Committee on Science

F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., Chairman

Ralph M. Hall, Jr., Texas, Ranking Democrat

March 1, 2000

Press Contacts:

Jeff Lungren (

Meredith Wisor (

(202) 225-4275

Sensenbrenner Statement During House Debate on Iran Nonproliferation Act

House Unanimously Approves Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House by a 420-0 vote today passed H.R. 1883, the
Iran Nonproliferation Act. With the Senate last week approving this same
legislation by a 98-0 vote, H.R. 1883 will now be sent to President Clinton.
Both the House Science Committee and the full House of Representatives
unanimously approved an earlier version of H.R. 1883 in September, 1999.
House Science Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., (R-WI), an
original cosponsor of H.R. 1883, delivered the following statement during
today’s House debate.

“Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 and
urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this important measure. In 1993, the
Administration invited Russia to join the International Space Station
project. At the time, the White House made it clear to Congress that
Russian participation in the International Space Station was a key component
of the Administration’s efforts to encourage Russia to adhere to a variety
of nonproliferation norms and agreements. Many Members, myself included,
expressed concerns about transforming the Space Station into a foreign
policy program, but accepted the Administration’s argument that Russian
involvement was important to halting the spread of ballistic missiles and
weapons of mass destruction.

“Since then, we have seen repeated reports in the Western and Russian media
that a variety of Russian aerospace enterprises are assisting Iran’s efforts
to develop weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. The Central
Intelligence Agency’s “721 Report” of February 2, 2000 confirms these

“Russia’s aerospace enterprises are not private firms in the way that U.S.
companies are. In fact, most Russian aerospace enterprises are owned and
operated by the Russian government. In 1998 and 1999, the Russian
government clarified its control of its aerospace industry by putting many
of these Russian enterprises under the legal and economic jurisdiction of
the Russian Aviation and Space Agency.

“Having paid the Russians some $800 million between 1994 and 1998, the
Administration announced in late 1998 its intention to make additional
payments to the Russian Aviation and Space Agency. The Administration’s
reliance on Russia has put the American taxpayer in the unacceptable
position of possibly subsidizing the very Russian aerospace enterprises that
are helping Iran develop weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles.

“The Administration’s current policy creates an unhealthy situation for our
space program and our nonproliferation efforts. H.R. 1883 addresses these
concerns by requiring the President to make a determination about the extent
of Russian assistance to Iran before NASA can make additional payments to
the Russian Aviation and Space Agency. Moreover, the bill holds the Russian
government accountable by preventing payments to the Russian Aviation and
Space Agency if it*or any of the entities for which it is legally
responsible*are involved in inappropriate technical assistance to Iran.
Certainly, nobody in this body wants to see U.S. tax dollars inadvertently
subsidizing the proliferation of ballistic missiles. H.R. 1883 helps
prevent just such a prospect.

“While helping curb proliferation, the bill does not jeopardize the safety
of our astronauts aboard the International Space Station or delay the
delivery of Russian hardware that NASA claims it requires in order to reduce
U.S. dependence on Russia in the Space Station program. Both of these
issues are addressed in narrow and specific exceptions in the bill.

“Mr. Speaker, H.R. 1883 is a sound step to prevent the spread of ballistic
missiles and weapons of mass destruction. It passed the House by a vote of
419 to 0 and the Senate by a vote of 98 to 0. I am proud to have joined
Chairman Gilman, Ranking Minority Member Gejdenson, and Representative
Berman as an original co-sponsor and look forward to the day when the
President signs the legislation into law.”