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Cablegate: Iranian Chief Justice Visits Senegal

VZCZCXRO7283
PP RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDE RUEHGI RUEHJS RUEHKUK RUEHLH RUEHMA
RUEHPA RUEHPW RUEHROV
DE RUEHDK #1725/01 2341626
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 221626Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAKAR
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9039
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNISL/ISLAMIC COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DAKAR 001725

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR AF/W, AF/RSA, NEA/IR, ISN/MNSA, ISN/NESS AND INR/AA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KNNP KISL KGIC EIVN ENRG SG
SUBJECT: IRANIAN CHIEF JUSTICE VISITS SENEGAL

REF: Dakar 1655

SUMMARY
-------
1. (U) On July 28, President Wade met with Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi
Sharoudi, Chief of the Judiciary of Iran and Mohamed Reza Baghrei,
Special Envoy of President Ahmadinejad in Dakar. Before departing
Senegal on July 29, Sharoudi gave a press conference highlighting
Iranian cooperation with Senegal, including the creation of a new
organization, the International Union of Islamic Countries, which
Iran hopes to formally launch during the next Islamic Conference
(OIC) Summit, scheduled to take place in Dakar in March 2008.
Sharoudi promoted Iranian Sharia law. Iranian-Senegalese economic
cooperation was discussed with Iran reportedly offering training for
nuclear experts and the construction of a new petroleum refinery.
Also highlighted was cooperation in education and GOI support for
the current investment in an auto and truck assembly plant by
Iranian automaker Khodro. END SUMMARY.

MORE PROMISES
-------------
2. (U) During a July 28-29 visit to Dakar, Senior Iranian officials
Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Sharoudi, Chief of the Judiciary of Iran
and Mohamed Reza Baghrei, Special Envoy of President Ahmadinejad
presented the Iranian goal of creating a new organization, the
International Union of Islamic Countries, which Iran hopes to
formally launch during the next Islamic Conference (OIC) Summit,
scheduled to take place in Dakar in March 2008. Sharoudi noted this
union will allow Islamic countries to resist pressure from entities
such as the European Union, "harmonize differences" in positions
between Islamic countries, and "restore the great Islamic
civilization." Sharoudi also indicated Iran will hold an
international meeting within four months to further the project,
which he claims already has a Secretariat in place in Teheran and
the backing of forty countries. On judicial cooperation, Sharoudi
noted Iran has harmoniously integrated Sharia Islamic Law into its
legal system and could share Iran's experience with Senegal and
other Muslim countries.

3. (U) President Wade, in giving his account of the meetings
between his government and Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Sharoudi, Chief
of the Judiciary of Iran and Mohamed Reza Baghrei, Special Envoy of
President Ahmadinejad, directed his cabinet to prepare an
Iran-Senegal cooperation committee as soon as possible. According
to local press, Wade stated Iranian authorities made the commitment
to implement "all agreements signed with Senegal." Wade asserted
Iran will:

-- accelerate the construction of the Khodro car assembly plant near
Thies (historically a stronghold for opposition to Wade's ruling PDS
party);

-- construct a new petroleum refinery and a petrochemical plant in
Senegal;

-- host Senegalese experts to study Iran's agricultural system;

-- build vocational schools in Senegal;

-- assist Senegal in preparation for the upcoming OIC Summit,
scheduled for March 2008 in Dakar;

-- contribute USD 100 million to the IOC Solidarity Fund for the
reduction of poverty; and

-- in support of Wade's proposal to build a civilian nuclear power
plant in the Casamance, provide scholarships to Senegalese students
to specialize in nuclear physics.

4. (U) In June, Iran's Export Development Bank announced plans to
front USD 40.6 million to Senegal's national power company (Senelec)
for the construction of a power transmission line that will provide
electricity to more than 200,000 people in the cities of Tobene,
Touba, Tivaouane and Kaolack, as well as other upgrades to the
country's electrical grid.

COMMENT
-------
5. (SBU) President Wade's grand plan to build a nuclear power plant
is very much more likely dream than reality, although he could
believe it enough to follow-up on Iran's offer to provide some
degree of technical nuclear training to Senegalese citizens. [Note:
as reported in reftel, French President Sarkozy also paid lip
service to the possibility of assisting Senegal's "nuclear program."
End note.] Since Wade's election in 2000, several official visits
have been made by Iranian and Senegalese officials, including heads
of state. However, we have seen few indications of serious movement
on the numerous economic agreements signed. For instance, promises
to upgrade Senelec have not yet materialized. Over the past two

DAKAR 00001725 002 OF 002


years, Iran has certainly raised its profile as a potential
development partner for Senegal, but it's not yet clear if the
official visits and promises of cooperation will succeed in steering
Senegal towards Iran's international objectives.

SMITH

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