July 24, 2008 - Markey Reacts to Russia Nuclear Cooperation Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. -  Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), founder and co-chairman of the Bi-partisan Non-proliferation Task Force, released the following statement on H.R. 6574, the United States-Russian Federation Nuclear Cooperation Agreement Act of 2008, which passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee today. The bill would give conditional congressional approval to the U.S.-Russia nuclear agreement which the president sent to Congress in May.

"When the president submitted the U.S.-Russia Agreement for Nuclear Cooperation to the Congress in May, I was shocked that he would essentially ignore Russia's dangerous record of nuclear and missile assistance to Iran. That's why I introduced H.J.Res. 85 to stop the deal from moving forward. I believe strongly that the U.S. should not engage in nuclear cooperation with any country that is assisting the nuclear or missile programs of Iran.  It makes no sense for the Bush Administration to simultaneously seek to isolate Iran due to its dangerous nuclear weapons activities while, at the same time, propose nuclear cooperation with one of Iran's major missile suppliers.

"While the legislation passed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee today approves the U.S.-Russia agreement, it conditions this approval in important ways. While the agreement may go into effect, no licenses for nuclear export may be granted until the president makes a series of certifications that Russia has not transferred sensitive technologies to Iran. Additionally, he must certify that Russia has fully supported U.S. efforts to obtain additional sanctions against Iran for its ongoing nuclear program.

"Instead of giving the president a blank check for nuclear exports to Russia even if Moscow continues its terrible record of proliferation activity to Iran, this bill appropriately requires the president to certify that those activities have ended. 

"H.R. 6574 is not a perfect bill, but I support it because without it, the Russia Agreement will go into effect automatically and without any conditions whatsoever. I would prefer that Russia's continuing cooperation on Iran's large nuclear reactor at Bushehr be conditioned, in addition to other sensitive transfers. However, even with these reservations, I believe that H.R. 6574 is an excellent effort by Chairman Berman and Ranking Member Ros-Lehtinen to use the U.S.-Russia Nuclear Cooperation Agreement as an opportunity to improve our nonproliferation policies." 

July 24, 2008

CONTACT: Jessica Schafer, 202.225.2836