Sen. Thomas F. Eagleton (D-Mo.) and Rep. Gerry E. Studds (D-Mass.) will introduce separate motions in Congress next week to block the proposed sale of seven sophisticated Amerian airborne radar systems to Iran. Congressional sources said yesterday.
The Carter administration yesterday formally notified Congress it has offered to sell the controversial radar systems to Ian for about $1.2 billion. Congress was secretly informed of the administraion plan last month.
Both the Senate and the House must vote within 30 days in order to block the sale of the Airborne Waring and Control System (AWACS) to Iran.
The AWACS is a modified Boeing 707 jet topped by a circular housing containing elaborate radar and data processing equipment built by Westinghouse. The system can function defensively, to give early warning in case of an air attack, or offensively, to coordinate attack fighters.
Opponents of AWACS contend it violates Carter's own arms sales policy, announced in May, and that it necessitates placing American technicians in Iran who could become involved in a mid-East war. They also say the high classified system could fall into the hands of the Soviet Union, which has a 1,200-mile common border with Iran.
Supporters of the proposed sale say the AWACS is one of the least deadly of the weapons systems Iran is interested in, and that Iran's uneven terrain and varying ari temperatures make a ground radar systen prohibitively expensive.
The export version of the system, sources said, does not contain the secret facilities in the Air Force model that are most easily adapted to oftensive warfare. While Iranian officials had no comment on the different versions of the AWACS, some Congressional source, said the Shah is likely to be upset with the version of the AWACS he would receive.
Pentagon sources, however, said no change in the system contemplated for delivery to Iran has been made since negotiation began during the Ford Administration.