• ACI Russia

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,"

he added.

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

meeting Kokoshin.

"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.

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