105th Congress Report
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
1st Session 105-304
URGING THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH TO TAKE ACTION REGARDING THE ACQUISITION BY
IRAN OF C-802 CRUISE MISSILES
October 6, 1997.--Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be
Mr. Gilman, from the Committee on International Relations, submitted
R E P O R T
[To accompany H. Res. 188]
The Committee on International Relations, to whom was
referred the resolution (H. Res. 188) urging the executive
branch to take action regarding the acquisition by Iran of C-
802 cruise missiles, having considered the same, report
favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the
resolution be agreed to.
background and purpose
H. Res. 188, urging the executive branch to take action
regarding the acquisition by Iran of C-802 cruise missiles,
calls upon the Clinton Administration to take firm action
against those responsible for providing dangerous C-802 cruise
missiles to Iran. These transfers are a threat to our national
security and place the safety and security of American
servicemen and women stationed in the Persian Gulf theater of
operations at risk. The acquisition of these sea-skimming,
nearly-supersonic C-802 cruise missiles by Iran is a
destabilizing development and constitutes a clear threat to
peace in the region.
In addition, this transfer violates the provisions of the
Iran-Iraq Arms Non-Proliferation Act of 1992 (Gore-McCain Act)
and therefore requires the President to levy sanctions against
the provider of the cruise missiles--China. These transfers are
continuing, with the situation exacerbated by the recent advent
of the delivery of the C-801K air launched cruise missile.
Despite the threats by Iran against U.S. forces, and to close
the Gulf, to date, regrettably, the Administration has done
This resolution calls upon the executive branch to enforce
the law (50 U.S.C. 1701 note) with respect to the acquisition
by Iran of these cruise missiles, and to take appropriate
action against China for providing these weapons.
We should all remember the tragic and deadly attack against
the naval escort vessel U.S.S. Stark that occurred in the
Persian Gulf in May, 1987. A single cruise missile slammed into
the frigate and killed 37 American sailors.
Today, 15,000 members of the United States Armed Forces are
stationed in the Persian Gulf area, carrying out a variety of
important foreign policy objectives: enforcing economic
sanctions against Iraq; protecting U.S. and European aircraft
that are patrolling the no-fly zone over southern Iraq; and,
maintaining open sea lanes through the Gulf. We owe it to our
troops to minimize, to the extent possible, the threat they
face as they conduct these important national security
missions. Prohibiting rogue regimes such as Iran from acquiring
advanced conventional weapons must be a high foreign policy
objective for the United States.
In 1996, the China National Precision Machinery Import-
Export Corporation, a state-run enterprise, delivered 60 C-802
model cruise missiles to Iran. These missiles are mounted on
patrol boats for use by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Navy.
The China National Precision Machinery Import-Export
Corporation markets the C-802 in its sales brochure as a
missile with ``mighty attack capability'' and ``great
firepower'' for use against escort vessels such as the U.S.S.
Stark. This is the same company that supplied missile
technology to Pakistan, a transaction that led the United
States Government to impose economic sanctions for violating
U.S. law and international non-proliferation guidelines.
In addition, China reportedly is supplying Iran with a
land-based version of the C-802 cruise missile. Iran has been
constructing several sites along its coastlines to accommodate
Transporter-Erector-Launchers (TELs), from which the Iranian
Revolutionary Guard can fire these cruise missiles at targets
in both the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. The C-802 model
cruise missile provides the Iranian military a weapon with
greater range, accuracy, reliability, and mobility than it
previously possessed and shifts the balance of power in the
In November 1996, Iran conducted land, sea and air war
games in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman and successfully
test-fired a C-802 anti-ship cruise missile from one of its
patrol boats. Admiral Scott Redd, the former commander-in-chief
of the United States FifthFleet stationed in the Gulf, said
that the C-802 missiles give Iran a ``360-degree threat which can come
at you from basically anywhere.'' Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
Robert Einhorn told the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee on April
11, 1997, that the C-802 cruise missiles ``pose new, direct threats to
deployed United States forces.''
The Iran-Iraq Arms Non-Proliferation Act of 1992--Title XVI
of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year
1993--establishes United States policy to oppose any transfer
to Iran of destabilizing numbers and types of advanced
conventional weapons, including cruise missiles. The law
requires the President to apply sanctions to ``those nations
and persons who assist [Iran] in acquiring weapons.''
We know that China is responsible for the transfer of these
cruise missiles to Iran. The President must impose the
sanctions that are stipulated in the law. The failure of the
President to take any action has led to the continuance of
transfers, including new variations of cruise missiles which
increases the threat to deployed U.S. forces.
To the Committee's dismay, the Administration has concluded
that the known transfers of C-802 cruise missiles from China to
Iran are not a destabilizing number and type and, therefore,
require no enforcement of sanctions against China. Instead,
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told a Senate
Appropriations subcommittee in May, 1997 that the
Administration has ``deep concerns'' about the acquisition of
cruise missiles by Iran and will continue to review this
development. This is unacceptable. While reasonable people can
disagree over what constitutes ``destabilizing,'' there can be
no argument that Iran has been engaged in a worrisome expansion
of its conventional military capability, especially its navy.
Iran has threatened to use its military power to close the
Straits of Hormuz, disrupt international shipping, and
challenge American forces active in the Gulf. The Tehran
government views the United States military as an unwelcome
presence in the region. Our ships have had several close
encounters with the Iranian navy in the past year. Fortunately,
these confrontations have remained small and contained.
As Elaine Sciolino points out in her April 20, 1997,
article in ``The New York Times,'' the potential for real
conflict between the United States and Iran is significant,
``when two enemy navies with vastly different military missions
and governments that do not talk to each other are crowded into
such a small, highly strategic body of water.'' The acquisition
by Iran of advanced cruise missiles, like the C-802 model, must
be considered a serious threat to stability, given the
explosive situation that already exists. Iran's intent seems
clear: to challenge the United States for predominance in the
Thus the number of C-802 cruise missiles that Iran acquires
becomes academic when considering application of the provisions
of the Iran-Iraq Arms Non-Proliferation Act. Our men and women
in uniform in the Persian Gulf now face a greater risk with at
least sixty lethal cruise missiles targeted at them. The
sailors aboard the U.S.S. Stark can remind us of the
irreparable harm that one cruise missile can perform, let alone
sixty or more.
Other considerations aside, the law requires the
Administration to impose sanctions on China for its role in
providing these weapons to Iran. Our inaction only provides the
tacit approval that allows the Chinese to continue to provide a
potential adversary with the means to harm our brave young men
and women serving their country far from home in the Persian
Gulf. It is time for the United States Government to deliver a
crystal clear response that these transfers are irresponsible
and inimical to U.S. interests and U.S.-Sino relations.
H. Res. 188 was introduced July 17, 1997. It was then
referred to the International Relations Committee for
consideration. The introduction of this bill culminated several
months of work on the subject of how to respond to the
proliferation of destabilizing advanced conventional weapons by
the government by the People's Republic of China to Iran in
ways that addressed specific problems and target individual
proliferators. While this measure was pending, Members and
staff received briefings from, and conducted discussions with,
the Office of Naval Intelligence, the Defense Intelligence
Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Director of
Central Intelligence's Nonproliferation Center, and the State
On September 26, 1997, the International Relations
Committee considered the measure, ordering it reported to the
House by voice vote without amendment, a quorum being present.
comittee oversight findings
In compliance with clause 2(l)(3)(A) of rule XI of the
Rules of the House of Representatives, the Committee findings
and recommendations of the Committee, based on oversight
activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the
House of Representatives, are incorporated in the descriptive
portions of this report.
committee on Government reform and oversight findings
No findings or recommendations of the Committee on
Government Reform and Oversight were received as referred to in
clause 2(l)(3)(D) of rule XI of the Rules of the House of
new budget authority and tax expenditures
The Committee adopts the cost estimate of the Congressional
Budget Office, set out below, as its submission of any required
information on new budget authority, new spending authority,
new credit authority, or an increase or decrease in the
national debt required by clause 2(l)(3)(B) of rule XI of the
Rules of the House of Representatives.
federal Mandates Statement
The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of Federal
mandates prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget
Office pursuant to section 423 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform
advisory committee statement
No advisory committees within the meaning of section 5(b)
of the Federal Advisory Committee Act were created by this
applicability to the legislative branch
The Committee finds that the legislation does not relate to
the terms and conditions of employment or access to public
services or accommodations within the meaning of section
102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act.
Contains whereas clauses setting forth the facts and
circumstances that give rise to concern about the acquisition
by Iran of C-802 cruise missile from China. Among these facts
and circumstances are that the China National Precision
Machinery Import-Export Corporation delivered 60 C-802 cruise
missiles to Iran; that 15,000 members of the United States
Armed Forces are stationed within range of the C-802 missiles
acquired by Iran; and that the Executive branch has concluded
at present that the missiles known to have been delivered to
Iran are not of a ``destabilizing number and type.''
First paragraph after the resolving clause
The House of Representatives finds that the delivery of
cruise missiles to Iran is of a destabilizing number and type
and therefore is a violation of the Iran-Iraq Arms Non-
Proliferation Act of 1992.
Second paragraph after the resolving clause
The House of Representatives urges the Executive branch to
enforce the Iran-Iraq Arms Non-Proliferation Act of 1992 with
respect to the acquisition by Iran of C-802 cruise missiles.
h. res. 188
This resolution finds that the delivery of Chinese cruise
missiles to Iran is a violation of the Iran-Iraq Arms Non-
Proliferation Act of 1992 and urges the executive branch to
enforce the law by imposing new sanctions against China, as
called for in that law.
This resolution is badly flawed both substantively and
procedurally. Substantively, the Committee's action on this
resolution presumes to make a judgment on a serious and complex
non-proliferation matter--whether or not transfers of Chinese-
made C-802 cruise missiles to Iran are ``destabilizing''
according to the Iran-Iraq Arms Non-Proliferation Act of 1992
and therefore subject to sanction--based on a series of news
articles and one short briefing from one intelligence official.
First, a determination of whether Chinese transfers of
cruise missiles to Iran constitutes a violation of U.S. law is
a question of great complexity, and sensitivity, requiring the
input of both military experts and regional specialists in the
Executive branch, as well as the judgments of our top policy
officials, but no such views were requested or received. It is
almost beyond belief that the Congress would render a judgment
of this significance without even consulting those in the
Executive branch most responsible for making this judgment.
Second, the relevant law, the Iraq-Iran Arms Non-
Proliferation Act of 1992, gives the President, not the
Congress, the authority to make such a determination. For the
Congress to assume this authority now, as this resolution does,
represents an attempt to infringe on powers the Congress gave
to the Executive branch. If Congress wants to impose sanctions
on China, the proper course is to send a bill to the President
for his signature or veto.
Third, the Committee has had no discussion and made no
assessment about the impact of a determination of violation of
law on U.S. interests. Would it advance U.S. non-proliferation
interests in the Gulf region if such a determination were made?
No evidence was provided to demonstrate the positive benefit of
such a determination.
Procedurally, the process followed by the Committee in
marking up this resolution was most unfortunate.
First, the process did not reflect the way a responsible
committee should operate. Members and staff were not given
adequate notice to study this resolution, even though it deals
with serious issues that could have a major adverse impact on
the upcoming summit meeting with the Chinese President. The
usual requirement of one week's notice for a mark up was
reduced to barely more than 24 hours. No unusual or emergency
circumstances exist that warranted waiving the customary one-
week rule. No committee hearings have been held on this
resolution, nor were any senior Administration officials
permitted to testify on the policy implications of this
resolution prior to the mark up.
Second, this resolution is badly timed. It does not enhance
the ability of the President to advance U.S. non-proliferation
goals at the upcoming U.S.-Chinese summit, the first official
U.S.-China summit in over eight years. It is counterproductive
for the Committee--on the basis of hasty deliberation and
inadequate consultation with the Executive branch--to condemn
Chinese actions and criticize Administration policy, since this
approach is unlikely to persuade the Chinese that the Congress
is serious about its commitment to nonproliferation. Adoption
of this resolution will make the President's job more difficult
as he attempts to persuade the Chinese to halt the transfer to
Iran of dangerous weapons. The Congress should be working with
the President to help make the summit successful, not passing
bills to put obstacles in his way, and to create the impression
that the Congress is moving in one direction and the President
the other in China policy.
Finally, the cumulative impact of five resolutions on China
marked up and voted out of Committee as a package--plus others
that are circulating and may come to the Floor simultaneously
with these five--is likely to be harmful to U.S. foreign policy
interests. Congress of course has every right to express its
views on these important issues. Nonetheless, when this many
resolutions each with a strongly anti-Chinese tilt suddenly
come forward simultaneously, and only weeks before a summit
meeting, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that
considerations other than foreign policy are also at work here.
The Chinese-American relationship will not advance if it
becomes a game board for the purpose of scoring points of
perceived domestic political advantage.
Lee H. Hamilton.
Gary L. Ackerman.