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Cablegate: Tokyo Media Reaction - Iran National

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P 070220Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
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UNCLAS TOKYO 005484

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR I/RF, PA/PR/FPC/W, IIP/G/EA, EAP/PD, R/MR,
EAP/J, EAP/P, PM;
USTR FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE;
TREASURY FOR OASIA/IMI;
SECDEF FOR OASD/PA;
CP BUTLER OKINAWA FOR AREA FIELD OFFICE;
PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO JA
SUBJECT: TOKYO MEDIA REACTION - IRAN NATIONAL
INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE

LEAD STORIES: Front-page items on Friday morning
include a North Korean press report that President Bush
has sent letters to leaders of the other members of the
six-party talks, including DPRK leader Kim Jong Il,
calling for promotion of the denuclearization process.

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1. "And Then There Was North Korea" The liberal
Mainichi editorialized (12/7): "This year's National
Intelligence Estimate (NIE) concluded that Iran halted
its nuclear-weapons programs in 2003 and has not
resumed it since. It must be a severe blow to the Bush
administration, which has stressed the threat posed by
Iran and hinted at the possible use of force against
the nation.... The latest NIE assessment reminds us of
the Bush administration's trumpeting of the 'threat' of
Iraq's WMD ahead of the invasion of that country in
2003. There were no WMD there.... Past mistakes by U.S.
intelligence authorities tell us that we cannot
immediately conclude that the latest NIE report is
completely accurate. However, if President Bush and
Vice President Cheney have been making tough statements
about Iran in full knowledge of the results of this
intelligence estimate, they will not be able to escape
suspicion that they have been unfairly trying to
manipulate the public.... North Korea's suspected
nuclear programs should be strictly verified. Pyongyang
should also give a full accounting of its suspected
nuclear support for Syria.... Although the U.S. has
been very concerned about any moves by Iran, and before
that Iraq, North Korea has actually conducted a nuclear
test, and its nuclear program is a real threat to the
international community."

2. "No Reason to Relax Sanctions on Iran" The
conservative Sankei editorialized (12/7): "The recent
U.S. NIE report concludes that Iran halted its nuclear-
weapons program in 2003. Some hold the opinion that
this assessment has dealt a blow to the Bush
administration, which has been urging additional
sanctions on Tehran, and worked in Iran's favor.
Iranian President Ahmadinejad declared that the report
dealt a 'finishing blow' to the U.S. and brought
victory to the people of Iran. However, this is no
true. Suspicions that Iran is attempting to develop
nuclear weapons have yet to be dispelled. The NIE
clearly pointed out that its nuclear-weapons program
continued until 2003. That program could be resumed at
anytime.... The assessment is likely to affect UN
Security Council discussions on additional sanctions on
Iran. However, Tehran has ignored two previous UNSC
resolutions. Iran still bears the responsibility of
regaining international confidence."

SCHIEFFER

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