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Cablegate: French Elysee Nea Adviser Recounts Tough Line

VZCZCXRO2330
OO RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHKUK
DE RUEHFR #3733 2501830
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 071830Z SEP 07 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9971
INFO RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L PARIS 003733

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/07/2017
TAGS: PREL PGOV FR IR
SUBJECT: FRENCH ELYSEE NEA ADVISER RECOUNTS TOUGH LINE
TAKEN WITH IRANIANS

REF: PARIS 3668

Classified By: Classified by Polmincouns Josiah Rosenblatt for reasons
1.4.(b), (d)

1. (C) Following up on reftel, Polmincouns and poloff asked
French presidential adviser for NEA issues Boris Boillon
September 6 about the visit to Tehran by French Presidency
official Richier and MFA DAS Gellet. Polmincouns noted the
stark phrasing in President Sarkozy's speech to French
ambassadors (indicating the world faced the choice between
Iran with a bomb or bombing Iran) and wondered what it meant
in the context of the visit. Boillon was glad we raised the
subject and stated that Sarkozy had wanted to warn Iran in a
dramatic and public way that it must cooperate with the
international community with respect to its nuclear program
or face potential catastrophe in the form of military action.
This did not mean, as some media were misinterpreting the
statement, that France would be ready to participate in such
action. Far from it, Boillon continued; France vigorously
opposed a resort to force and preferred to resolve the
ongoing dispute diplomatically.

2. (C) Boillon echoed much of what MFA DAS Gellet had
related in reftel when he observed that the Iranians do not
seem to understand the gravity of the situation or France's
position. They suffer, he complained, from a closed mindset
that he later termed "autistic." Boillon recounted in the
same terms as Gellet the origin of the Iranian initiative
from Ali Akbar Velayati, foreign affairs adviser to supreme
leader Khamenei, to establish a special dialogue between
Tehran and Paris. Even before Richier and Gellet traveled,
the GOF told the Iranians to "forget it" if their intention
was to split France away from the P-5 plus one. Richier and
Gellet repeated this message in Tehran and indicated that
France might be willing to speak of other subjects (NFI).
Boillon believed the level was perfect in that the French
sent senior working level officials well below the "political
level," whereas Velayati clearly was at the political level.
This disparity gave the French considerable leeway in terms
of the frankness with which they could speak.

3. (C) Boillon repeated that it was clear the Iranians did
not understand or accept the blunt message they heard. In
his characteristic candor, Richier told Velayati and other
Iranian officials that, absent full compliance, sanctions
against Iran will only ratchet up. As he previewed the tough
line that Sarkozy would express in his speech, Richier added
that France wants to avoid military action against Iran but
might eventually have to accept it as the only recourse left
to the international community to prevent a nuclear-armed
Iran.

4. (C) Boillon stated that the GOF had not decided whether
to continue the dialogue that Richier and Gellet had started.
Diplomatic contacts, nevertheless, continue apace, and he
pointed to a then current visit to Paris by Iranian Deputy
Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Jalili.
(Note: As reported by a staffer of KM Kouchner September 7,
Jalili had inexplicably not been briefed on Richier's and
Gellet's message to Velayati. End note) Boillon contended
that France had no problem pursuing a diplomatic dialogue per
se and kept its embassy in Tehran for just such a reason. As
Richier told the Iranians, however, there was no need for a
special channel if the Iranian aim was to pry France away
from the P-5 plus one. Richier was very direct that France
had no intention to deviate from the line it was on with its
partners. Boillon expanded his assessment of the Iranians as
"autistic like the Syrians. As with the Syrians, one must be
direct and not always 'diplomatic.'"

Please visit Paris' Classified Website at:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/paris/index.c fm


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