of consistency with which both governments approach cooperation on nuclear nonproliferation has undermined programmatic efforts that build mutual confidence in the area of arms reduction. As a specific example, some Russian participants noted that changes in the work strategy of every new U.S. administration, and the subsequent reshuffling of the U.S. program management, is problematic for cooperative programs.
The following subsections more specifically address higher-level political issues that were part of the workshop.
The Russian background paper suggested that an ultimate objective of the international nuclear nonproliferation regime is to prevent nuclear weapons from spreading in the world. Therefore, according to the paper, the bilateral U.S.-Russian cooperative programs on nuclear nonproliferation, and impediments to them, should be considered in terms of this international context, i.e., how they affect and reduce the proliferation risk. Bilateral programs with such objectives meet the interests of both sides, and are therefore least subject to changing political goals of current administrations. Insulation from these shifting political goals is a necessary, but not sufficient, prerequisite for program success.
Although such insulation would clearly bring some benefits to cooperative nonproliferation programs, the realities of cooperation are sometimes different. Provisions of both overarching legislation and individual appropriations bills in the United States sometimes link cooperative programs to requirements for action by Russia. Some American participants suggested that, while such legal provisions are sometimes regrettable, these linkages are generally unavoidable within the U.S. political system. For example, in the case of destruction of chemical weapons under the CTR program, funding could only be provided if the president of the United States certified Russia’s compliance with chemical and biological arms control accords. The requirement for annual recertification was modified in 2002, allowing waivers of the requirement at the president’s discretion until 2006, except for demilitarization of the Schuch’ye site, which continues to need annual recertification. In 2002, before the U.S. Congress granted the president the authority to waive recertification, funding was held up for several months.
A whole array of restrictions, including funding restrictions, applies to U.S. interactions with parties that are believed to be assisting Iran in any of several ways. The Iran-Libya Sanctions Act of 1996, and several executive orders imposing these restrictions, which are part of a broader U.S. policy regarding Iran, are examples of U.S. actions that pressure Russia to freeze its collaboration with Iran in the area of nuclear energy. According to the Russian background paper, the U.S. intelligence community assesses that Iran is seeking to develop and acquire nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and the means to deliver them, and that Iran hopes to exploit access to the Russian nuclear establishment to promote the Iranian weapons program.
Russia considers the United States’ concerns unjustified, stating that under the economic, scientific and engineering cooperation program whereby Russia assists Iran in completing and starting up the nuclear power plant in Bushehr, both Russia and Iran fulfill their international nuclear nonproliferation obligations. The Russian government views cooperation with Iran as an