Cablegate: Recent French Mfa Public Statements On Iran/Iaea

DE RUEHFR #0360/01 0601803
O 291803Z FEB 08




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. (A) STATE 19694
B. (B) STATE 19200

1. (SBU) We passed non-paper texts in reftels February 28
and 29 to the relevant French MFA officials in the Strategic
Affairs and Middle East/North Africa directorates. Although
the MFA has not offered any comments on the non-papers, we
would note in the interim that the French have been very
active in terms of their recent public statements on the Iran
nuclear issue via the daily MFA press briefing. Paras 2 and
3 contains official translations of the MFA's most recent
statements on the issue as posted to the MFA's website.

2. (U) Text of statement of 25 February 2008:

France thanks the director-general of the IAEA and his teams
for this new report which attests to the Agency,s efforts to
shed light on Iran,s past and present nuclear activities.

The report shows that Iran, under pressure from the
international community, has provided new information in
response to questions from the IAEA. But major uncertainties
remain, in particular on activities that "could have a
military nuclear dimension, which the Agency rightly terms a
matter of serious concern."

The Agency sets out these activities in detail, some of which
it considers could be part of "research and development
activities for nuclear weapons." It consequently emphasizes
in its report that it is not in a position to determine the
true nature of Iran's nuclear program.

Other complementary information given by Iran raises new
questions. The Agency was able to visit new sites where "new
generation" centrifuges are being tested; this means an
accelerated program of centrifugation whereas these
considerable efforts to develop these highly sensitive
technologies have no rationale in civilian use.

As the IAEA director-general recalls, it is essential for
Iran to comply with all the demands of the international
community expressed by the IAEA Board of Governors and UN
Security Council, and to restore confidence in the
exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program; the
Agency is not in a position to attest to it today.

This requires Iran to give clear, complete and precise
answers to questions about its past and present nuclear
activities and to give the IAEA the means to verify its
answers by the implementation of the Additional Protocol and
the other measures of transparency demanded by the Agency.
It also implies suspending its enrichment, heavy water and
reprocessing related activities as demanded by the IAEA Board
of Governors and Security Council.

Our preference is for dialogue and negotiations to resolve
the Iranian nuclear problem. We therefore call again on Iran
to comply with its international obligations and to permit at
last, through the suspension of its sensitive activities,
negotiations to start which we earnestly desire.

(U) Text of exchange between journalists and the French MFA
spokesperson on Iran/Nuclear issue, 26 February 2008:

Q - In the wake of the report which is being interpreted
differently by the major countries and by Iran, the British
are now talking about new elements that suggest Iran
continued its program to develop its nuclear military
potential well after 2003. Did you get information of this
nature from the British?
It,s Mr. ElBaradei,s report and that,s the report the
British are referring to.

This new report indicates that Iran is pursing the enrichment
activities which, may I remind you, the Security Council has
asked it to suspend. All in all, once again the Agency notes
that the absence of answers from Iran on militarization does
not answer all the questions we,re asking. The working plan
isn,t closed. We remain concerned at the accelerated
Iranian program of centrifugation and the new elements
concerning the militarization of the Iran program only add to
our concern.

So, the IAEA report does not re-establish the confidence
which is indispensable between Iran and the rest of the
international community.

Until Iran complies with its international obligations, we
will continue our policy which combines, as you know,

PARIS 00000360 002 OF 003

dialogue and firmness.

Q - The draft resolution is still due to be voted on
We do have a draft resolution. I don,t know whether it will
be this Thursday, but the talks are continuing in the
Security Council. We hope we,ll manage to move to a vote on
a resolution as quickly as possible.


The IAEA secretariat yesterday essentially presented the
"alleged studies" on the weaponization of the Iranian program
which Iran has refused to answer.

These "alleged studies" tally with the various information
the IAEA has, its own observations, intelligence about the
acquisition of specific sensitive goods by Iran and
information from third countries.

As I told you, the elements presented at this meeting in
Vienna continue to be a source of deep concern, and the
British diplomat you referred to a moment ago was alluding to

Q - Do you agree with the Iranians who are talking in all the
capitals, in Paris and other places, claiming they answered
the six outstanding questions as the IAEA demands? (...)

What Iran says isn,t new. For our part, we stand by what
the Agency has said. Mr. ElBaradei and the Agency have done
what we asked them to. They,ve asked the Iranians questions
in accordance with what the IAEA Board of Governors and UN
Security Council requested.

So far, we have not obtained all the complete, clear,
specific answers we expect.

This is what the IAEA tells us in the last report which has
been made public, and as I,ve said, we are still not
satisfied. Confidence hasn,t been restored, and we,re
continuing to work on a new sanctions resolution at the UN.

Q - The Iranians have asked for more time to respond to the
documents which came from the Americans, which they say were
shown at the last minute by Mr. ElBaradei. Do you think
these American documents are credible? Did you base yourself
on these documents to formulate your position and what are
the difficulties at this point in getting an agreement among
the E3 3?

With regard to your first question, I,ve no knowledge of
what you,re referring to. As I,ve told you before, what
matters to us are facts, and the facts are those ascertained
by the Agency. It has explained itself.

As for your other question, the discussions are in New York.
We don,t make public what goes on between the members of the
Security Council. We hope that an agreement is reached and
at that point naturally we,ll brief you on the result.

Q - The Iranian president threatened France with reprisals
yesterday. Any comment?

I,ve not heard of such statements from the Iranian
president. We still hope that we,ll have dialogue with the
Iranians and that confidence will be re-established through
this dialogue.

The sole purpose of our work, the work of the international
community, on sanctions is to re-establish dialogue. It is in
the interest of all, the Iranians and the international
community as a whole.

Q - What was the basis of your decision for freezing Iranian
assets yielded from their participation in Eurodif?

We are implementing the resolutions of the Security Council.


Q - (The Iranians are also saying that French companies with
operations in Iran don,t want to be targeted by measures
taken by the French government to discourage them from
continuing to work in Iran .... Any comment?

We,re working with French companies. When we take decisions,
these also have repercussions at their level. The only thing
that I want to say again here is that I really hope that the

PARIS 00000360 003 OF 003

resumption of a real dialogue with the Iranians will lead to
the re-establishment of confidence and lead to normal
relations with Iran.

Our preference is for dialogue. We,ve always said that we
combined dialogue and firmness, that sanctions are not an end
in themselves. Our objective is the resumption of dialogue
so that we have a normal, peaceable relationship with Iran.
For this to happen we need confidence, and that confidence
doesn,t exist today.

End text of French MFA statements.

Please visit Paris' Classified Website at: fm


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