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Associated Press.

Congress Concerned Over Iraq, Iran Deals

August 22, 2002

Prominent lawmakers and activists appealed to the Supreme Court chairman Wednesday to A U.S. congressional delegation met with top Russian officials and lawmakers Wednesday to express concern over a proposed economic cooperation agreement between Russia and Iraq and Moscow's plan to build five nuclear reactors in Iran, the U.S. Embassy said.

Iraq and Iran are both part of what U.S. President George W. Bush has termed the "axis of evil" because of their efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction.

"Over the past year, U.S.-Russian relations have greatly improved, and it would be very regrettable to have recent developments chill an otherwise blossoming relationship between our two countries," said Henry Hyde, head of the delegation.

Hyde, a Republican from Illinois, emphasized that Iran's effort to acquire weapons of mass destruction could negatively impact the security of the United States, Russia and the international community.

Hyde also said that the United States expects Russia to continue to abide by United Nations sanctions against Iraq. Moscow has said its proposed long-term economic cooperation program with Baghdad -- which Iraqi officials say is worth $40 billion and could be signed next month -- would not violate sanctions.

Vladimir Lukin, deputy speaker of the State Duma, assured the U.S. delegation that Russia would continue to respect the sanctions, the embassy said.

Associated Press, August 22, 2002

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