Congressman Brad Sherman, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism and Nonproliferation, issued the following statement today concerning the Obama Administration's decision to resubmit the Section 1-2-3 nuclear cooperation agreement with Russia to Congress for its consideration.
"I believe it was a mistake to send the U.S.-Russia nuclear cooperation agreement to Congress at this time. Submitting this agreement is not part of a well designed strategy focused on Iran's nuclear program. We should withhold this agreement until we know the Russian government will back the U.S. in applying truly crippling sanctions against Iran. I fear that what is being discussed in New York is nowhere near strong enough, and Moscow has consistently worked to weaken successive resolutions.
"Russia's ongoing nuclear relationship with Iran also needs critical examination. The Government Accountability Office was highly critical of the nonproliferation assessment that President Bush sent up with this agreement in 2008. At a minimum, we need to be assured that no Russian assistance is being provided to the most sensitive aspects of Iran's nuclear development. We also need to be assured that the assistance Russia is providing at Bushehr is truly limited to information strictly necessary for that reactor.
"I consider myself one of the strongest supporters in Congress of a "reset" and improved relations with Russia. I strongly support the START agreement. I support modifying U.S. positions on the complex range of issues important to Russia in the Caucasus and other regions of the former Soviet Union. But I cannot support nuclear cooperation with a country that too often has put its relationship with Tehran's nuclear renegades above relations with Washington."