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Cablegate: Saudis On Iran Ref Upcoming Nam Fm Meeting

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DE RUEHRH #1134 2040500
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O 220500Z JUL 08 ZDK CTG #00732
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DEPARTMENT PASS TO ISN/RA RMANGIELLO AND RNEPHEW, AND
NEA/ARP BMCGRATH

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/20/2018
TAGS: MNUC PGOV PREL SA TRGY KNNP IR
SUBJECT: SAUDIS ON IRAN REF UPCOMING NAM FM MEETING

REF: A. SECSTATE 74879
B. RIYADH 43
Classified By: Charge' d'Affaires Michael Gfoeller for
reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (S) On July 21, Pol Counselor delivered demarche on the
upcoming Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Foreign Ministers meeting
scheduled for Tehran from July 27-30 (Reftel A) to Saudi MFA
Deputy Director for Western Affairs Department Mojahid Ali
Alwahbi.

2. (S) Alwahbi informed us that Saudi Minister of State for
Foreign Affairs (MFA Deputy Secretary equivalent) Dr. Nizar
bin Obaid Madani would lead the Saudi delegation. He assured
us Saudi Arabia did not want the NAM meeting to become an
Iranian propaganda event, adding he had seen the proposed
agenda and did not expect it to develop in such a manner.
Alwahbi agreed Iran's continued nuclear enrichment was a
grave SAG concern with regional security implications (Reftel
B).

3. (S) Alwahbi strongly advised against taking military
action to neutralize Iran's program. Rather, establishing a
US-Iranian dialogue was the best course of action, asserting
that the USG opening an Interest Section or re-opening our
Embassy in Tehran would be positive step. Alwahbi was
heartened by the USG's initiative for Under Secretary Burns
to meet with the Iranians last week in Geneva. He added
that, in his view, Iran's position was "shifting" and wanted
to avoid escalation of tensions. He noted his belief that
the Russians had recently been effectively pressuring Iran to
be less provocative. Alwahbi concluded that he expected Iran
to keep tensions relatively low at least until after the US
presidential election.

4. (S) COMMENT. These comments are typical of Saudi MFA
bureaucrats who take a pacific stance towards Iran, but
diverge significantly from the more bellicose advice we have
gotten from senior Saudi royals. END COMMENT.
GFOELLER

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