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Cablegate: Media Reaction; Iran Sets Free 15 Hostages; the Kirchner

VZCZCXYZ0004
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #0640/01 0951501
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 051501Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7741
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
RULGPUA/USCOMSOLANT

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 000640

SIPDIS

STATE FOR INR/R/MR, I/GWHA, WHA, WHA/PDA, WHA/BSC,
WHA/EPSC
CDR USSOCOM FOR J-2 IAD/LAMA

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OPRC KMDR PREL MEDIA REACTION
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION; IRAN SETS FREE 15 HOSTAGES; THE KIRCHNER
ADMINISTRATION; 04/05/07

1. SUMMARY STATEMENT

Today's international leading stories are Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad's decision to set free the 15 British Marines; and the
US academics' opinion of the Kirchner administration and Argentina's
economic recovery.

2. OPINION PIECES

- "An End With No Winners"

Graciela Iglesias, daily-of-record "La Nacion's" London-based
correspondent, penned (04/05) "There was neither popular trial nor
exchange of prisoners nor a spectacular rescue operation...
Furthermore, no one expected a sudden 'pardon' and much less the
exuberant release of the 15 Royal Navy members ordered by Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"Ahmadinejad deserves a round of applause just for having taken
everyone by surprise. However, thinking that he is the big winner at
the end of this unusual spat would be erroneous. In the framework of
the complex relationship between Iran and the West, there are no
absolute winners or losers.

"There is no doubt that Ahmadinejad's 'magnanimous' gesture was a
propaganda ploy ... He did it to give the world a lesson on the
tyranny of 'imperialism,' the lack of justice in UN sanctions and
'the degeneration of the Western morale'...

"His decision was aimed at contrast with the US attitude in refusing
to release five members of the Republican Guard who were captured in
Iraq last January...

"However, when one analyzes the situation beyond rhetoric it is
clear that the Tehran government leaves this crisis empty-handed.

"Iranian prisoners are still imprisoned and sanctions against Iran
for refusing to suspend its nuclear program are still in force. Even
more important, the crisis unveiled the deep internal disagreement
in the formerly hermetic Iranian regime...

"... Nevertheless, the crisis also unveiled several points of
military weakness in the British Navy... and (political weakness) in
the UK position on an international level.

"UK PM Tony Blair's tacit threat of force did not go down well in
the UN, to which London had to resort for its support, which was
much less conclusive than expected...

"The 'doves' in the PM's entourage interpreted all that happened as
a sign that Iran reacts adequately to diplomatic pressures.
According to 'hawks' both in Washington and London..., 'the world
has now become a more dangerous place' because the 'British
weakness' will encourage Iran to continue with its 'tactic of taking
hostages in order to obtain results.'"

- "Power and Capabilities"

Marcelo Cantelmi, international editor of leading "Clarin," comments
(04/05) "When Henry Kissinger did not hint, as he finally did, the
need for a contact between Washington and Tehran to find a solution
to the crisis in Iraq, a thought- provoking idea occurred to him
about Iran. According to him, in order to obtain some progress, they
had to persuade Iran to stop being a cause and become a nation.

"It is a complex reflection. A cause is almost a dogma, while a
nation entails a pile of responsibilities and prospects as well.

"This transformation seems to be occurring in light of the way the
crisis was solved.

"Due to the Western shortfalls in the Middle East and the (Persian)
Gulf, Iran is today much more powerful than five years ago. And that
evolution is crucial.

"Historian Hans Morgenthau pointed out that a nation always defines
its interests in terms of power. In other words, capabilities define
intentions and never the other way round. Iran, and not only Iran,
seems to be adapting to that certainty."

- "Argentina, According to US Analysts"

Hugo Alconada Mon, Washington-based correspondent for
daily-of-record "La Nacion," writes (04/05) "The anti-Bush rally led
by Bolivarian Hugo Chavez in Buenos Aires last March 9 triggered one
additional effect in the US - Argentina re-emerged in the analysis
of academics and journalists whose field of expertise is Latin

America...

"Mark Falcoff, a veteran international academic from the American
Enterprise Institute (a conservative think tank...), made the latest
analysis.

"Under the title "Argentina on Kirchner's Time," his view includes
praise, criticism and also serious doubts about the country's
political and economic future based on domestic reasons, regardless
of what Chavez could do or refrain from doing, or the 'tense
relationship with Washington.'

"According to Falcoff, Kirchner and Chavez have a 'curious
relationship,' in which the debate is 'who is using whom'...

"... According to the editorials and stories published in recent
weeks by 'The New York Times,' 'The Wall Street Journal,' 'The
Washington Post' and other newspapers, Chavez's petrodollars
purchase influence in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua,
among other countries. However, Falcoff and 'The Financial Times'
are more cautious. Falcoff says that while the Argentine Government
reaps benefit from the Venezuelan's dollars and few questions, 'it
would be mistaken to think of Argentina as falling under something
like a Venezuelan sphere of influence.'

"One of the experts in Latin America from the Council on Foreign
Relations, Julia Sweig, agrees with Falcoff. 'Kirchner had nothing
to lose by having Chavez in Buenos Aires and doing that'... 'There
is nothing like targeting George W. Bush to strengthen nationalism
and exploit disagreement in the hemisphere.'

"... Nevertheless, the AEI analyst emphasized the country's
'significant economic recovery' of recent years and its relevance in
the region and as a Mercosur partner. 'Even so, recovery is not
complete and some indicators (such as low foreign investment, price
controls, inflation rate, and political interference in the National
Statistical Institute) give reason for concern.'"

To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our
classified website at:
http://www.state.sqov.gov/p/wha/buenosaires

WAYNE

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