Cablegate: (S) M/V Iran Teyfouri: Prc Says Investigation
O 111108Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY BEIJING
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6424
S E C R E T BEIJING 001373
DEPT FOR EAP AND ISN
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/11/2033
TAGS: PARM PREL ETTC CH IR
SUBJECT: (S) M/V IRAN TEYFOURI: PRC SAYS INVESTIGATION
SHOWS CHEMICALS DESTINED FOR ARMENIA
REF: A. BEIJING 1354 B. STATE 37260 C. BEIJING 1309 D. STATE 35977 E. BEIJING 333 AND PREVIOUS Classified By: Deputy Political Section Chief Ben Moeling. Reasons 1.4 (b/d).
1.(S) China determined that the end-user of sodium sulfide to be transported on the M/V Iran Teyfouri is located in Armenia and not Iran, MFA Arms Control and Disarmament Department Chemical and Biological Weapons Division Deputy Director Yang Yi told PolOff on April 11.
2.(S) Reading from prepared points, Yang said China attaches "great importance" to the information provided by the United States to China on April 8, and conducted an "immediate and thorough" investigation. China's investigation shows that the China Northern Chemical and Minerals Company will export sodium sulfide to Armenia on the M/V Iran Teyfouri, which arrived in Tianjin on April 10. The vessel will transport the chemicals to Bandar Abbas, from where it will be transferred to Armenia. An end-user certificate from an Armenian company indicates the chemicals will be used for mining minerals. The end-user is not Iran, Yang said, "only the vessel belongs to Iran." Because the documentation provided to PRC authorities complied with Chinese export control laws, the Ministry of Commerce approved the export and Chinese customs officials "let the chemicals pass." China opposes proliferation and the PRC's findings are the "result of a careful investigation" that reflects "China's seriousness in implementing its nonproliferation policies." Bilateral nonproliferation cooperation is "good" and China is willing to cooperate with the United States on an "equal footing." China asks that the United States "ensure the accuracy" of its information so as not to interfere with China's foreign trade, she said.
3.(S) When asked if this controlled chemical was a typical Chinese export to Armenia, Yang said she is not certain, but claimed the chemical is "very common" in mining and textile operations. She did not have permission to share the name of the Armenian firm. Yang said she did not know if the M/V Iran Teyfouri stopped in Tianjin on a scheduled basis or makes infrequent visits to China. She also did know how the chemicals would be shipped from Bandar Abbas to Armenia.
4.(S) PolOff pointed out that when the M/V Iran Teyfouri sailed from Tianjin in January, the PRC investigation concluded that the vessel stopped in Singapore. However, publicly available information indicates the vessel sailed directly to Iran. This calls into question the credibility of the information provided to PRC investigators. How can China be certain the results of this investigation are accurate? Yang said she only has authorization to report that the Chinese investigation shows the final destination of the cargo is Armenia.