- North Korea
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The Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) hereby submits this report in response to a Congressionally directed action in Section 721 of the FY 97 Intelligence Authorization Act, which requires:
"(a) Not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, and every 6 months thereafter, the Director of Central Intelligence shall submit to Congress a report on
(1) the acquisition by foreign countries during the preceding 6 months of dual-use and other technology useful for the development or production of weapons of mass destruction (including nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, and biological weapons) and advanced conventional munitions; and
(2) trends in the acquisition of such technology by such countries."
At the DCI's request, the DCI Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation, and Arms Control Center (WINPAC) drafted this report and coordinated it throughout the Intelligence Community. As directed by Section 721, subsection (b) of the Act, it is unclassified. As such, the report does not present the details of the Intelligence Community's assessments of weapons of mass destruction and advanced conventional munitions programs that are available in other classified reports and briefings for the Congress.
Acquisition by Country:
As required by Section 721 of the FY 97 Intelligence Authorization Act, the following are summaries by country of acquisition activities (solicitations, negotiations, contracts, and deliveries) related to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and advanced conventional weapons (ACW) that occurred from 1 July through 31 December 2000. We excluded countries that already have substantial WMD programs, such as China and Russia, as well as countries that demonstrated little WMD acquisition activity of concern.
Iran remains one of the most active countries seeking to acquire WMD and ACW technology from abroad. In doing so, Tehran is attempting to develop a domestic capability to produce various types of weapons-chemical, biological, and nuclear-and their delivery systems. During the reporting period, the evidence indicates determined Iranian efforts to acquire WMD- and ACW-related equipment, materials, and technology focused primarily on entities in Russia, China, North Korea, and Western Europe.
Iran, a Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) States party, already has manufactured and stockpiled chemical weapons - including blister, blood, choking, and probably nerve agents, and the bombs and artillery shells for delivering them. During the second half of 2000, Tehran continued to seek production technology, training, expertise, equipment, and chemicals that could be used as precursor agents in its chemical warfare (CW) program from entities in Russia and China.
Tehran continued its efforts to seek considerable dual-use biotechnical materials, equipment, and expertise from abroad-primarily from entities in Russia and Western Europe-ostensibly for civilian uses. We judge that this equipment and know-how could be applied to Iran's biological warfare (BW) program. Iran probably began its offensive BW program during the Iran-Iraq war, and it may have some limited capability for BW deployment.
Iran sought nuclear-related equipment, material, and technical expertise from a variety of sources, especially in Russia. Work continues on the construction of a 1,000-megawatt nuclear power reactor at Bushehr that will be subject to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. In addition, Russian entities continued to interact with Iranian research centers on various activities. These projects will help Iran augment its nuclear technology infrastructure, which in turn would be useful in supporting nuclear weapons research and development. The expertise and technology gained, along with the commercial channels and contacts established-particularly through the Bushehr nuclear power plant project-could be used to advance Iran's nuclear weapons research and development program.
Beginning in January 1998, the Russian Government took a number of steps to increase its oversight of entities involved in dealings with Iran and other states of proliferation concern. In 1999, it pushed a new export control law through the Duma. Russian firms, however, faced economic pressures to circumvent these controls and did so in some cases. The Russian Government, moreover, failed to enforce its export controls in some cases regarding Iran. A component of the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy (MINATOM) contracted with Iran to provide equipment clearly intended for Atomic Vapor Laser Isotope Separation (AVLIS). The laser equipment was to have been delivered in late 2000 but continues to be held up as a result of US protests. AVLIS technology could provide Iran the means to produce weapons quantities of highly enriched uranium.
China pledged in October 1997 to halt cooperation on a uranium conversion facility (UCF) and not to engage in any new nuclear cooperation with Iran but said it would complete cooperation on two nuclear projects: a small research reactor and a zirconium production facility at Esfahan that Iran will use to produce cladding for reactor fuel. As a party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran is required to apply IAEA safeguards to nuclear fuel, but safeguards are not required for the zirconium plant or its products.
Iran has attempted to use its civilian energy program, which is quite modest in scope, to justify its efforts to establish domestically or otherwise acquire assorted nuclear fuel-cycle capabilities. But such capabilities can also support fissile material production for a weapons program, and we believe it is this objective that drives Iran's efforts to acquire relevant facilities. For example, Iran has sought to obtain turnkey facilities, such as the UCF, that ostensibly would be used to support fuel production for the Bushehr power plant. But the UCF could be used in any number of ways to support fissile material production needed for a nuclear weapon-specifically, production of uranium hexafluoride for use as a feedstock for uranium enrichment operations and production of uranium compounds suitable for use as fuel in a plutonium production reactor. In addition, we suspect that Tehran most likely is interested in acquiring foreign fissile material and technology for weapons development as part of its overall nuclear weapons program.
During the second half of 2000, entities in Russia, North Korea, and China continued to supply crucial ballistic missile-related equipment, technology, and expertise to Iran. Tehran is using assistance from foreign suppliers and entities to support current development and production programs and to achieve its goal of becoming self-sufficient in the production of ballistic missiles. Iran already is producing Scud short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) and is in the late stages of developing the Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM). Iran has built and publicly displayed prototypes for the Shahab-3 and has tested the Shahab-3 three times-July 1998, July 2000, and September 2000. In addition, Iran has publicly acknowledged the development of a Shahab-4, originally calling it a more capable ballistic missile than the Shahab-3 but later categorizing it as solely a space launch vehicle with no military applications. Iran's Defense Minister also has publicly mentioned plans for a "Shahab-5". Such statements, made against the backdrop of sustained cooperation with Russian, North Korean, and Chinese entities, strongly suggest that Tehran intends to develop a longer-range ballistic missile capability.
Iran continues to seek and acquire conventional weapons and production technologies primarily from Russia and China. Following Russia's public abrogation of the 1995 Gore-Chernomyrdin Agreement in November 2000, Iran has expressed interest in acquiring a variety of Russian air, naval and ground weapons. Russia has continued to deliver on contracts signed prior to the 1995 agreement. During the second half of 2000, Iran continued to negotiate for and receive Mi-171 helicopters form Russia. Naval acquisitions from a variety of countries continue. Tehran also has been able to keep operational at least part of its existing fleet of Western-origin aircraft and helicopters supplied before the 1979 Iranian Revolution and continues to develop limited capabilities to produce armor, artillery, tactical missiles, munitions, and aircraft with foreign assistance.
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Despite improvements in Russia's economy, the state-run defense and nuclear industries remain strapped for funds, even as Moscow looks to them for badly needed foreign exchange through exports. We remain very concerned about the proliferation implications of such sales in several areas. Monitoring Russian proliferation behavior, therefore, will remain a very high priority.
Russian entities during the reporting period continued to supply a variety of ballistic missile-related goods and technical know-how to countries such as Iran, India, China, and Libya. Iran's earlier success in gaining technology and materials from Russian entities has helped to accelerate Iranian development of the Shahab-3 MRBM, and continuing Russian assistance likely supports Iranian efforts to develop new missiles and increase Tehran's self-sufficiency in missile production.
Russia also remained a key supplier for civilian nuclear programs in Iran, primarily focused on the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant project. With respect to Iran's nuclear infrastructure, Russian assistance enhances Iran's ability to support a nuclear weapons development effort, even though the ostensible purpose of most of this assistance is for civilian applications. Despite Iran's NPT status, the United States is convinced Tehran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program. The Intelligence Community will be closely monitoring Tehran's nuclear cooperation with Moscow for any direct assistance in support of a nuclear weapons program.
President Putin in May 2000 amended the presidential decree on nuclear exports to allow the export in exceptional cases of nuclear materials, technology, and equipment to countries that do not have full-scope IAEA safeguards. The move could clear the way for expanding nuclear exports to certain countries that do not have full-scope safeguards, such as India.
During the second half of 2000, Russian entities remained a significant source of dual-use biotechnology, chemicals, production technology, and equipment for Iran. Russia's biological and chemical expertise makes it an attractive target for Iranians seeking technical information and training on BW and CW agent production processes.
Russia continues to be a major supplier of conventional arms. It is the primary source of ACW for China and India, it continues to supply ACW to Iran and Syria, and it has negotiated new contracts with Libya and North Korea.
Russia continues to be the main supplier of technology and equipment to India and China's naval nuclear propulsion programs. In addition, Russia has discussed leasing nuclear-powered attack submarines to India.
The Russian Government's commitment, willingness, and ability to curb proliferation-related transfers remain uncertain. The export control bureaucracy was reorganized again as part of President Putin's broader government reorganization in May 2000. The Federal Service for Currency and Export Controls (VEK) was abolished and its functions assumed by a new department in the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. VEK had been tasked with drafting the implementing decrees for Russia's July 1999 export control law; the status of these decrees is not known. Export enforcement continues to need improvement. In February 2000, Sergey Ivanov, then Secretary of Russia's Security Council, said that during 1998-99 the government had obtained convictions for unauthorized technology transfers in three cases. The Russian press has reported on cases where advanced equipment is simply described as something else in the export documentation and is exported. Enterprises sometimes falsely declare goods to avoid government taxes.
Throughout the second half of 2000, North Korea continued to export significant ballistic missile-related equipment, components, materials, and technical expertise to countries in the Middle East, South Asia, and North Africa. P'yongyang attaches a high priority to the development and sale of ballistic missiles, equipment, and related technology. Exports of ballistic missiles and related technology are one of the North's major sources of hard currency, which fuel continued missile development and production.
During this reporting period, Beijing continued to take a very narrow interpretation of its bilateral nonproliferation commitments with the United States. In the case of missile-related transfers, Beijing has on several occasions pledged not to sell Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) Category I systems but has not recognized the regime's key technology annex. China is not a member of the MTCR.
In November 2000, China committed not to assist, in any way, any country in the development of ballistic missiles that can be used to deliver nuclear weapons, and to enact at an early date a comprehensive missile-related export control system.
During the reporting period, Chinese entities provided Pakistan with missile-related technical assistance. Pakistan has been moving toward domestic serial production of solid-propellant SRBMs with Chinese help. Pakistan also needs continued Chinese assistance to support development of the two-stage Shaheen-II MRBM. In addition, firms in China have provided dual-use missile-related items, raw materials, and/or assistance to several other countries of proliferation concern-such as Iran, North Korea, and Libya.
In the nuclear area, China has made bilateral pledges to the United States that go beyond its 1992 NPT commitment not to assist any country in the acquisition or development of nuclear weapons. For example, in May 1996 Beijing pledged that it would not provide assistance to unsafeguarded nuclear facilities.
With respect to Pakistan, Chinese entities in the past provided extensive support to unsafeguarded as well as safeguarded nuclear facilities, which enhanced substantially Pakistan's nuclear weapons capability. We cannot rule out some continued contacts between Chinese entities and entities associated with Pakistan's nuclear weapons program subsequent to Beijing's 1996 pledge and during this reporting period.
In October 1997, China gave the United States assurances regarding its nuclear cooperation with Iran. China agreed to end cooperation with Iran on supply of a uranium conversion facility and undertake no new cooperation with Iran after completion of two existing projects-a zero-power reactor and a zirconium production plant. Although the Chinese appear to have lived up to these commitments, we are aware of some interactions between Chinese and Iranian entities that have raised questions about its "no new nuclear cooperation" pledge. According to the State Department, the Administration is seeking to address these questions with appropriate Chinese authorities.
Prior to the reporting period, Chinese firms had supplied dual-use CW-related production equipment and technology to Iran. The US sanctions imposed in May 1997 on seven Chinese entities for knowingly and materially contributing to Iran's CW program remain in effect. Evidence during the current reporting period shows Iran continues to seek such assistance from Chinese entities, but it is unclear to what extent these efforts have succeeded.
China is a primary supplier of advanced conventional weapons to Pakistan, Iran, and Sudan, among others. Sudan received military vehicles, naval equipment, guns, ammunition, and tanks from Chinese suppliers in the latter half of 2000.
As was the case in 1998 and 1999, entities in Western countries in 2000 were not as important as sources for WMD- and missile- related goods and materials as in past years. However, Iran and Libya continued to approach entities in Western Europe to provide needed acquisitions for their WMD and missile programs. Increasingly rigorous and effective export controls and cooperation among supplier countries have led the other foreign WMD and missile programs to look elsewhere for many controlled dual-use goods. Machine tools, spare parts for dual-use equipment, and widely available materials, scientific equipment, and specialty metals were the most common items sought. In addition, several Western countries announced their willingness to negotiate ACW sales to Libya.
As in previous reports, countries determined to maintain WMD and missile programs over the long term have been placing significant emphasis on increased self-sufficiency and attempts to insulate their programs against interdiction and disruption, as well as trying to reduce their dependence on imports by developing domestic production capabilities. Although these capabilities may not always be a good substitute for foreign imports-particularly for more advanced technologies-in many cases they may prove to be adequate. In addition, as their domestic capabilities grow, traditional recipients of WMD and missile technology could emerge as new suppliers of technology and expertise. Many of these countries-such as India, Iran and Pakistan-are not members of supplier groups such as the Nuclear Suppliers Group, Australia Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime and do not adhere to their export constraints. In addition, private companies, scientists, and engineers in Russia, China, and India may be increasing their involvement in WMD- and missile-related assistance, taking advantage of weak or unenforceable national export controls and the growing availability of technology.
Some countries of proliferation concern are continuing efforts to develop indigenous designs for advanced conventional weapons and expand production capabilities, although most of these programs usually rely heavily on foreign technical assistance. Many of these countries-unable to obtain newer or more advanced arms-are pursuing upgrade programs for existing inventories.