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HVK Archives: US Congress hearing on Iran-Pak nuclear connection

US Congress hearing on Iran-Pak nuclear connection - The Times of India

Times of India News Service ()
June 13, 1998

Title: US Congress hearing on Iran-Pak nuclear connection
Author: Times of India News Service
Publication: The Times of India
Date: June 13, 1998

A group of prominent Congressmen have sought from
representative Benjamin Gilman, the influential chairman of the
House International Relations Committee, to urgently hold an
oversight hearing to delve into reports that Iran is "aggressively
seeking to develop nuclear weapons" with blueprints obtained
>from Pakistani officials.

Congressional sources told this newspaper that in their joint
letter to Mr Gilman, five Congressmen wrote citing press reports
in the Washington Post about previous Pakistan-Iranian nuclear
cooperation and the recent visit of Iranian foreign minister
Kamal Kharazzi to Islamabad in the wake of Pakistan's nuclear
tests when the spectre of an "Islamic bomb" was once again

The joint effort is led by Congressmen Gary Ackerman (a
Democrat from New York) who has been a staunch supporter of
India. Others associated with the effort include Tom Lantos
(Democrat from California), Jon D. Fox (a Republican from
Pennsylvania), Robert Wexler (Democrat from Florida) and
Kevin Brady (a Republican from Texas). The Congressmen
wrote that while he was in Islamabad, the Iranian foreign minister
had "congratulated Pakistan for its nuclear tests saying 'from all
over the world Muslims are happy about Pakistan's
achievement.' Mr Kharazzi then claimed that Pakistan's nuclear
weapons programme would help counter Israel's presumed
nuclear weapons programme."

The Congressmen pointed out in their letter to chairman Gilman
that for more than 25 years he had been a leader in advocating
a Middle East policy which promotes peace in the region while
making certain that Israel's security is not endangered. They
wrote: "Reports of Pakistani involvement in and assistance
towards Iran's nuclear weapons programme, if true, are deeply
disturbing and would require an immediate reassessment of
South-Asia policies."

The group of Congressmen have also vigorously pursued this
with another "Dear Colleague" letter addressed to others in the
house in which they have candidly raised their concerns about
a possible Pakistan-Iran nuclear cooperation. The first article in
question from which both letters have quoted refers to a 1995
piece penned by Jim Hoagland which talked about Tehran
acquiring blueprints for nuclear programmes from Pakistani

The Post's columnist later had also stated that former state
department spokesman, Nicholas Burns, had initially denied
any knowledge of such a report but later admitted that the
guidance given to him by the state department's South Asia
bureau was erroneous.

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