July 31, 1998
The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 3743, which would require the
United States to withhold the portion of the U.S. contribution to the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) used to fund IAEA activities in
Iran. H.R. 3743 would harm U.S. efforts to halt the Iranian nuclear
weapons program and would be counterproductive to Administration efforts to
stop nuclear projects that might assist a covert Iranian nuclear weapons
program. In addition, H.R. 3743 includes a directed vote provision
directing how the U.S. representative to the IAEA should vote on certain
matters. This provision raises concerns regarding the President's
constitutional authority to conduct foreign affairs.
The IAEA monitors commercial nuclear projects to help ensure that these projects do not assist a covert nuclear weapons program. The IAEA's technical cooperation program is designed to ensure that no assistance is provided to potentially sensitive areas. The program does not provide support for construction of nuclear power plants.
H.R. 3743 will not end the Bushehr nuclear reactor project in Iran, but it could affect adversely an important nonproliferation monitoring mechanism.