Inside the Ring
By Bill Gertz
An Energy Department program in Russia designed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons is helping fund Iran's nuclear program, two members of Congress said.
Rep. John D. Dingell and Rep. Bart Stupak, both Michigan Democrats, wrote to Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman last week to express concerns about the U.S. funding of the Iranian nuclear program through a nonproliferation program with Russia.
The two lawmakers noted that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently identified the threat from Iran as a major U.S. challenge. "Given these dire warnings, it is troubling that DOE would subsidize or otherwise support Russian institutes providing technology and services to the Iranian nuclear program," they stated in the Feb. 6 letter.
Mr. Dingell is chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Mr. Stupak is chairman of its oversight subcommittee. They are investigating Energy's nonproliferation program. The letter asked Mr. Bodman to explain "why U.S. taxpayers should continue to subsidize Russian nuclear institutes that are working on Iran's nuclear program."
The Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration is funding more than 100 projects at Russian and other former Soviet institutes.
The congressmen said the documents from the Energy Department's Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention reveal that two Russian institutes "are involved in Iran's nuclear program" and that one received $2.65 million in U.S. funds.
"DOE's funding of Russian institutes working on the Bushehr reactor in Iran is questionable policy, because this activity enables the transfer of dual-use technologies, training and the potential for latent proliferation emerging from a civilian nuclear program," they stated.
1) Inside the Ring