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Cablegate: Iranian Dcm: U.S. Can't Handle the Truth

VZCZCXYZ0011
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLP #0435 0582319
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 272319Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6596
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 7642
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 5006
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 8916
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 6131
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 3346
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 3563
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 5282
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 5975
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 0597
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUMIAAA/USCINCSO MIAMI FL
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA 0951
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

UNCLAS LA PAZ 000435

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON PINR IR BL
SUBJECT: IRANIAN DCM: U.S. CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH

REF: A. LA PAZ 373
B. 2007 LA PAZ 2510
C. 2007 LA PAZ 2526
D. 2007 LA PAZ 2456

1. (U) Charge d'Affaires Hojjatollah Soltani arrived in
Bolivia February 25 to open the Iranian Embassy. The
building is nearly ready and staff will move in next week.
Soltani discussed plans to establish a television station in
the Chapare region with the Bolivian media. Although the
station will be called "Radio and Television of Iran,"
Soltani insisted it would be a Bolivian channel "for the
Bolivian people," and would serve to counter the
misinformation of U.S.-controlled media. Soltani said the
amount of Iranian assistance for the station would depend on
whether the station will transmit nationally, regionally,
intercontinentally, or globally -- a decision to be made by
the Bolivian government.

It Begins: Iranian DCM Blasts U.S. Commitment to "Truth"
--------------------------------------------- -----------

2. (U) Soltani said he did not understand why the project had
"generated fear" in the United States, likely a reference to
concerns expressed by Representative Jerry Weller
(R-Illinois) following a February 19 visit between Bolivian
President Evo Morales and Codel Engel (reftel a). AFP
mentioned the Codel's concerns in its coverage of Soltani's
remarks. Soltani noted he found the concerns confusing
because of the United States "talks all over the world about
liberty of expression, thought, and liberty to exchange
information. ... The United States fears that through these
transmissions the public will receive the truth about the
world; they do not want people to search for truth."

3. (SBU) Soltani's public statements play into the GOB's
portrayal of relations with Iran as a counter to U.S.
influence in the country. The GOB announced formal
diplomatic relations with Iran on September 11, 2007. During
a much-publicized September 27 trip by Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran signed $1.1 billion in cooperation
agreements. Other proposals for Bolivian-Iranian cooperation
include a petrochemical factory and milk processing plants.
The Bolivian opposition is skeptical about the viability of
these plans and about Iran's motives, including the suspicion
that Iran has designs on Bolivian uranium.
GOLDBERG

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