The Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 (INA) was enacted to help stop foreign transfers to Iran of weapons of mass destruction, missile technology, and advanced conventional weapons technology, particularly from Russia. Section 6 of the INA bans U.S. payments to Russia in connection with the International Space Station (ISS) unless the U.S. President determines that Russia is taking steps to prevent such proliferation. The ISS is currently under construction in orbit. According to current plans, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will become dependent on Russia for certain ISS crew-related services beginning in April 2006 for which NASA must pay. Thus, the INA could significantly affect U.S. utilization of ISS. This report outlines the history of INA, its effect on Russian and Iranian proliferation, its impact on the ISS program, and options for resolving associated issues.
The Iran Nonproliferation Act (P.L. 106-178), as originally enacted, prohibited the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) from purchasing Russian goods and services for the U.S.-led International Space Station (ISS) unless the President certified that Russia was not proliferating certain technologies to Iran. On July 12, 2005, the Bush Administration submitted to Congress an amendment to allow NASA to purchase goods and services from Russia to support the ISS. That presented a classic policy dilemma. Without access to Russian spacecraft, the U.S. use of the ISS could be extremely limited. Yet Russian entities were continuing proliferation activities relating to missile proliferation according to the Department of State. This report explains the Bush Administration proposal and resulting congressional action.