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Cablegate: Media Reaction; Argentine-Venezuelan Ties; Us-Iran

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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #1609/01 2281532
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 161532Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8939
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
RULGPUA/USCOMSOLANT

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001609

SIPDIS

STATE FOR INR/R/MR, I/GWHA, WHA, WHA/PDA, WHA/BSC,
WHA/EPSC
CDR USSOCOM FOR J-2 IAD/LAMA

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OPRC KMDR PREL
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION; ARGENTINE-VENEZUELAN TIES; US-IRAN
08/16/07


1. SUMMARY STATEMENT

Today's most important international opinion stories review the
implications of the latest (Argentine-Venezuelan) political scandal
surrounding a suitcase with nearly 800,000 dollars seized at the
Argentine capital's airport; as well as the US intention to include
the Islamic Revolutionary Guard in the list of terrorist
organizations.

2. OPINION PIECES AND EDITORIALS

- "Things fall apart"

James Neilson, contributor to liberal, English-language "Buenos
Aires Herald," writes (08/16) "... Before leaving Venezuela, Guido
(Antonini Wilson) and his fellow passengers aboard that Cessna
Citation X should have told themselves that as Argentina is about to
change her government they would have to be a bit more careful than
in the past...

"... Experts in these matters tell us that Argentina and Venezuela
are among the most corrupt countries on the face of the planet. If
they are right, as in all probability they are, it would not be at
all surprising that suitcases stuffed with dollar bills are
shuttling back and forth between Caracas and Buenos Aires on a
regular basis.

"As despite being boss of a desperately poor country Hugo Chvez is
flush with cash, for the last few years the traffic will have been
largely one-way. It is reported that Guido made up to a dozen quick
trips to Argentina this year alone, but he is unlikely to have been
the only Venezuelan who found it necessary to make cash payments to
his associates instead of relying on more up-to-date methods that
can be monitored by taxmen or the cops.

"... As always happens when some dirty business is uncovered,
President Kirchner pledged himself to do everything that may prove
necessary to get to the truth and ensure the corrupt officials are
severely punished...

"Back in 1990s, President Carlos Menem used to say much the same
thing in a vain effort to convince his compatriots that he was clean
and would stop at nothing to rid Argentina of the swarms of
parasites that live off what they can pick up. Since Kirchner has a
great deal in common with Menem, the anti-corruption campaign he has
just proclaimed is likely to have equally unimpressive results."

- "'This resignation is evidence that we have told the truth'"

Mariana Versn, columnist of daily-of-record "La Nacisn," writes
(08/16) "President Nstor Kirchner was relieved by the Chvez
administration's decision to support Argentina in the suitcase
scandal by asking for the resignation of PDVSA VP Diego Uzctegui
Matheus, a Chavist point man.


"An Argentine high-ranking official source told 'La Nacisn: 'The
President took the news calmly. The incident with Venezuela has come
to an end. The bilateral relationship between the two countries was
never in crisis.'

"... Cabinet Chief Alberto Fernndez told 'La Nacisn': 'This
resignation is the most conclusive evidence that what we said was
true'...

"... The Argentine Government blamed Uzctegui for having introduced
Guido Alejandro Antonini Wilson in Argentina with a suspicious
suitcase filled with 800,000 undeclared US dollars...

"... The (Argentine) Government wants now to put an end to the issue
while exhibiting the image that it is not involved in the suitcase
scandal. Uzctegui Matheus's resignation contributes a lot to
Kirchner in this regard. A qualified informant told 'La Nacisn':
'With this the Argentine-Venezuelan crisis is over. Those to be
blamed are Uzctegui and Uberti, the latter because he did not take
the precaution of finding out who Antonini was and what he was
bringing in his suitcase.'"

- "The US will include Iran's main military force on the terrorist
list"

Leonardo Mndez, on special assignment in Washington, DC, for
leading "Clarn," writes (08/16) "The White House is ready to take
one more step in its dispute with Tehran's theocratic regime and
designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, Iran's main military
force, a terrorist organization. This is not a minor issue - it will
be the first time the US blacklists an armed force from a sovereign

country.

"While the Shiite theocracy already appears among the States
Washington defines as 'supporters of terrorism,' the designation of
the (Islamic) Revolutionary Guard as a 'global terrorist
organization' could have immediate impact.

"Any American citizen becoming a member of the group or providing
any kind of assistance to it will be committing a crime, as happens
today with 42 other armed organizations, such as Hezbollah, Hamas,
Al Qaeda, ETA or FARC, the NLA and the Colombian paramilitary.
Members of these organizations can be banned from entering the
country and financial institutions will be compelled to freeze the
(Islamic) Revolutionary Guard's assets as well as the financial
transfers it could make in the country.

"Given that US-Iranian ties have been minimal since the 1979 Islamic
Revolution, it is hard to find an (Iranian) asset in the US that can
be seized, but from now on, the corporations doing business with
members of the Guard will also be targeted. The (US) decision is
aimed at increasing international pressure on Tehran."

To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our
classified website at:
http://www.state.sqov.gov/p/wha/buenosaires

WAYNE

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