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Cablegate: German Response U.S. National Intelligence


DE RUEHRL #2157/01 3371918
O 031918Z DEC 07

S e c r e t <> 002157



Sipdis, state for p,t, nea/ir, isn, eur/ags

E.o. 12958: decl: 12/03/2017
Tags: knnp, mnuc, parm, gm, ir
Subject: german response u.s. National intelligence
estimate on iran's nuclear program

Ref: secstate 162558

Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Jeff Rathke for reasons 1.4

1. (S/NF) SUMMARY: Post delivered demarches to senior
Chancellery and MFA officials on December 3. Both National
Security Advisor Christoph Heusgen and MFA State Secretary
Reinhard Silberberg considered the assessment to be
potentially "good news." Heusgen added that the Chancellery
will seek additional assessments from its intelligence
agency, and noted that the international community still had
reason for concern about Iranian intentions, its
unwillingness to disclose details of its nuclear programs and
its continued enrichment. Heusgen also noted some concern
about potential domestic political backlash, given the
Chancellor's recent work to persuade German companies to
withdraw from their Iran business dealings. Silberberg
detailed German agreement to EU <> against Bank Melli,
to be implemented by late January, calling the "new" policy a
signal of German willingness to go beyond
proliferation-related issues in application of <>,
coupled with continued reticence at more wide-reaching
measures for fear of harming the Iranian people. END SUMMARY.

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chancellery response

2. (S/NF) Ambassador delivered reftel points and nonpapers
to National Security Advisor-equivalent Christoph Heusgen on
December 3. Also present was Chancellery Senior
Director-equivalent for Security Policy and Disarmament Geza
von Geyr. Heusgen noted that he had just completed a telcon
on the same subject with APNSA Hadley. (NOTE: Heusgen
appeared still to be digesting his conversation with Hadley.
He was initially negative, but his thinking became more
positive and operationally focused during the conversation.
END NOTE) Heusgen noted that German intelligence he had seen
indicated a continued weaponization program; he has asked the
BND chief for a new assessment. The BND will also conduct
its weekly briefing on December 4 and will present their
latest assessment. He added that Germany will not publicly
react to the NIE.

3. (S/NF) Heusgen expressed concern about the timing of the
information and potential political fallout, particularly in
light of Chancellor Merkel's efforts to use moral suasion to
convince German companies to end investment in Iran. In this
regard, he noted that Chancellery Chief of Staff Thomas de
Maziere is scheduled to meet on Wednesday with German
Federation of Industry (BDI) chief Juergen Thumann and
leaders of German energy giant E.ON regarding their interest
in LNG in Iran. He added that DNI McConnell's scheduled
visit to <> on December 4 is timely.

4. (S/NF) Heusgen noted that we still need to be alarmed
about the Iranian intent and unwillingness to disclose their
program, particularly given their continued enrichment and
ballistic missile programs, evidenced by Iran's unveiling of
the Ashura ballistic missile last week. He noted that the
Chancellery will have to see to it that the public reaction
to the NIE is a moderate one and to ensure that the focus is
not only on the information on the Iranian nuclear weapons
program, but also emphasizes that the IAEA sees many open
points and that Iran has not abided by IAEA requests on
enrichment and coming clean on its activities thus far.

5. (S/NF) In terms of further UNSCR <>, von Geyr
added that in light of this information it will be harder to
get Russia and China on board; Heusgen indicated that
Kislyak's absence from the P5 1 Political Directors meeting
on December 1 meant that Russia's intentions regarding a new
UNSCR remain unclear. He once again repeated that he would be
seeking assessments from other foreign intelligence agencies
(naming the French) in addition to the NIE. It is necessary
to remain vigilant on Iran because of Iran's continued
failure to meet IAEA requirements, he said, as well as
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad's public threats
against Israel. In terms of <>, Heusgen added that
with this acknowledgment from the U.S., perhaps Iran would be
willing to suspend briefly. If this information is verified,
why don't the Iranians suspend enrichment as they do not need
it, he posited, having neither a weapons program nor power
plants that could use enriched uranium.

6. (S/NF) Heusgen noted that the Chancellery would work

with the MFA to develop a joint press line. Heusgen noted
that President Bush and Chancellor Merkel are scheduled to
discuss the topic tomorrow following Merkel's return from the
CDU Party Convention being held in Hannover. Heusgen
continued by repeating the German view on potential public
statements: The Chancellery does not comment publicly on
intelligence matters. If the news is confirmed it is good
news about this aspect of the Iranian program, but it is also
another reason to urge Iran to stop enrichment. Von Geyr
added that much must still be clarified by the Iranians; the
IAEA report shows many open points.

foreign ministry response

7. (S/NF) DCM conveyed reftel points to MFA State Secretary
Silberberg, and left them as non-papers. Silberberg said it
was "good news" the US intelligence community had concluded
that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program due to
international scrutiny and <> as of fall 2003 and had
not resumed the program as of mid-2007.

8. (S/NF) With regard to further steps against Tehran's
defiance of the Security Council, Silberberg went on, the
German government has agreed to move ahead with designation
of Bank Melli, though not immediately. Germany, France, and
the UK, he said, have agreed to work now toward a quick
resolution in the Security Council, and detect some positive
signs from the Russian side. If the UNSCR effort succeeds,
the <> it contains will nonetheless be weak, and the
EU-3 will seek to supplement them with EU measures by the end
of December, including the designation of Bank Melli. Asked
about the timeline for EU autonomous <>, including
designation of Bank Melli, should the Security Council fail
to pass a third <> resolution, Silberberg said this
could come at the end of January. He described his own role,
and that of the MFA, as "active" in securing agreement to
this approach from the ministries of finance and economy and
the Chancellery. Key elements of this "new" German policy
were (1) willingness to go beyond proliferation-related
issues in application of <> and (2) judgment that it
is "not yet" time for total economic and financial isolation
of Iran, as this would harm the Iranian people
disproportionately. Silberberg noted that debate continued
in the EU on possible designation of Bank Saderat, but
Germany believed that to do so now, in conjunction with
designating Bank Melli, would move too far in the direction
of a total embargo.
Timken jr

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