Secret Pact

October 24, 2000

A developing story out of Russia does not bode well for Vice-President Gore. According to various news accounts, Mr. Gore emerged from his 1995 meetings with Viktor Chernomyrdin to declare that Russia would cease its deliveries of conventional arms to Iran with a few years' time.

They were encouraging words at the time. Russian arms sales to Iran were repeatedly topping the list of proliferation concerns of intelligence officers in the U.S. and Israel. If Russia was serious, then this was very good news.

An editorial in the Wall Street Journal put it best. "As we now know, Russia wasn't serious at all, nor was Al Gore. What Mr. Gore did not reveal at the press conference, nor subsequently to Congress, was that in exchange for Russia's agreement to cease weapons sales by 2000, Russia had been given a free pass to sell conventional weapons to Iran until then."

"We say free because the weapons allowed would likely have triggered sanctions under U.S. law, specifically the 1992 Iran-Iraq Arms Nonproliferation Act, co-sponsored by then Senator Al Gore and Arizona Republican John McCain."

It turns out that Congress was not informed of these actions. Russia was in violation of the 1992 law before Mr. Gore's pact, and was no doubt also in violation afterward. This included three advanced submarines, MiG-29 fighter jets, SU-24 fighter bombers, strategic bombers, jet trainers and anti-ballistic missile systems.

In the midst of the revelations, there has been a shrug of the shoulders from the Gore campaign, and the Clinton administration still refuses to let Congress see the agreement. Since the issue wasn't raised in the third and last presidential debate, it seems certain that it will not become a campaign issue. But it is an issue Congress must pursue if arms proliferation is to halt.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.