WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), the founder and co-chair of the House Bipartisan Task Force on Nonproliferation, and Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), founder and co-chair of the House Nuclear Security Caucus, last week introduced a joint resolution of disapproval of the proposed civilian nuclear cooperation agreement between the United States and Russia. The joint resolution (H.J. Res. 85) expresses the disfavor of the Congress regarding the agreement, which is pursuant to the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, Section 123 that allows the President to negotiate and implement civilian nuclear cooperation programs with other countries.
This 123 agreement was originally submitted to Congress by President Bush in 2008, at which time it was opposed by Rep. Markey on the grounds of Russia's dangerous record of nuclear and missile assistance to Iran. The proposed agreement was withdrawn by the Bush Administration in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008. On May 10th, the Obama Administration re-submitted the Russia 123 agreement to the Congress.
“Sadly, the reasons for opposition to this agreement have not changed in two years. Russia continues to train Iranian nuclear physicists, supply sensitive nuclear technology to Iran, and give secret instruction on Russian soil to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on the use of the advanced S-300 interceptor-missile systems” said Markey.
“Not only does Russia persist with this toxic relationship, but it is actively courting new ones. The same week that this 123 agreement was released, Russian President Medvedev met with both Syrian President Assad to discuss nuclear cooperation, and the exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshal,” said Markey. “My question is this: Does Russia want cooperation with the United States, or with Iran and Syria? Because it can’t have both.”
Said Rep. Fortenberry; “Russia cannot have it both ways. Russia needs to decide who it will be; a nation that stops the spread of nuclear weapons capabilities or accommodates it. Any nuclear agreement with Russia, particularly given its willingness to collaborate with the nuclear activities of Iran and Syria, deserves the closest scrutiny and examination. Congress must assert itself” said Fortenberry.
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