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Cablegate: Iran Scores Points in Debate: "Nuclear Iran: War

VZCZCXRO6566
RR RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHKUK
DE RUEHRB #1818/01 3401749
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 061749Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY RABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7854
INFO RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 0230
RUEHVI/AMEMBASSY VIENNA 0137
RUEHCL/AMCONSUL CASABLANCA 3728
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 RABAT 001818

SIPDIS

C O R R E C T E D C O P Y (ADDED ADDRESSEE)

SIPDIS

VIENNA FOR UNVIE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PARM PREL PP MNUC IAEA AORC IR MO
SUBJECT: IRAN SCORES POINTS IN DEBATE: "NUCLEAR IRAN: WAR
AND PEACE"

RABAT 00001818 001.4 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary: Some Iranian arguments resonated with
students at a debate, "Nuclear Iran: War and Peace," held on
November 23 at a graduate school in Rabat. Iran,s
Ambassador argued for Iran,s right to nuclear technologies,
including uranium enrichment, citing sovereign right,
peaceful intent, and economic necessity. Mark Fitzpatrick, a
"think-tanker" and former DAS, warned of the hazards of an
enrichment-capable Iran, raising Iran,s lack of
transparency, military intent, and the exorbitant cost of the
program. The mainly student Moroccan audience displayed a
slightly pro-Iranian tilt. Questions focused on the double
standard issue: that the U.S. and the IAEA hold Iran to a
higher standard of scrutiny for its nuclear activities than
they do for Israel. End summary.

--------------------------
Iran Nuclear Debate
--------------------------

2. (SBU) On November 23, Poloff attended a public debate
entitled "Nuclear Iran: War and Peace" held at the Institute
for Graduate Studies in Management (HEM) in Rabat that warned
of the hazards of an enrichment-capable Iran. Professor
Mohamed Reza-Djalili of the Graduate School of International
Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, provided an overview of
Iran,s geo-strategic position as context for the debate,
while Professor Benmessaoud Abdelmoughit from Mohammed V
University (in Rabat) moderated.

--------------------------
Iran,s Case for Nuclear Capabilities
--------------------------

3. (SBU) Iranian Ambassador Ahmadi,s presentation rested on
several arguments, including Iran,s sovereign right to
develop nuclear technologies (including uranium enrichment),
its peaceful intent, transparency, and its need for nuclear
energy. Ahmadi said that Iran had no place for nuclear arms
in its military doctrine and had always supported
international initiatives to make the Middle East a nuclear
weapon free zone. He said that Iran had signed the NPT
Additional Protocol; thus opening itself to unhindered UN
inspections (to include 26 military facilities); turned over
1000 pages of nuclear-program related documents to the UN;
agreed to additional UN provisions concerning plutonium; and
cooperated fully with the IAEA, selectively quoting from the
latest IAEA report.

4. (SBU) Ahmadi said that Iran would one day exhaust its
petroleum resources and needed a long-term, environmentally
sound energy source, adding that it needed the independent
ability to enrich uranium because of a history of foreign
interference. Specifically, he complained that Western
powers like the U.S. and Germany once supported Iran,s
nuclear development until the Iranian Revolution in 1979.
When this support ended, Ahmadi recalled, companies such as
Siemens confiscated millions of dollars worth of
Iranian-purchased nuclear-related equipment.

5. (SBU) Ahmadi said that sanctions would only reinforce
Iran,s determination to develop a completely self-sufficient
nuclear program. He complained that the U.S. and Israel were
in the process of distorting international public opinion
against Iran and accused these powers of exerting blatant
interference within the IAEA, which portrayed Iran in a
distorted light. Ahmadi also called Israel a nuclear threat
to the world and in contrast to Israel,s nuclear program,
Iran,s has always been under IAEA supervision.

--------------------------
Con-Iran Argument
--------------------------

6. (SBU) Senior Fellow at the International Institute for
Strategic Studies in London Mark Fitzgerald (a former DAS)
prefaced his remarks by saying he did not represent the U.S.
government. Fitzpatrick said that the current impasse with
Iran might be solved diplomatically but that he feared that
war between the U.S. and Iran was possible. He said that he
believes that Iran is seeking nuclear technology, not for
energy, but for military use. Fitzpatrick underscored that
the issue at hand is not about denying Iran access to nuclear
energy but about concern about Iran enriching uranium on its
own. He said that that the Bush Administration has
repeatedly expressed its desire to solve the impasse
peacefully, but after five years of negotiations, Iran
continues to remain uncooperative. Underscoring this point,

RABAT 00001818 002.4 OF 002


Fitzpatrick said that the Bush administration changed policy
in 2005, accepting Iran,s right to pursue nuclear energy,
and worked with the P5 1 to offer Iran a package of credible
incentives in June 2006 to curb enrichment, but to no avail.

7. (SBU) Fitzpatrick then listed Iran,s 18-year track
record of non-proliferation treaty violations, underscored in
a 2003 IAEA announcement and subsequent referral to the UN
Security Council. He pointed out Iranian unwillingness to
answer numerous questions pertaining to its nuclear program
such as the Iranian military,s involvement in its nuclear
program, evidence of plutonium 210 experiments, Iranian black
market nuclear activities, and a decreasing knowledge of
Iran,s nuclear activities had eroded international
confidence in Iran,s assertion that its program was strictly
for peaceful purposes. In response to the sovereign right
argument, Fitzpatrick said that sovereign rights can be
denied, if there are international concerns about a
country,s negative intntions, or postponed until such time
as internatonal confidence is restored in a nation,s
behavir.

--------------------------
False Economic rgument
--------------------------

8. (SBU) itzpatrick called Iran,s economic justifications
or enrichment capacity illogical, underscoring the
exorbitant costs of the infrastructure and Iran, massive
petroleum reserves. He pointed out thenumerous sources of
enriched uranium throughout he world, which neutralize any
Iranian-targeted embargo.

--------------------------
Cascading Effect
-------------------------

9. (SBU) In response to a question fro the crowd which
posited Iran,s right to nucleararms as a counter-balance to
Israel,s nuclear caability, Fitzpatrick asserted that two
wrongs do,t make a right. He argued that other countriesin the region such as
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turky will
likely develop their own nuclear weapons apability if they
know Iran had one.

10. (SB) Our gauge of applause from the mainly Moroccanstudent crowd indicated a slightly pro-Iranian til. Several
questions from te crowd focused on the alleged double
standard issue: the notion that the U.S. and the IAEA hold
Iran to a higher standard of scrutiny for its nuclear
activities than they do for Israel. Whenever the discussion
focused solely on Iranian compliance with the IAEA,
Fitzpatrick appeared to score points with the crowd.
However, it was apparent that the pro-Iran argument received
the most support from the crowd when the discussion shifted
to Israel.

11. (SBU) Comment: The organizer of the debate shared with
us his skeptism about Iran's arguements. This debate, which
was covered in the local press, was likely seen by the
Iranians as a way to advance their public relations efforts
in Morocco, an IAEA Board of Governors member. While they
may have had some sympathy from the crowd, we believe that
the discussion did not win Iran much new popular support.
End comment.


*****************************************
Visit Embassy Rabat's Classified Website;
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/rabat
*****************************************

Riley

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