1996 Congressional Hearings
Intelligence and Security

Iran/Bosnia Arms
House International Relations Committee
30 May 1996

This hearing will come to order. Visitors please take their seats. In the interests of time, with the cooperation of our members, I plan to recognize only the minority ranking -- ranking minority member, Mr. (Lee) Hamilton, for an opening statement, in addition to my own.

This is the committee's second in a series of hearings on United States policy towards Bosnia. The administration has stated in reports as recent as April 30th that Iran is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, with a particular animus towards Americans overseas.

The purpose of our hearing today is to provide the Congress and the American people with the fullest possible understanding of how and why the administration permitted Iran to establish a pipeline of arms to Bosnia in early 1994. The administration took this position without informing the Congress, the American people or our allies. The administration's action circumvented an international arms embargo that it was pledged to uphold. It also enabled Iran to establish a substantial beachhead in the Balkans.

Hopefully our hearing today will lay some groundwork for the select subcommittee that has been established to review this matter and chaired by Congressman Henry Hyde. While the select committee will focus on the Iranian arms shipments, our full committee will continue its oversight responsibilities regarding overall U.S. policy in Bosnia and implementation of the Dayton peace plan. Of particular concern are the elections that are scheduled to take place in September which require certain prior steps and undertakings by the parties. We plan to hold a hearing early next month on this matter and have invited Deputy Secretary of State Talbott to testify.

It is our intention to day to conduct this as an open hearing to the fullest extent possible. However, at some point the committee may be compelled to go into a closed session because of national security considerations raised by the witnesses. To facilitate that, I will entertain a motion when a quorum is present that provides for the committee to go into closed session at the determination of the chairman after consultation with the ranking minority member or his designee.

Before turning to our witnesses, I am going to ask our ranking minority Mr. Hamilton if he has an opening statement. Mr. Hamilton.