A Soviet lawmaker and anti-nuclear leader began a tour of the United States this week to urge Americans to demand an end of nuclear testing in the Nevada desert in a campaign similar to efforts to stop such tests in the Soviet Union.
In 1989, Olzhas Suleimenov, a member of the Soviet Congress of Peoples' Deputies, led a grass-roots effort in his native Kazakhstan to block testing at the Semipalatinsk site in the USSR.He said the Soviets had planned 18 tests at Semipalatinsk that year but were prevented from conducting 11 tests because of massive pressure from the Kazakhstan region and later a legislative ban.
Suleimenov is founder of the Nevada-Semipalatinsk anti-nuclear movement in the Soviet Union.
He told reporters through a translator the Soviet and American nuclear weapons testing facilities are "like Siamese twins - they are joined inseparably."
"If one is healthy, the other will try to remain healthy. If one is ill, the other too will become ill. We have decided to be the first one to get ill," Suleimenov said of his effort to stop Soviet testing at Semipalatinsk.
Suleimenov, in urging Americans to pressure for a test ban, said Iraq has indicated it will abide by a nuclear weapons research ban if world powers agree.
He said a comprehensive test ban will be the focus of an international conference in New York in January. The 118 signers of the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty, which ended above-ground testing, will debate the further ban.