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WikiLeaks: NZ takes firm line with Iran foreign minister

WikiLeaks cable: NZ takes firm line with Iran foreign minister

August 29, 2004 NZ takes firm line with Iran foreign minister over IAEA and Iran nuclear programme


Classified By: Pol/Econ Counselor Tim Zuniga-Brown for reasons 1.5 (B/D ).

Iran's Foreign Minister Seeks "A Fair Hearing" --------------------------------------------- -

1. (U) Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi visited New Zealand August 23-24 to explain Iran's position in the IAEA. Kharrazi met with Prime Minister Helen Clark, Foreign Minister Phil Goff, Disarmament Minister Marian Hobbs, Communications Minister Paul Swain and Agriculture and Trade Minister Jim Sutton. FM Kharrazi said he decided to visit New Zealand because Iran knew it could count on receiving a "fair hearing" from the Kiwis the lead up to the upcoming Board of Governors (BOG) meeting later in September. NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) Deputy Secretary (Under Secretary-equivalent) Rosemary Banks provided select embassy reps a debrief on the Kharrazi visit. Banks noted that in addition to discussions on the IAEA (below), the two sides also held talks on human rights and increased political and economic cooperation through a revamped Joint Ministerial Consultative process.

Kharrazi: "Don't Isolate Us" ----------------------------

2. (C) Banks prefaced her comments by noting that New Zealand believed it had influence with Iran as it was "not identified with any particular side," adding that the GNZ would be guided by IAEA reports on Iran and "consensus" views within the IAEA. Banks said Kharrazi repeatedly urged that Iran not be isolated if the international community wanted to achieve its goals with Tehran. At the same time, Kharrazi was also insistent that Iran had a right to develop a nuclear power program that included a fully developed nuclear fuel cycle. Development of a nuclear program was now a matter of "national pride" for Iran, according to Kharrazi, especially within the new Majlis. He further stated that the Majlis was pushing the Iranian government to move more quickly on establishing a full nuclear program. Kharazzi insisted that the suspension of the enrichment program had always been meant to be temporary.

3. (C) An "upbeat" Iranian delegation told the GNZ that it felt Iran had provided "satisfactory" answers to all outstanding questions and no longer expected to be "automatically" placed on future IAEA BOG agendas. The delegation said the current "file" on Iran should be "permanently closed" after the September IAEA meeting. During its meetings with Hobbs and elsewhere, the Iranian delegation had ticked off its list of answers to outstanding questions. For instance, on shielding, the Iranians said this was simply due to an "old French design." On fuel supplies, Iran said Russia had agreed to supply and take back expended fuel, but there had been no agreement on price as yet. On polonium, contamination had occurred before Iran acquired the technology. On laser enrichment, the delegation admitted that Iran had tried various technologies during the period it was under sanctions.

GNZ: Iran Must Abandon Enrichment and Refining Activities --------------------------------------------- -------------

4. (C) A senior official of Prime Minister Helen Clark's office informed DCM that the PM had firmly told Kharrazi in their private session that NZ expected Iran to abandon its enrichment and refining activities. PM Clark publicly stated that it was "absolutely critical" that Iran comply with IAEA requests and expressed concern at the length of time it was taking to find out what Iran was "actually doing." Minister Hobbs bluntly told the Iranians in private that the IAEA reports painted a picture of a possible nuclear weapons program. The GNZ told the Iranian delegation that Iran's "IAEA file" would only be closed if Iran's outstanding questions were fully resolved to the satisfaction of the IAEA BOG. Swindells


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