Bush Urged to Delay Russia Nuclear Pact

WASHINGTON — Key U.S. lawmakers are urging President George W. Bush to delay a civilian nuclear-cooperation pact with Russia until concerns about Russia's nuclear ties to Iran are cleared up.

Letters from members of the House of Representatives and the Senate last week expressed widespread unease on Capitol Hill about links between Moscow and Iran. Washington believes that Tehran harbors ambitions to acquire a nuclear weapon.

"Prior to consideration of this agreement, Congress needs a detailed assessment of Russian assistance to all aspects of Iran's nuclear and missile programs," said a letter to Bush from the House.

In the Senate, a missive to Bush signed by 32 senators said Russia's "increasingly abrasive foreign policy" was one reason Bush should not send the civilian nuclear-cooperation deal to Congress for review.

Russia and the United States on Tuesday signed the pact allowing the world's two biggest atomic powers to boost their nuclear trade.