the exporter, in fact, was knowledgeable about the destination. So we have to look at that very carefully, examine it very carefully.
So the requirements of the sanctions law may not be triggered even when we know that a worrisome transaction has taken place. Now that doesn't mean that we don't take action. Because we're aware of such transactions and their destabilizing impact, we will take very vigorous action, and we have, even without invoking sanctions.
So sanctions aren't synonymous with an effective non- proliferation policy. In terms of -- you mentioned the Russia-Iran transfer of a power reactor.
EINHORN: This has been one of our highest priorities since 1993. This has been dealt with by President Clinton with President Yeltsin, Vice President Gore with Prime Minister Chernomyrdin. It's a constant topic in our discussions.
And we have put a lot of pressure on Russia. And as a result, Russia has constrained significantly the scope of that transaction. And it's cancelled the transfer of some very sensitive technologies, like a gas centrifuge enrichment plant. It's cut it way back.
And it's because of the effort we've put into this. And I can go down the list, but we are concerned about these transfers, and we put a lot of effort into persuading suppliers not to make them.
BROWNBACK: Well, I appreciate that, but I could also go down the list of items that have made their way into Iran and have, so that this has not worked to date. But Senator Robb and I look forward to some additional questions.
ROBB: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
You made reference to an article today in the Washington Times. I'm going to start with a reference to one that appeared in the Washington Post by Jim Hoagland who frequently writes on issues of this sort and is a particularly provocative piece entitled, "Iran: Murder by Proxy" in today's Washington Post, that I'm sure both of you have seen.
I take advantage of this opportunity, because, particularly looking directly behind Mr. Welch, I see a former DCI, and since I also serve on the Intelligence and Armed Services Committee, I don't have to even take a chance on referring to any matters that would not be appropriate, and some of the questions, frankly, that I would like to ask would be more appropriate for closed sessions, but a couple come to mind immediately.
If, as Mr. Hoagland writes in this morning's Washington Post, there, quoting him, "emerging indications that Iran was behind the Khobar Towers bombing" and, if this characterization is correct, murder by proxy or something along those lines, and I would say, having just returned from the region and met with a number of officials -- I won't be more specific, because I don't know how specific they wanted to be with some of their comments -- but, certainly, the comments that I received in the country where it happened in particular were not inconsistent with some of the things in this particular article.
The question I have for you is are retaliatory military strikes against terrorist targets inside Iran appropriate, using as the premise the article that appeared in today's Washington Post?
WELCH: Senator, on this one I'm going to have to apologize. I'm in a different position in answering your question than you are in asking it.
ROBB: I understand the difference.
WELCH: The -- our...
ROBB: And I'm not asking you, incidentally, for targeting lists or intentions. I'm simply asking a broader question about whether or not that is an -- an appropriate response, if the predicate is satisfied?
WELCH: Setting aside for a moment the predicate, and my answer will have no reference to that. In general, were we confronted with a situation of this sort where an action has been taken against Americans, official or unofficial, we have a range of options to respond.
We take a look at all those things in such circumstances. None are discarded a priori or accepted a priori. We don't rule anything in or anything out. That is our general response. With respect specifically to the incident in question, I'm obliged to say as I did in my prepared testimony, knowing that this question might come up, that this is a matter that's still under investigation. We haven't reached any conclusions yet. But when we do, we will take an appropriate action.
ROBB: Again, without committing you to a particular response and given the fact that there is still some uncertainty, at least in terms of the official position of the United States with respect to the cause or the perpetrators of this particular action, the question I would ask you has to do with what you think the reaction of such an action on the part of the United States might be within the Arab world.
WELCH: I think that's a difficult hypothetical question to answer, Senator. I mean, a lot depends on what provoked our response, the nature of our response...
ROBB: Well, again, I'm using the provocation as some clear finding that indeed this was, using the author's terminology, "murder by proxy," that was carried out by the Iranian government.
WELCH: You're asking me a question that, because it is hypothetical and on a sensitive subject I'm simply not prepared to go into in open session. I'd like to be able to talk to you about that, and we have other ways we can do that.
ROBB: All right, let me just ask another question. I realize these are -- these are sensitive, and I've got others that I was thinking about asking that I've decided not to, so you can imagine what I'm not going to put to you at this point. I will ask another question, though, that probably falls in the same general category, and I can't help but noting editorially a smile on the face of the former DCI that he's glad that you're in the seat this time and he's not with respect to any official response.
I -- in that same article, reference is made to the possibility of an idea that has been circulating in some circles about extending the naval blockade that is now in force against Iraq to cover Iran as well. The question: Is that logical? Is it feasible, in your judgment?
WELCH: Again, setting aside that this is a matter that remains under investigation, to answer the kinds of hypothetical questions that you're asking, I'm simply not comfortable doing that in public -- in open session. We have a variety of tools that we can use in these situations. We're not ruling any of them in or any of them out.
ROBB: Let me move to a different area, then, that might be easier to deal with. Moscow pledged during past meetings of the Gore- Chernomyrdin Commission that it would cease further arms sales to Iran after current contracts were fulfilled in 1999. Mr. Einhorn, I believe you made reference to the fact that Russia has transferred SS- 4 missile technology to Iran.
My question is: If that is the case, would not that be a violation of U.S.-Soviet INF Treaty and MTCR, which Moscow has agreed to abide by?
EINHORN: Senator Robb, I alluded to the reports that we've both seen about possible cooperation, and this is for...
ROBB: And, again, I'm, I'm...
EINHORN: ... related technology. I can't, I can't comment on that. This is difficult in open session. But we're concerned by this.
ROBB: But, the only question, I said, is if -- if that is true, would not that be a violation? I'm not asking you whether it is true, but I'm just asking for an interpretation of the agreement.
EINHORN: Well, the MTCR, Russia's MTCR obligations would prohibit -- well, Russia's MTCR obligations would indicate that they have to exert extreme caution in dealing with items that are on the MTCR list. SS-4 components would be on the MTCR list. Whether they would be so-called Category I or Category II items, you'd have to know what, you know, what items you're talking about.
In the case of Category I items or Category I technology, the MTCR says there would be a presumption to deny such exports. So it's very difficult to talk about this in the abstract, it depends -- you need to know what kind of technology, what kind of items, may have been transferred.
But as I say, we're concerned about these reports, and the reports apply not just to SS-4 related technology, but other kinds of missile equipment and technology. And we're examining them and we are approaching Russian leaders at the highest levels. And if, obviously, if such reports were to be true, they would be very -- a real concern, because they would add to Iran's ability to produce long range ground- to-ground missiles indigenously. So we're following this very carefully.
ROBB: Mr. Chairman, my time has expired. I thank both of our witnesses for their circumspect and diplomatic responses.
BROWNBACK: I have a few more questions, and if you'd have some, we'll try it as well. Mr. Einhorn, I want to be very specific on one question. If C-802 transfers do not meet the standards defined in the Iran-Iraq Proliferation Act -- Non-Proliferation Act--would you support an amendment to that act that would change the standard for imposition of those sanctions?
EINHORN: Mr. Chairman, I'm not suggesting any change in the law. I'm just saying that the standard for sanctionability at this time has not been met, in our view. The standard is destabilizing numbers and types. Does the transfer number -- does the transfer so far constitute a destabilizing number and type? And we say, so far, no, but we'll monitor the situation for any additional transfers that would cross that threshold of sanctionability.
BROWNBACK: So, you don't think those transfers that -- the C-802 transfers meets that standard yet of destabilizing.
EINHORN: The administration does not believe transfers to date meet that standard. And, more importantly, the Department of Defense in analyzing this very carefully -- and, of course DOD has a tremendous stake in this -- has concluded that so far these are not sanctionable transfers.
BROWNBACK: Mr. Welch, you mentioned that -- I gather in your testimony you're saying that we've reached the limits of what we can do unilaterally, and we need to go multilateral. I have some question of -- if that is indeed the premise that you operate under, you do have additional grounds that you can cover unilaterally that we can take toward particular supplier nations. I mean, and we've identified a number of those that are up on these boards, and if you dispute that, then I certainly want to know how or where, or how we might change the law to give you more tools.
But taking your premise that we need to go more multilateral at this point in time, are you committed -- is the administration committed -- to doing something with the EU before April 29th, when they meet on this issue, to prod and to push them as aggressively and as hard as possible to tighten their sanctions in working with us against the Iranians?
WELCH: The simple answer is yes. We want to work with our allies on this. We think we have a moment of opportunity, given the Mykanos verdict. We believe that their steps so far have been good ones. We'd like to do more. We will have those discussions with them. In fact, Senator, they've been underway, both before and in the immediate aftermath of the verdict. And there will be more.
We have a variety of ways we do that. And let me add that it's done at a variety of levels, too, up to and including the senior leadership of this administration.
BROWNBACK: Now, Mr. Welch, you would -- now, if I understand your testimony correctly -- you would agree with me that we have not been effective in limiting the Iranians' ability to get either precursor chemicals, items that could lead towards a nuclear weapons development program, that we have not been effective to date in getting their access -- or maybe, Mr. Einhorn, you're the correct person to answer that.
EINHORN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. No, I wouldn't agree with that. I would state that we have been quite effective in limiting Iranian access to sources of supply. In the chemical area I pointed out the Australia Group, that's a multilateral export group, has tightened its controls and we see it that Iran has shifted its procurement efforts away from Europe because of the effectiveness of these controls, and now is relying primarily on cooperation with Chinese entities as a source of foreign supply. So we have been...
BROWNBACK: So, are they getting the -- are they getting the items?
EINHORN: Well, yes, we do see transactions in dual use chemicals, production equipment, production technology. We see this happening. And now we're working very hard with the Chinese, trying to persuade them to take very seriously the Chemical Weapon Convention obligation they are about to assume, and to clamp down, to develop good export controls and to prevent Chinese entities from engaging in this kind of cooperation.
BROWNBACK: So the products remain getting into Iranian hands?
EINHORN: Yes, for the time being, they are getting into Iranian hands. And, similarly, in the nuclear area, we -- the United States has launched a major diplomatic campaign to get nuclear suppliers not to engage in nuclear cooperation with Iran. We have gotten near unanimous support for that campaign. And so now you have essentially two nuclear suppliers -- Russia and China -- still engaged in nuclear cooperation with Iran.
But even those two we've persuaded to constrain that cooperation, and we will continue to work on that in the hope that they will agree to terminate that cooperation.
BROWNBACK: Isn't it time to take action against those two suppliers whatever force and effect that the United States has, economic sanctions or other, to stop those products from reaching Iranian hands?
EINHORN: If you're talking about nuclear cooperation, we are taking action. We are...
BROWNBACK: Well, with all due respect, I mean, I understand what you're saying with that, but you do have additional unilateral tools available to you towards supplier nations, whether that was towards Russia, their aid issues or its Ex-Im bank issues or funding; or towards Chinese -- the amount of trade that we heard Senator D'Amato talking about.
I'm not suggesting you link those together, but I am saying that, if you look at the set of tools and resources you have, and you look at the products that are getting in to one our major opponent's hands, they're coming from a couple of places, and you do have additional tools.
EINHORN: Mr. Chairman, let me give you an example of how we use carrots and as well as sticks. In the area of nuclear cooperation, a government needs a special agreement for cooperation with the United States, if the U.S. is to supply nuclear reactors, major components, nuclear fuel and so forth. Neither Russia nor China has such an agreement in effect now.
Both Russia and China would like to engage in nuclear cooperation with the United States, because they respect American reactor technology. We have told the Russians that we are not prepared to enter into a negotiation with them for nuclear cooperation unless we could resolve this question of cooperation with Iran.
Similarly, we do have with China an agreement, negotiated in 1985 but never implemented because of legislation that requires the president make certain certifications that China is not assisting non- nuclear weapons states to acquire nuclear weapons. We are working very hard with the Chinese on this. They have begun to deal seriously with out concerns, and one of our concerns is their cooperation with Iran. And they've begun to curtail that cooperation. And we want to continue pushing that and using the inducement of this -- of implementing this agreement for cooperation as an incentive. And hopefully, we'll be able to use this effectively to encourage a curtailment of this nuclear cooperation with Iran.
BROWNBACK: Senator Robb.
ROBB: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'll turn to some economic questions that might be a little less prickly.
The state of the revolution in Iran -- your testimony in both cases and by Senator D'Amato and others would indicate that things are not going well. There's high unemployment, lower petro-dollar income, certainly compared to ten years ago, an outdated oil production infrastructure, widespread poverty, et cetera.
The question is: In light of these deteriorating economic conditions, can the ideological cohesion remain in Iran? And I guess the broader question: Is the revolution in the process of imploding, in your judgment?
WELCH: Well, you're right, Senator, that the economic conditions there are worse. In fact, that's one of their significant vulnerabilities over the longer term. In a word, the revolution has done a lousy job in using the rich natural resources of this country. Oil production in 1979 I think was a couple of times higher than it is today, just to give you one example.
That's one of the reasons that our legislation has targeted this sector. More broadly, I think they have benefited, actually, in the last year from slightly higher oil prices, and that's given them a bit of a cushion, a cushion that they've used to respond in a number of ways to what they perceive as the economic warfare being waged on them by the United States.
How has the revolution survived despite this? The revolution, after all, has been in Iranian terms more or less broadly popular for many years.
WELCH: It has begun to decay in popularity in recent years to the extent that some Iranians today describe it as sort of hollow.
That said, they have a strong, fairly authoritarian political establishment. Their method of governance is sufficiently strict to avoid the emergence of any credible local opposition inside Iran.
They've used the tools that a modern state has very effectively, and denying their people those opportunities. And even though they hold elections, they are very carefully designed to ensure that the kinds of candidates that come forward to run for those seats are sort of one frame of mind.
And they have managed to get along. Is this a situation that is sustainable over the long term? That's -- I'm not able to make a judgment on that right now. Let me say though that quite a part from whether it is or not, the things that they are doing which are a problem for us are the focus of our attention.
We haven't got a candidate in there presidential race. One way or the other, they should -- in our mind -- the Iranian people ought to have a greater freedom of expression than they have today. That would be very good if that happened.
But the key issue for us at the moment is what this current Iranian regime is doing. And that's the focus of our policy.
ROBB: Well, given the internal quest for finding the quote, "Iranian moderates," is there any alternative emerging that is viable in your judgment?
WELCH: We do not subscribe to the theory that there are emergent Iranian moderates. We do not subscribe to it today, and we have not before.
ROBB: The -- you made reference to the election that will be held next month. The leading candidate is -- as I understand it -- is the speaker, although there may be others. But is there any sense that anyone who is elected would bring about a substantial change in terms of the relationship with the United States -- is there any likelihood under any circumstances that you can foresee that that would improve? Certainly anti-American sentiment is frequently used by campaigns and or appeal to nationalism -- if not fundamentalism -- in many countries quite successfully in stirring up the population or in achieving a particular electoral result.
But do you see any possibility of a positive change, or do you see any inevitability in a decline if the most likely victor is successful?
WELCH: I see little prospect for meaningful change. On the contrary, I think there's substantial continuity in what this leadership -- and its likely successors want to do and that they are likely to continue doing it unless there is some substantial cost to them for what they are doing.
I don't want to give Mr. Nateknoure (ph) or any of his competition a campaign plug, so I'll avoid specific comment on them. But I don't see any important attraction in any of the candidates.
ROBB: Do you want to speculate on why Mr. Rafsanjani may have consented to an interview that turned out to be interpreted by different folks in different ways -- what his post-election plans might be?
WELCH: They -- from time to time -- give interviews, and I think it's part of an effort to influence and in some cases more than that -- propaganda. I think their actions are more important than their words, though I would like a few of their words changed as well.
I think that some of those are gratuitous. For example, on the peace process, I can't see what Iranian national interest that particularly serves. That said, what they're doing is more important than what they're saying.
ROBB: I think that's an appropriate place, Mr. Chairman, to leave it. I thank you, and I thank the witnesses.
BROWNBACK: Thanks Senator Robb -- appreciate that. Now you've stated that China's nuclear cooperation with Iran is suspended. Is that truly the case? We can certainly say that.
EINHORN: Let me clarify, Mr. Chairman.
BROWNBACK: I'd love a yes on that.
EINHORN: I would love a yes on it to, but unfortunately what I have to say is that it has cut back certain plan cooperation. It has rejected Iran's request that it provide a heavy water research reactor optimized for the production of plutonium.
It has also suspended the sale of two power reactors -- I pointed out -- probably as much for sighting and financial reasons than because of our urgings. But regardless, it's a good step.
There's certain other elements of cooperation -- we have urged them to suspend as well. I think they're taking our concerns seriously. We hope to see further curtailment, but there's still some ongoing cooperation.
BROWNBACK: Thank you very much, panel members. You have a tough job, and we share an objective. I have to tell you I'm disappointed on where we are today with this threat. And I will keep watching -- the committee will keep watching.
We may have you back up again near term on this because I just don't think we're getting the job done as witness what actually is occurring. But I do appreciate your commitment to work in this issue aggressively, and I know your concern. And you view the threat very, very seriously, and I appreciate that. Thank you very much.
Next we have our third panel will be the honorable James Woolsey, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency; and Mr. Leonard Spector, he's the senior associate director of Nuclear Non- Proliferation Project with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
We have the two gentlemen that will call up -- I would state to them and to others watching that at 4:00 we have a vote that will be taking place on the floor, so what I would like to do if we could , Senator Robb and members of the panel, is try to conclude by that time so that we wouldn't be interrupting things as we bring things on back -- would give us about 30 minutes to do that.
ROBB: Mr. Chairman, that would be fine with me. As a matter of fact, I was going to have to depart anyhow. I want to catch the end of an intelligence hearing that's taking place right now on the budget that I should attend.
I was going to -- if the witnesses make relatively brief opening statements, I was going to wait for them. If they're not, I'll have to look to the record for their statements. But I can certainly do everything to assist you in meeting that deadline.
BROWNBACK: Now there's a motivation. Mr. Woolsey, would you care to give us your brief opening statement?
WOOLSEY: I would be delighted Mr. Chairman. As Senator Robb knows, I don't read opening statements except when absolutely required to as an administrative witness, and I certainly am not that now.
ROBB: Mr. Chairman, I might also add -- however -- that he is not easily intimidated.
R. JAMES WOOLSEY
Former Director of the
Central Intelligence Agency
WOOLSEY: But I would be delighted, if it's all right, to talk through a few points briefly that are in my opening statement -- have it inserted in the record and try to integrate some answers to one or two questions that you asked other witnesses as I go. It might save a little bit of time for the two of us.
I think, Mr. Chairman, the key issue with respect to Iran is that its combination of support for terrorism around the world and its program of acquiring advanced conventional weapons, and particularly weapons of mass destruction and the means to carry them -- ballistic missiles -- fit together.
And they are very much part of a militant spirit and an attitude toward the West and toward many other countries in the East and Mideast as well, which is a product of the Iranian revolution, but it is also a set of views, particularly with respect to terrorism, that is not widely supported in Iran.
I compare in my statement the situation in Iran today to the situation in Spain in the 1490s at the time of the Spanish Inquisition under Ferdinand and Isabella and Tomas de Torquemada.
WOOLSEY: The clerics who support the terror -- and that's the word for it -- in Iran today have strong critics within the Shi'a clergy in Qom, in Iranian society. They are not real representatives of the spiritual tradition of Iran or of the clergy of Iran or of -- certainly of the people of Iran.
What we have is a regime which, as Mr. Welch said, there are no moderates stepping forward. And the attitude which some of our European colleagues have fostered from time to time that we had the moderate Rafsanjani and the hard-line clerics, I think, is nonsense.
I think that approach has been substantially undercut by what the court has set forth in the Mykanos verdict in Berlin. The government and those clerics that work with it are indeed very much the enemies of the West and common sense and of the people of Iran. And I do believe that if we find that something as clear cut as Iranian government support for the terrorist act at Khobar Towers can be shown convincingly to be the case, the United States has no real option but to take extremely decisive action, the sort of action that I would think should be seriously considered would be, as you suggested, perhaps what Jim Hoagland wrote about in the Post this morning, or perhaps the mining of their harbors.
But that, if it was carried out by the Iranian state through its intelligence services, was as close as one can come to an act of war and we should treat it as forcefully as we possibly can. We're the world superpower, and no Iranian state should get away with that kind of conduct against the United States.
Now, in the circumstances that we are in with respect to the export of weapons of mass destruction, particularly from Russia and China -- and they are now the problem. Other countries have been a problem in the past, but as the two administration witnesses pointed out, there has been progress with respect to other countries, and there has been some progress with respect to Russia and China, but not nearly enough, as I think the Chairman and you, Senator Robb, both suggested.
I believe that it is important to consider seriously taking other legal steps in the current circumstances. One reasonable one was mentioned by the Chairman, such as amending the recent statute to clearly include such steps as the cruise missiles, the C802s, that now are quite threatening to U.S. naval forces in the Gulf.
It would be feasible, I think, to look at some of the provisions that dropped out of the legislation when it was being considered in the House and Senate, and to bring unilateral sanctions to bear on secondary bases, as the statute operates in cases other than investment in the oil and gas industry in Iran, to broaden it to include other investments there, because their Achilles heel really is their economy. The mullahs have done a terrible job of managing the economy, and we have helped them do a terrible job with the sanctions. Our sanctions have not been totally successful, but they certainly have been in some cases useful to crippling the Iranian economy or at least making it limp a bit.
And I think that, if we focus on substantial steps that we can do -- undertake -- to affect the Iranian economy, even in the absence of a judgment about Khobar Towers, and, if it turns out that they were responsible for Khobar Towers, strong and very decisive acts to cripple the Iranian economy.
I believe we will be operating with tools that we can use better than most; tools that will be ones that we can bring allied and other support to bear on. And I think that we have a reasonable chance of turning this ridiculous policy of the Iranian government's -- its support for terror and its acquisition of weapons of mass destruction around. Not in the short order, not in a few months; probably not even in a very few years. But with resolution and firmness, I think we do have some reasonable chance of success here.
And I very much commend the committee for its interest and for its holding these hearings.
BROWNBACK: Thank you, Mr. Woolsey. I appreciate that, and I appreciate your service here to your country, and your continued service.
Mr. Spector, a brief opening statement.
SPECTOR: Thank you. I'll attempt to summarize my statement, and I would request that the entire statement be put in the record, if that's convenient.
BROWNBACK: Without objection.
SPECTER: Thank you.
I think I'd like to sort of pick up in a certain sense on some of the themes that Bob Einhorn was presenting, especially the notion that there are many tools in the tool kit that the administration has and the United States has to try to curtail the availability of weapons of mass destruction to Iran.
Now, he mentioned a number of them, but there are others as well. In particular, we've got a very solid inspection regime in the nuclear side. We're going to have a new chemical weapon convention, whether we join it or not, that's going to be available, that's going to put certain constraints on the chemical weapons side for Iran. And we have, of course, these multilateral regimes to try to control exports going into Iran.
In addition, there are other tools which I'd like to come back to, and these are the Cooperative Threat Reduction and Nunn-Lugar programs which are critical in containing nuclear and other very dangerous materials in the former Soviet Union so that they don't leak out. And also, I think it's important to appreciate the counterproliferation program of the Department of Defense which really has to be brought to bear in these instances where the adversary is over the hump; where they have chemical weapons or biological weapons or missiles, and we are confronting not just an effort to stop the next stage in their development, but we're confronting actual capabilities that may be used against our forces.
A second point to make is that it really is worthwhile going down a list, and I have to have eleven items on my list -- I will not go through all of them now -- which sort of differentiate the different programs. We know in the nuclear field, for example, that Iran is trying along three different routes, I would say, to advance its nuclear capabilities. It wants to acquire these reactors and so forth openly. And maybe it will learn a lot of the tricks of the trade by open nuclear energy development. It wants to acquire material clandestinely from Russia, and that's why controlling that material in Russia is so important. And it also is trying to develop clandestine facilities in Iran to manufacture this material on its own, and there I think we've pretty much stopped things as far as I can tell.
If you go down the list, biological weapons is another area. There's a program, I guess, where they're part way home. They seem to have stocks of biological weapons which the CIA has acknowledged. But there are many advances to be made yet. So it's important to differentiate sort of where we are and what we should be targeting. I think the important target on BW is to make sure they don't learn how to mate it with missiles, and that's a difficult thing go do. Maybe we can be intervening through export controls and other measures.
In the chemical area, there are two programs really. There's sort of the World War I style chemicals which they have in large supply, and Bob Einhorn mentioned 1,000 tons per year I think it was -- those are the old-fashioned gases as I understand. The more dangerous gases -- VX, soman, tabun and some of the others are still under development.
So, in some ways, we've lost the game. On the simple weapons, they're dangerous; they could be used on the battlefield. The more dangerous chemical weapons are still there for us to try to prevent the acquisition of. And I think the same is true in the missile area. Short range Scuds they've got in large numbers. But they want to go to longer range systems, more sophisticated systems, and we have a chance to fight the battle.
If I can just say a few more words about the nuclear area, I would say a point that really we want to emphasize is the critical importance of American programs dealing with Russia to gain control over the Russian nuclear arsenal and over these materials. There are hundreds of tons of nuclear materials under poor security in Russia. The major push in Russia to get these under control is coming from us by virtue of the Nunn-Lugar and Nunn-Lugar-Domenici programs. It's really, really critical that those be sustained.
And there's a report that I was just part of a panel at the National Academy of Sciences which goes into this in some detail. It commends the administration for some very important work it's done; urges a couple of changes. But the fundamental message of a year's work is we've got to keep up the effort. It must have congressional support to continue with this. The report is called "Nuclear Concerns," and in my testimony I've got a footnote giving some additional details. It's being released today by the National Academy of Sciences.
In the biological and chemical areas, I think we do have to look a little bit at the counterproliferation options, defenses that we can have, vaccines, various chemical equipment. We have to anticipate that we're going to be confronting these in the battlefield. And I think this is also true in the missile area. I know there's a big debate over national missile defenses, but I think there is a national consensus that theater missile defenses are a useful tool in dealing with a threat that already exists, and perhaps in anticipating some -- some types of threats that will be coming along.
You focuses on sanctions with great emphasis. I have to say, some of the information that I have had is that a number of the cases that you've been alluding to -- the Chinese transfers of chemical weapons, Russian transfers of missile technology and so forth -- are now sort of getting the first once-over now in the administration. Some of these cases have been around for a long time and they have gotten a lot of attention.
And what we have seen as -- in a way deliberate inaction, perhaps for political reasons in terms of wanting to maintain a high level dialog with the Chinese with the summit coming up and so forth.
SPECTOR: But the impression I have is that some internal decisions are -- have been made about how serious the cases are, who was involved, what might be done, what sanctions laws might be triggered and there has been a reluctance to carry forward and actually bite the bullet and impose sanctions in some of these cases.
Let me just make one final point, and that is to sort of put on the table an area that we have used as an incentive in the past to gain support from the Chinese and the Russians in -- in the area of missile controls, and this is our willingness to give them access to the commercial satellite launch market.
In other words, we export satellites to them -- our industry does -- and they get the launch -- they get the payment for launching this into space. They have, both the Chinese and the Russians, very excellent space launches despite some recent setbacks.
But this is a real -- something of real value, and it hits -- benefits their missile industry, in the Chinese case. The same firms are involved that are making some of the exports we're unhappy with. And in the case of the Russians, although different entities are involved, if we in a sense, threaten the ones that are making money off of this, they may put pressure on the other entities that are trying to sell a few missiles on the side.
We've done this in the past. There was a big episode in 1990 to '93, where the Soviets and the Russians were selling something to India. We sort of said: Well, if you stop that, we're going to open up all this commercial stuff. But the deal was they were supposed to be very disciplined, and I think we've seen some slackening on the Russian side and in Chines as well. I think this would be a very useful, targeted sanction. It can be applied discretionarily -- it doesn't have to have statutory authority, and I think it's a good area to explore as you push forward on the missile question.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
BROWNBACK: Thank you. Thank you, Senator Robb, for joining us as well.
If I could, Mr. Spector, just following up on your statement, it strikes me as -- just looking at this from the outside, that what we've done particularly concerning China and Russia -- number of known or, well, known and publicly reported instances of products and items going to Iran that we don't want going there, that we basically treat it as a secondary issue. We've said it's more important to us for our -- our relationship with China and Russia than it is to stop these items from going on forward. Is that -- that's an outsider's observation. Is that an accurate one?
SPECTER: Well, it is, and think it may be a legitimate observation and it may be a legitimate policy. I mean, I am certainly committed to non-proliferation. This is what I've sort of spent my professional career on. But you also have to realize that the over- arching American interest, let's say, vis a vis Russia, is to have a democratic Russia sustained, moving forward, getting some economic stability and growing in a way that we want.
So one could imagine totally pulling the plug on Russia, with no foreign aid, for example, which is how one of the laws is framed. There's a waiver provision which the president has exercised, so that foreign aid can continue.
On the other hand, you know, you might say we want to pull the plug if there was absolutely no response from the Russians, but there has been. The worst elements of the nuclear collaboration have eased off, and we're dealing with, you know, one item still -- this nuclear power plant that will be under inspection. There'll be some safeguards in terms of the kind of plant it is. So I would hesitate to say now is the time to cut off foreign aid.
But let's go over to the missile area. In the missile area, you could identify a targeted sanction that would affect one sector that's getting a lot of income from the United States. And you might say, we're going to penalize you there. Maybe that's not the right sector. Maybe we would find a different one and sort of try to make the sort of punishment fit the crime a little bit, and catch their attention in a more focused fashion. I think you can do that, with a couple of these areas.
When we try to deal with the Chinese and Pakistan, maybe it's a different issue. There, there's much more at stake for China than money. They have a relationship with Pakistan, and it's harder to push them away. But in a lot of these other cases, it's really money, and if there's money -- a penalty that's threatened to the Chinese or the Russians which is much greater than the financial benefit they get from some of these exports, I think you may be able to prevail without having to do the wholesale pulling back of foreign aid and so forth that I think is -- can be very tricky.
BROWNBACK: Mr. Woolsey, you care to comment on that? Whether we treated it secondarily?
WOOLSEY: Over the last two years -- I probably wouldn't be the best witness on that, Mr. Chairman. I have a general impression in some of the areas that I've followed, such as ballistic missile defense issues with Russia, that we have soft-pedaled our objections to them too much, and that we have been unwilling to be as forceful and clear as I think it is normally productive to be when negotiating with the Russian government.
I think it is fair to say, though, as Mr. Spector said and the two administration witnesses, that with respect to Russia on this nuclear issue, there has been some progress. We would very much like to see them just stop on Bushehr, because Bushehr will let the Iranians develop an expertise in managing nuclear programs that will redound to their benefit and will help them in their illegal nuclear weapons programs. And we'd very much like to see Bushehr stop.
But it is, in fact, the case that we have gotten something done. The government -- the U.S. government has gotten something done with Russia with respect to the nuclear exports to Iran.
BROWNBACK: What about Mr. Spector's suggestion? What I found intriguing -- what about the commercial satellite launches? Is that a way -- that we've heretofore used a carrot and stick approach, but we've failed to pull the stick out, because, I guess, we feel like the stick's too big, or it whacks us when we use it. But here's a -- here's a narrower one.
WOOLSEY: One has to look at specific cases. For some of -- I'm not familiar with the whole range of our cooperation with Russia on propulsion, but there are some cases in which joint ventures and cooperation between American companies and Russian companies work in such a way that a Russian component has become important for American purposes as well. This has been part of the sort of growing partnership in some technological areas.
And so we'd want to make sure that if we did something like that, we didn't do it in such a way that we undercut some capability that we, as the United States, wanted and needed. But as a general proposition, I think his -- the thrust of his remarks are on the money.
BROWNBACK: I want to thank both of you for laying out this basis, because what -- what I was curious to get at was other assessments of what's taking place in the region and other options that we might have that are available to us. I view this as an extremely serious present threat that we have to the United States, and I appreciate particularly Mr. Woolsey ,your statement that if these terrorist activities are directly linked to the government of Iran, that clear and decisive action on our part, including potential for military action, be considered. I think that's a brave and good recommendation on your part.
WOOLSEY: If I could just add one point, Mr. Chairman. I think what we should not do is put a few cruise missiles on a building or a radar in the middle of the night, or a -- even a terrorist camp. Terrorists have a way of being able to move out of camps and tents and the like. We should do something that would seriously hurt the Iranian economy.
The two things that come to mind are one that Mr. Hoagland mentioned -- the blockade. And that requires constant maintenance -- constant patrols, confrontations with other -- ships of other countries. It might be worth it. We might have to do it. But I must say, the notion of mining Iranian ports and harbors strikes me as a very interesting and potentially appropriate response to the murder of a number of American servicemen if it, in fact, turns out to be the case that they did it.
BROWNBACK: Mr. Spector, do you have any thoughts on that that you care to put forward?
LEONARD S. SPECTOR
Director, Nuclear Non-Proliferation Project
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
SPECTOR: I think I'd like to be a little cautious on this, but I do think the -- there is a tendency to imagine that because we have this enormous military capability in the region and globally, that we can take action without a response. We are dealing in this particular instance with a nation -- Iran -- that seems to have a global reach of its own. And we've seen episodes in Argentina -- bombings of the Israeli embassy there. We've seen activity in Europe -- assassinations. We will not necessarily be able to make our response and have that be the end of the issue. We may have a further response and we may find ourselves embroiled in more.
Not to respond is unthinkable if this is, in fact, how things emerge -- that we have a smoking gun. But I think as we take such action, we also have to appreciate that we are under -- doing this at some risk of further continuation of a dangerous relationship.
BROWNBACK: So if -- if we can establish undeniably that this is attached to the Iranian government's decision -- this bombing that took place, in your estimation, we must respond, but that there are consequences even in our response. Am I hearing you correctly?
SPECTOR: Well, I think to the extent that we can respond with others, perhaps, I don't know how much further we can take the economic blockade. We might find that that was more decisive, in the certain sense that there was no way for Iran to respond.
If you take a very precise military action -- mining -- it gives them a focus. We again become the target, and they have measures they can take back if they care to take the risk.
So I think as one measures our the punishment, one has to be aware of the fact that there may be further steps that go beyond, and try to develop a response that deals with that as well.
BROWNBACK: Are economic sanctions sufficient for a bombing activity?
SPECTOR: Well, I don't know, if you had -- if you -- I mean, if you -- I mean, this is -- these are difficult questions. I don't -- I don't mean to suggest a decisive response, but if you could imagine a total -- a global embargo -- a virtual global embargo on the purchase of Iranian oil, that all of our allies supported, including Japan and the western Europeans, because they, too, are outraged by this. That would have a devastating effect on the Iranian economy of the kind that we were just talking about. But it would not have a military dimension, and it would not be only America.
If you take military action and risk lives of, let's say, Iranian sailors or what have you, and you -- you have only the United States acting, you do create a target. And I'm not saying that you might not decide it was appropriate to do it anyway. You might very well decide it was appropriate to do -- a unilateral military act.
But as you weigh that decision, you need to appreciate the other dimension.
WOOLSEY: That would be preferable, I agree, but given their behavior over the last several years, I rather despair of our European friends being willing to pay higher oil prices in order to effectively retaliate against the killing of American servicemen.
BROWNBACK: You know, just to pose an interesting question: Do you think that other Security Council members would go along with economic or military actions if this bombing is laid at the feet of the Iranians?
SPECTOR: Well, I think it's very hard to speculate. My fear is that although we may be convinced, don't forget some of the evidence that's going to be coming before you, let's say, and before the president will be very classified evidence. We're not going to have the whole story out before the public that we can display and build a case the way we did, let's say, when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.
It's going to be a different matter, and I think we're going to have difficulty going to the security council, but in other means, behind the scenes, working with allies, you might at least imagine an alternative. You might reject the alternative. You might decide military action was best, but as I say, it may not be cost-free.
BROWNBACK: Gentlemen, I appreciate this very much. This has been the opening hearing for me as chairman of this subcommittee. I think it's been very enlightening. It's certainly a tough subject, and it -- but it is one that we agree upon for action. Maybe we don't agree quite which actions to take, but I hope we can continue to move forward.
I continue to be disappointed about how ineffective I think we've been to date in stopping the things we want to. We've had some success, but we haven't gotten near where we need to get to, so we're going to keep watching this issue and would appreciate any further input that you might be willing to give, and I'd look forward to that.
SPECTOR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
BROWNBACK: Thank you very much. Thank you all for attending. This hearing is adjourned.