The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 2709, the "Iran Missile Proliferation
Sanctions Act of 1997." The Administration is committed to fighting terrorism
and taking steps to halt the transfer of missile technology to rogue nations.
U.S. leadership is critical to the required international effort to attack this
problem. H.R. 2709 would not improve our ability to halt the transfer of
missile technology to Iran. On the contrary, H.R. 2709 would weaken the U.S.
ability to persuade the international community to halt such transfers to
Iran. Because the bill's broad scope, retroactivity, and indiscriminate
sanctions would undermine U.S. nonproliferation goals and objectives, the
Secretary of State and the National Security Advisor would recommend that the
President veto the bill, if it is presented to him in its current form.
Current law provides an adequate basis for the United States to impose
sanctions on foreign entities that further Iranian ballistic missile
capabilities. The standard of evidence, sanctions, and reporting requirements
of H.R. 2709 are broad and vague and would be counterproductive to convincing
foreign governments to control missile-related trade with Iran. For example,
the standard of evidence is too low and could result in the imposition of an
unknown number of erroneous sanctions on individuals or business entities.
Imposition of erroneous sanctions could not only harm U.S. political and
economic relationships with other nations, but could dissuade foreign
governments or persons from cooperating with the United States to prevent the
transfer of missile technology to Iran.
The Administration would strongly oppose any attempts to combine H.R. 2709 with
S. 610, the "Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act of 1997". Until S.
610 is enacted into law, the United States will be unable to implement fully
its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and U.S. nonproliferation
leadership will be questioned. S. 610 was adopted by voice vote in the Senate
in late May following intensive negotiations between the Senate and the
Administration. S. 610 has strong bipartisan support from members on both
sides of the aisle. If S. 610 is attached to
H.R. 2709, however, the Secretary of State and the National Security Advisor
would have no choice other than to recommend that the President veto the