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Cablegate: Media Reaction: South and Central Asia: Iran's Nuclear

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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSO #0157 0581340
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 271340Z FEB 07
FM AMCONSUL SAO PAULO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6482
INFO RHEHNSC/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 7586
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO PRIORITY 7842
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC 2723

UNCLAS SAO PAULO 000157

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STATE INR/R/MR; IIP/R/MR; WHA/PD

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USDOC 4322/MAC/OLAC/JAFEE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR OPRC OIIP ETRD BR
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA: IRAN'S NUCLEAR
PROGRAM; WESTERN HEMISPHERE: PRESIDENT BUSH'S UPCOMING VISIT TO
LATAM NATIONS; SAO PAULO


1. "How To Negotiate With Tehran's Astuteness"

Center-right national circulation daily O Estado de S. Paulo's Paris
correspondent commented (2/27): "The UN Security Council members'
meeting in London to discuss a new resolution against Tehran's
tricks is affected by two uncertainties: the Europeans' fear that
the US's tougher posture in regards to Iran's nuclear plans may lead
to the bombing of Tehran's nuclear installations. The second
uncertainty: Iran has opted for absolute intransigency (Mahmud
Ahmadinejad's position) or for accommodation.... Ahmadinejad has
reaffirmed that his nuclear program is 'irreversible.' The London
meeting should quickly reach an agreement and determine much tougher
sanctions against a nation that cynically defies international laws.
But, as frequently happens, Tehran has sent calming signs....
Information coming from Iran has obscured somewhat the ideas that
Western diplomats have about that nation. According to witnesses and
journalists, the Iranian society is agitated and far from supporting
Ahmadinejad's positions.... In such a 'shadow theater,' where
everything is dissimulation and appearance, how can one know what
the truth is? This is a problem being faced by the London meeting:
how to negotiate with someone who changes their mask every minute?"

2. "The Rhetoric of 'Ethanol OPEC'"

Center-right O Estado de S. Paulo (2/27) editorialized: "Brazilians
tend to overestimate the range of international relations events
that involve Brazil. President Bush's upcoming visit to Sao Paulo
next week seems to be one such event from which one may expect with
irrational optimism unusual benefits for the national interest. In
order to prevent future disappointment, it would be better to
moderate expectations about the purposes and results of Bush's quick
visit. Experience suggests a cautious analysis of the evaluations
carried out by interested sectors according to which the reason for
the presidential visit is to create a biofuel partnership with
Brazil, or an 'ethanol OPEC'.... This is not the primary reason for
Bush's visit to Sao Paulo. His trip, not limited to Brazil, is above
all an attempt to repair Washington's negligent, and often rough,
treatment given to Latin America.... Bush yielded his Latin American
policy to some of the most intractable hawks of the Republican
administration.... With Condoleezza Rice in the State Department,
the US attitude before its continental neighbors has once again
become friendly - and more intelligent in its priority to halt
Chavez's influence. In the case of Brazil, ethanol is a very
opportune way to foster such a good neighbor policy, which has been
reinforced by the surprisingly friendly personal understanding
between Bush and Lula. But this is not enough to make one believe
that the rhetoric of the ethanol OPEC will make the US effectively
open its market to the Brazilian product.... The US independence
from oil that Bush has mentioned is a 'political myth,' former Saudi
Ambassador in Washington Turki a-Faisal said. It is still not
possible to disagree with him."

3. "Saint Ethanol"

Political columnist Eliane Cantanhede opined in liberal, largest
national circulation daily Folha de S. Paulo (2/27): "Without the US
wealth and political power, and without Chavez's petrodollars and
expansionist frenzy, Brazil has just discovered powder, i.e.
ethanol. This is the weapon the Lula administration is using to come
closer to the US and to reinforce its presence among South American
neighbors. The US fears being dependent on Middle Eastern oil, which
suffers from chronic and acute crises, as well as on the product it
imports from the formerly docile Venezuela. Therefore, there is an
enormous interest by the Bush administration, the business and
academic sectors and the US society in general for alternative
fuels.... On top of alternative sources, ethanol has become not only
a good economic, but perhaps mainly political, promise. Let us say
that ethanol represents for Brazil what oil represents for Chavez,
considering the due proportions. In practice, Uruguay wants to
partner with the US, which wants to partner with Brazil, which wants
to partner with Uruguay. A link for the chain may be ethanol, which
will be the focus of Lula and Bush's agenda in Sao Paulo on March 9,
as it was in the Brazilian president's conversations with Tabar
Vzquez yesterday in Uruguay. Vzquez, who threatened to sign a
bilateral agreement with the US, wants more attention from Mercosul
and Brazil not to do so. One of the advantages it will obtain may be
the construction of an ethanol plant - with Brazilian technology and
financing, of course."
McMullen

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