08/09/1998 10:42:19 Israel calls on Russia to stop Iran missile help
JERUSALEM, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu urged Russia's security chief on Sunday to help stop
the transfer of arms technology to Iran.
"We are going to discuss ways that Israel and Russia can
cooperate, do something about the problem of missiles in the
Persian Gulf," Netanyahu said at the start of a meeting with
Russia's Security Council Secretary Andrei Kokoshin.
"This is a very big problem we think for the stability of
the region and for the security of all states including Israel
and Russia and we intend to discuss this...in a productive way,"
Last month U.S. President Bill Clinton imposed sanctions on
seven Russian enterprises that Washington believes helped Iran
develop its missile programme.
The United States and Israel have pressured Moscow to
withhold the sale of rockets, nuclear technology and technical
assistance to Tehran.
"No doubt that in the last months the Russians made a number
of steps -- legislative, administrative and practical," Industry
and Trade Minister Natan Sharansky told a news conference after
"Nevertheless we will be satisfied not by the steps which
are taken but by the results in the field...(which) are
alarming...We believe that in a year if the assistance
from...the companies of Russia and all the other countries will
not stop, Iran can have its own missile," Sharansky said.
Last month Iran test-fired a missile with a range of 1,300
km (800 miles). The Shehab-3 could strike Israel, Saudi Arabia,
and portions of Russia, as well as Turkey.
Asked about the contribution of Russian companies to the
Shehab-3 missile, a senior Israel official said: "They do not
reject outright that in the missile there is no (Russian)
know-how or technology."
The official said Netanyahu's meeting with Kokoshin was
scheduled in advance of Clinton's trip to Moscow next month.
Clinton is expected to discuss the issue of Russian assistance
to Iran's missile programme with President Boris Yeltsin.
Kokoshin said Russia was doing everything in its power to
limit arms deals between Russian companies and Iran.
"Russian policy concerning Iran and other countries is to
prevent the proliferation of these dangerous technologies," he
told reporters in Jerusalem.
Kokoshin dismissed accusations that Russia was not taking
the necessary steps to stop the arms trade, saying that nuclear
proliferation in Russia's neighbouring countries posed a threat
to Russia's national security.