Mideast Report

JERUSALEM (JPS) — U.S. and Israeli experts agree that Iran, with massive aid from Russian advisers and companies, is approaching completion of the development of the engine for the Shihab 3 missile, Israeli sources said.

According to Israeli and U.S. representatives, Teheran's program is reaching a critical stage, and Iran and Russia could complete the missile's engine in the near future and develop a prototype missile by the end of 1999.

This assessment came out of U.S. envoy Robert Gallucci's meeting Tuesday with Israeli leaders to coordinate efforts to halt Russia's aid to Iran's medium-range ballistic missile program.

Israeli sources said that once Iran completes development of the engine, the missile project is assured of eventual success. They said the engine has been the most difficult stage of the Shihab 3, and after its completion, the Iranians could finish the project themselves.

The Shihab 3 is meant to have a range of 800 miles and a payload of 1,540 pounds.

Surrogacy committee suspends its activities

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli committee on surrogacy has suspended its activities.

The decision by the commission, which reviews requests for surrogate mothers, was made after the first woman to serve as a surrogate in Israel described severe emotional suffering after the birth.

The woman gave birth to twins two months ago. Under the agreement reached with the parents, the woman did not see the babies, but heard their cries when they were born.