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Lawmakers seek Iran disclosure

BY: Barbara Slavin
October 4, 1999,

WASHINGTON -- A congressional committee has asked for "full disclosure" of U.S. contacts with Iran, expressing concern that Congress is being kept in the dark about overtures toward a strategic country and longtime adversary.

Rep. Benjamin Gilman, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Committee on International Relations, sent a letter late Friday to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. USA TODAY obtained a copy Sunday.

Gilman referred to administration confirmation last week that a senior National Security Council official passed a letter in August to an Omani intermediary in Paris.

According to the White House, the letter, from President Clinton to Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, asked for help in solving the 1996 bombing of a U.S. military barracks in Saudi Arabia, which killed 19 U.S. airmen. Gilman asked the secretary of State for a briefing "on the status of this investigation and the extent to which Iran is cooperating."

Intelligence reports suggest that Iran may be harboring three Saudi suspects, but Iran has denied any involvement.

Gilman also asked about unconfirmed reports of other U.S. contacts with Iranian representatives in Europe.

If the reports are true, such talks could be seen as a concession on the part of Iran, which has publicly rebuffed U.S. calls for a dialogue.


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