WASHINGTON -- The Clinton administration has expressed concern to the Japanese government over a $360 million loan to help Iran build an electric-generating plant, according to administration officials.
The resumption of Japanese aid to Iran comes as the United States is increasing pressure on its allies to isolate Iran because of its funding and arming of terrorists and efforts to develop nuclear weapons.
Japanese officials have told the administration that the Japanese government views the financial assistance as a means of moderating the behavior of the Iranians.
The episode illustrates the difficulty the administration confronts in trying to block Western assistance to Iran without the force of the U.N. sanctions in place against Iraq.
"We have made isolating Iran a high priority," said an administration official. "It's a process of jawboning. But it is serious, high-level jawboning."
The official declined to say if President Clinton will raise the issue when he meets with Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa at a gathering of the seven leading economic powers in Tokyo July 7.
CIA officials have expressed concern in recent briefings about Iran's efforts to develop nuclear weapons and possibly to acquire them on the open market, according to people who attended the briefings.
U.S. authorities are also concerned about Iran's purchase of conventional weapons, such as submarines and missile technology.