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Cablegate: Iran: Brother of Irgc's Safavi Says a U.S. Terror

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ZNY CCCCC ZZH
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 LONDON 003175

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/16/2017
TAGS: PTER KPRP PGOV PHUM PREL BA KU IR IS UK
SUBJECT: IRAN: BROTHER OF IRGC'S SAFAVI SAYS A U.S. TERROR
DESIGNATION OF IRGC WILL PRECLUDE IRAQ SECURITY COOPERATION

Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Maura Connelly for reasons
1.4 (B) and (D).

1. (C) Summary. xxxxxxxxxxxx Iran
Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) xxxxxxxxxxxx told London Iran Watcher
xxxxxxxxxxxx
that Iran's cooperation on security in Iraq, though not yet
evident, would be forthcoming, but in the same breath argued
that a U.S. terrorist designation of the IRGC would prevent
any such cooperation. xxxxxxxxxxxx for the USG to hold its
hand on designation came xxxxxxxxxxxx engaged with the invited group at length
on Tehran's view of U.S.-Iran relations, Iraqi security, and
the nuclear issue. xxxxxxxxxxxx candid remarks, which included
extremely vigorous exchanges with xxxxxxxxxxxx alternated between aggressive
characterizations of Iran's relations in the Persian Gulf,
admissions of the IRGC's presence and role in Iraq and
Afghanistan, and apparently earnest statements of Iran's
desire for cooperation with the United States. xxxxxxxxxxxx
appeared to pay close attention to xxxxxxxxxxxx message on need
for Iran's behavior in Iraq to match its stated support for
Iraqi stability and for Iran to weigh the benefits of the
E3 3 incentives package and "suspension for suspension" offer
which remains on the table. End Summary.

xxxxxxxxxxxx Private Plea on IRGC Designation
------------------------------------------
2. (C) xxxxxxxxxxxx made his private plea on not designating the
IRGC under U.S. law after a three-hour long larger group
discussion during which xxxxxxxxxxxx had stressed that attacks on
U.S. forces in Iraq by militias using Iranian-provided
ordnance had actually increased from May to July, despite
Iran's claim to support Iraqi stability. xxxxxxxxxxxx stated that
the USG would soon see (he was vague on how soon) evidence of
Iranian security cooperation in the form of diminished
attacks, taking the July discussions in Baghdad -- as opposed
to those held in May -- as the point at which the IRGC had
decided it could go forward with such cooperation. xxxxxxxxxxxx
described how IRGC orders to "our allies" are "in the
pipeline," but it takes time for such orders to be
disseminated throughout Iraqi militia networks and acted upon
("it is a very large machine, with delayed effect").

3. (C) By way of illustration of this delayed implementation
phenomenon, xxxxxxxxxxxx said there had been an unintended attack
"by our (Shiite Iraqi) allies" on UK forces immediately after
the release of the UK naval hostages last April. xxxxxxxxxxxx said
the IRGC had indeed issued an order for attacks on UK forces,
in response to what he called an earlier UK attack on the
Iranian consulate in Basra, but that Iranian expression of
unhappiness had been satisfied with the hostage episode, and
that IRGC authorities were consequently exasperated by the
militia attack occuring shortly after the hostage resolution.
xxxxxxxxxxxx said their Iraqi "allies" explained the incident as
the result of a standing "general order" to launch such
attacks, which had not yet been rescinded. xxxxxxxxxxxx indicated
that similar organizational snafus lie behind the current
continuing attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq.

4. (C) xxxxxxxxxxxx went on to argue, however, that a USG
designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization would
effectively end all interest, or political ability, of the
IRGC to cooperate with the USG on Iraqi or Afghan security.
He stressed that, unlike "a few years ago, under Khatami,"

London 00003175 002 of 003


the IRGC plays a central and preeminent role in the Iranian
government and that, if the IRGC is designated as a terrorist
organization, the USG will have no Iranian partner with which
to engage on security or other issues of mutual concern.
xxxxxxxxxxxx said it makes no difference to Iran whether the
proposed IRGC designation is done under U.S. domestic law or
international authority -- all sanctions, financial measures
and designations are seen by Iranian authorities and the
public as authored by America, with international partners
such as the E3 plus 3 and the UN as mere cutouts for U.S.
initiatives. The practical effects of such measures are
unimportant to the Iranian Government, but the symbolic and
psychological consequences do matter.

Group Discussion Highlights
---------------------------
5. (C) The evening's larger group discussion had several
highlights:

-- A (surprising) degree of self-professed confusion by
xxxxxxxxxxxx at the what he called the "multiple and conflicting
signals" on Iran policy from various parts of the USG
including the Congress;

-- An open acknowledgment by xxxxxxxxxxxx that the IRGC is present
and operating in both Afghanistan and Iraq (with U.S.
occupation and Sunni attacks on Shias given as a
justification);

-- xxxxxxxxxxxx description of Shiite militias in Iraq as "our
allies, whom we created against Saddam;"

-- Fiery statements by xxxxxxxxxxxx on U.S. injustices perpetrated
over the years against Iran, on Iran's resolve and
capabilities to launch military and asymmetric responses, and
on how Iran should replace or join with the United States as
the Gulf region's "co-manager," all of which provoked
vehement rejoinders from xxxxxxxxxxxx;

-- xxxxxxxxxxxx reflections on a more mature Iran's
no-longer-revolutionary approach to its foreign relations;

-- xxxxxxxxxxxx repeated return to the theme of desiring a
constructive and cooperative relationship with the U.S.,
first on Afghanistan and Iraq and secondly on the nuclear
issue;

-- xxxxxxxxxxxx near-gloating remarks on Hezbollah's 2006
conflict with Israel; and

-- xxxxxxxxxxxx description of the United States as having become
Iran's "hostage" in Iraq ("you cannot stay and you cannot
leave ... your forces there and in the region are our
target").

Comment
-------
6. (C) Although impeccably turned out, outwardly genial, and
speaking with confidence and an evident sense of authority,
xxxxxxxxxxxx appeared to be under significant stress and at great
pains to listen carefully and closely to all interlocutors,
and especially to xxxxxxxxxxxx (standard) comments on the E3 plus
3 offer, as well as the need for Iranian behavior change in
Iraq. xxxxxxxxxxxx apparently genuine desire to engage and move
towards cooperation was coupled to his equally apparent sense
that Iran is entitled to use violent means against us until

London 00003175 003 of 003


such time as there a change in the USG's "regional behavior."


Biographical Background
------------------------
7. xxxxxxxxxxxx

Visit London's Classified Website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/london/index. cfm
tuttle

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