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Cablegate: Media Reaction Report - Iran International Terrorism

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 PARIS 004501

SIPDIS


DEPT FOR INR/R/MR; IIP/RW; IIP/RNY; BBG/VOA; IIP/WEU; AF/PA;
EUR/WE /P/SP; D/C (MCCOO); EUR/PA; INR/P; INR/EUC; PM; OSC ISA
FOR ILN; NEA; WHITE HOUSE FOR NSC/WEUROPE; DOC FOR ITA/EUR/FR
AND PASS USTR/PA; USINCEUR FOR PAO; NATO/PA; MOSCOW/PA;
ROME/PA; USVIENNA FOR USDEL OSCE.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR FR
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION REPORT - IRAN INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM
- IRAQ
PARIS - MONDAY, JUNE 27, 2005

(A) SUBJECTS COVERED IN TODAY'S REPORT:

1. IRAN
2. INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM - IRAQ

B) SUMMARY OF COVERAGE:

THE ELECTION IN IRAN OF AN "ULTRACONSERVATIVE" IS
OVERWHELMINGLY SEEN AS "A CHALLENGE TO THE WEST" (LE FIGARO);
"A POPULIST STEP BACKWARDS" (LIBERATION) BUT ALSO "MORE OF THE
SAME" FOR CATHOLIC LA CROIX, WHICH TITLES ITS EDITORIAL
"IRANIAN CONTINUITY." COMMENTARIES AND EDITORIAL LINES ASSERT
THE VOTE WAS A REACTION TO SOCIAL DIFFICULTIES SUCH AS
UNEMPLOYMENT (LIBERATION) AND REPRESENTS A "THREAT TO THE
PEOPLE OF IRAN AND THE WORLD." (LE FIGARO) THE RESUMPTION AND
OUTCOME OF THE NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN THE PARIS 3 AND IRAN ARE
WIDELY DEBATED, AS ARE THE "LIMITED CHOICES LEFT TO
WASHINGTON." (SEE PART C)

SEVERAL EXPERTS ARE INTERVIEWED ON THE IRANIAN ELECTIONS. IN
LEFT-OF-CENTER LE MONDE, NUCLEAR EXPERT BRUNO TERTRAIS FROM
THE FOUNDATION FOR STRATEGIC RESEARCH: "THE NEGOTIATIONS WILL
PROBABLY HAVE TO START FROM SCRATCH BECAUSE THE NEW PRESIDENT
WILL HARDLY KEEP THE SAME TEAM OF NEGOTIATORS. AHMADINEJAD HAS
THE SUPPORT OF GROUPS WHO WANT IRAN TO POSSESS NUCLEAR ARMS.
THIS ELECTION IS SURE TO LAUNCH NEW TENSION WITH WASHINGTON.
BUT THE THREAT OF A U.S. MILITARY INTERVENTION HAS NOT BECOME
GREATER. BEFORE ANY SUCH MEASURE IS TAKEN, THE U.S. WILL WANT
TO GO BEFORE THE UNSC."

INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM AND IRAQ ARE TWO ADDITIONAL
INTERNATIONAL STORIES. SEVERAL OUTLETS REPORT ON THE
ACKNOWLEDGMENT BY THE U.S. OF "TALKS WITH IRAQI INSURGENTS."
FOR POPULAR RIGHT-OF-CENTER FRANCE SOIR IT IS A "U.S.
ADMISSION OF WEAKNESS." FOR LE PARISIEN, "IT IS A FIRST AND IT
COULD MARK A TURNING POINT IN THE WAR."(SEE PART C)

LEFT-OF-CENTER LE MONDE CARRIES A FRONT-PAGE STORY ABOUT NEW
CONCERNS ABOUT TERRORISM IN FRANCE AND IN EUROPE BECAUSE OF
"SIGNS OF TIES BETWEEN ALGERIAN SALAFIST GROUPS AND AL-
ZARQAWI; THE IMMINENT RELEASE OF FORMER TERRORIST JAILED IN
FRANCE FOR TERRORISM ACTS IN THE 90'S AND RETURNING `FRENCH
DJIHADISTS' FROM IRAQ." PIOTR SMOLAR PENS A COMMENTARY TITLED:
"THE MUTATION OF ISLAMIC TERRORISM." (SEE PART C) EUROPEAN
COORDINATOR FOR ANTI-TERRORISM GIJS DE VRIES IS INTERVIEWED IN
LE MONDE: "EUROPE IS NO LONGER JUST A LOGISTICAL AND SUPPORT
CENTER FOR TERRORISM. IT HAS ALSO BECOME A PRIME TARGET. THE
EU AND THE U.S. MUST WORK TOGETHER. IT IS IN THE EU'S INTEREST
THAT IRAQ BECOME STABLE. MUCH WILL DEPEND ON THE FATE OF THAT
NATION. THIS IS WHY THE EU SUPPORTS THAT COUNTRY'S
CONSTITUTIONAL PROCESS. THE AMERICANS MUST TAKE RESPONSIBILITY
FOR THEIR ACTIONS IN RESOLVING REGIONAL CONFLICTS WHICH
NURTURE JIHAD."

(C) SUPPORTING TEXT/BLOCK QUOTES:

IRAN

"IRAN STEPS BACKWARDS"
PIERRE ROUSSELIN IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO (06/27): "THE
ELECTION OF AN ULTRACONSERVATIVE IN IRAN DOES NOT HERALD
ANYTHING GOOD FOR THE COUNTRY OR THE WEST. FOR THE IRANIANS
THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE IS GHASTLY. WITH WOMEN THE FIRST VICTIMS.
THE ELECTION ALSO SOUNDS THE DEATH KNELL FOR REFORM. BUT
BECAUSE OF IRAN'S ECONOMIC SITUATION AND ITS HIGH
UNEMPLOYMENT, SUCH A POPULIST VOTE IS NOT ALL THAT SURPRISING.
FOR THE REST OF THE WORLD THE ELECTION IS A HARBINGER OF MANY
THREATS. WITH AN IDEOLOGUE IN POWER IN TEHRAN, THE WAGER
AIMING TO RE-INCLUDE IRAN IN THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY IN
EXCHANGE FOR ITS GIVING UP THE BOMB BECOMES ALL THE MORE
DELICATE BUT NO LESS VITAL."

"SOCIAL ANGER"
JEAN-MICHEL HELVIG IN LEFT-OF-CENTER LIBERATION (06/27): "THE
BALLOTS WERE USED TO EXPRESS SOCIAL ANGER. THE PEOPLE OF IRAN
HAVE SENT A MESSAGE TO THE POWERS THAT BE. THE WINNER IS NOT
IRAN AS THE FIGHTER AGAINST RELIGIOUS OBSCURANTISM. THE
IRANIANS HAVE CHOSEN MEN WHO RESEMBLE THEM AS OPPOSED TO MEN
WHO WANT TO LOOK LIKE FOREIGNERS. IRAN SEEMS BENT ON
NATIONALISTIC WITHDRAWAL. THE FAILURE IS PATENT FOR IRAN'S
POLITICAL REFORMISTS."

"IRANIAN CONTINUITY"
GUILLAUME GOUBERT IN CATHOLIC LA CROIX (06/27): "WHILE A
SECULAR FIGURE FOLLOWS A RELIGIOUS FIGURE, IT IS STILL THE
AYATOLLAH' KHAMENI'S POLICY LINE THAT HAS WON. THIS IS NOT
GOOD NEWS FOR FREEDOM FOR IRANIAN MEN AND WOMEN. IT IS NOT
GOOD NEWS FOR INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS IN A REGION THAT NEEDS
NO ADDITIONAL SOURCE OF TENSION. AND IT IS NOT GOOD NEWS FOR
THE DIALOGUE BETWEEN CIVILIZATIONS. STILL, WE MUST NOT OVER-
DRAMATIZE THE CHANGES OCCURRING IN IRAN. IN REALITY, WHAT
PREDOMINATES, IS CONTINUITY, WITH THE IRANIANS HAVING VOTED
FOR SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC IMPROVEMENTS RATHER THAN FOR ONE
REGIME OVER ANOTHER. THERE MAY BE A HARSHENING OF IRANIAN
IDEOLOGY. SOME IN IRAN AND AMONG AMERICAN CONSERVATIVES COULD
BE TEMPTED TO REJOICE OVER THIS, BELIEVING THAT THE REGIME'S
UNPOPULARITY WILL HASTEN ITS DEMISE. THIS IS CALLED ADOPTING A
STRATEGY OF THE WORST. WE MUST RESIST AGAINST IT AND CONTINUE
TO DIALOGUE WITH TEHRAN."

"WASHINGTON EMBARRASSED"
JEAN-LOUIS TURLIN IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO (06/27): "MIRED
IN IRAQ, PRESIDENT BUSH DOES NOT POSSESS THE MEANS TO USE
MIGHT TO CHANGE THE MIDDLE EAST. IN FACT, HIS STRONG-ARM
RHETORIC SEEMS TO HAVE PLAYED MORE INTO THE HANDS OF THE
RELIGIOUS MULLAHS THAN HIS OWN. WASHINGTON'S OFFICIAL
DECLARATIONS BARELY HIDE THE EMBARRASSMENT OF A GOVERNMENT
WITH FEW OPTIONS LEFT. WASHINGTON, BECAUSE IT IS FACING A
POPULIST PRESIDENT WHO EARNED HIS CREDENTIALS DURING THE 1979
HOSTAGE-TAKING SITUATION, COULD BE TEMPTED WITH A NO-
CONCESSION POSITION. AHMADINEJAD'S ARRIVAL COULD WELL
STRENGTHEN THE POSITION OF WASHINGTON'S HAWKS WHO ARE DIVIDED
OVER IRAQ. THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S POSITION WILL BE ONE OF
`WAIT AND SEE' BECAUSE IT HAS NO OTHER CHOICE."

"A HARSHER POSITION FROM THE U.S. TO BE EXPECTED"
PASCAL RICHE IN LEFT-OF-CENTER LIBERATION (06/27): "THE
ELECTION OF AHMADINEJAD IS A HARSH BLOW FOR PRESIDENT BUSH AND
HIS PLANS FOR THE MIDDLE EAST. FUNDAMENTALISTS IN IRAN ARE
HOLDING ALL THE CARDS AND PRESIDENT BUSH MUST BE READY FOR A
TOUGHER CONFRONTATION BETWEEN THE U.S. AND IRAN. HE MUST ALSO
BEWARE OF THE FACT THAT THIS RELIGIOUS HARD-LINE POSITION
COULD SPREAD IN THE REGION. THIS WOULD BE THE EXACT OPPOSITE
OF HIS STRATEGY'S OBJECTIVES FOR THE `GREATER MIDDLE EAST.'"

INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM - IRAQ

"BUSH AND THE BALANCE SHEET OF ERRORS"
GILLES DELAFON IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER-LE JOURNAL DU DIMANCHE
(06/27): "THE PENTAGON'S HAWKS THOUGHT THEY WOULD UPROOT
TERRORISM; INSTEAD THEY HAVE SOWN THE SEED OF TERRORISM. THEIR
BATTLE FOR DEMOCRACY GOT LOST SOMEWHERE IN THE PRISONS OF ABU
GHARAIB AND GUANTANAMO. AROUND THE WORLD, AND IN ALL LOGIC,
THE IMAGE OF THE U.S. IS NOT IMPROVING. THE LATEST POLL SHOWS
THAT IN FRANCE, CHINA IS MORE POPULAR THAN THE U.S.! THESE
AMERICAN SETBACKS LEAVE THE EUROPEANS RUDDERLESS. LAST WEEK
THEY MADE COMMITMENTS TOWARDS IRAQ WHICH THEY WILL BE HARD-
PRESSED TO HONOR IF WASHINGTON REFUSES TO ACKNOWLEDGE ITS
MISTAKES AND LEARN FROM ITS ERRORS."

"THE U.S. MEETS WITH IRAQI INSURGENTS"
IN LEFT-OF-CENTER LIBERATION (06/27): "MEETINGS BETWEEN
AMERICAN OFFICIALS AND IRAQI INSURGENTS HAVE INDEED TAKEN
PLACE. SECRETARY RUMSFELD HAS AS MUCH AS ADMITTED THAT THE WAR
WOULD NOT BE WON BY HIS OWN TROOPS..."

"IN IRAQ, A DIALOGUE FULL OF TRAPS"
LAKHDAR BELAID IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER FRANCE SOIR (06/27): "WHILE
ACTS OF VIOLENCE IN IRAQ GROW, WASHINGTON RECENTLY CONFIRMED
THE INFORMATION REVEALED BY THE SUNDAY TIMES ABOUT TALKS WITH
IRAQI INSURGENTS. CAN SUCH A STRATEGY BEAR FRUIT? IT IS AS IF
THE AMERICANS WERE LITERALLY EXPOSING THEIR WEAKNESS.
ACCORDING TO DOMINIQUE TOMAS, A MIDDLE EAST EXPERT, AUTHOR OF
`AL QAEDA'S MEN,' `IF THE AMERICANS HAVE INDEED MET WITH
INSURGENTS, IT IS PROOF OF THEIR OWN FAILURE.' BUT AT THE SAME
TIME, WITH THESE OFFERS OF TALKS, WASHINGTON MAY BE HOPING TO
DIVIDE AND CONQUER. MEANWHILE IN IRAQ, AND IN SPITE OF
AMERICAN REPRESSION, VIOLENT OPERATIONS ARE INTENSIFYING. THIS
OFFER OF DIALOGUE COULD THEREFORE LEAD TO EVEN MORE VIOLENCE."

"THE MUTATIONS OF ISLAMIC TERRORISM"
PIOTR SMOLAR IN LEFT-OF-CENTER LE MONDE (06/27): "THE U.S. IS
PRISONER OF GUANTANAMO. SUDDENLY CLOSING THE BASE WOULD BE AN
ADMISSION OF FAILURE, SOMETHING THAT IS POLITICALLY
INSUFFERABLE. BUT THE EUROPEANS SHOULD NOT REJOICE OVER
AMERICA'S DIFFICULTIES. THE WORRISOME MUTATION OF THE
TERRORIST THREAT - DUE ESSENTIALLY TO THE MIRED IRAQI
SITUATION - AND WASHINGTON'S NEED TO GIVE SIGNS OF OPENNESS
HAVE LED TO A RAPPROCHEMENT BETWEEN THE U.S. AND EUROPE AS
ILLUSTRATED IN FLORENCE AT THE END OF MAY. THE DELICATE
POLITICAL POSITION OF THE U.S. WAS OBVIOUS, AS WAS THE
VULNERABILITY OF EUROPE. TERRORISM EXPERTS IN FLORENCE
ACKNOWLEDGED THE WORRISOME MUTATION OF ISLAMIC TERRORISM. IRAQ
HOLDS A CENTRAL ROLE IN THE ALARMING ANALYSIS OF THIS
MUTATION. OF COURSE AMERICANS AND EUROPEANS HAVE DIVERGING
POSITIONS IN THE ANALYSES OF THE ROOT CAUSES OF THIS EVIL.
SEEN FROM THE U.S., EUROPE IS A RESERVOIR FOR `JIHADDISTS' WHO
CHOOSE TO GO TO IRAQ. SEEN FROM EUROPE, EXPERTS CONTEND THAT
IRAQ HAS BECOME THE LAND OF JIHAD BECAUSE OF THE SYMBOLISM
ATTACHED TO A CONFRONTATION WITH THE U.S. IN THE LAND OF
ISLAM." WOLFF

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