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Cablegate: Visit of Iranian Parliamentary Delegation

VZCZCXRO2138
RR RUEHAG RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDF RUEHDIR RUEHIK RUEHKUK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHVI #2947 3481447
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 141447Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY VIENNA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9160
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES
RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS VIENNA 002947

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR EUR/AGS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV IR AU
SUBJECT: VISIT OF IRANIAN PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION


THIS MESSAGE IS SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - PLEASE PROTECT
ACCORDINGLY. NOT FOR INTERNET DISTRIBUTION.

Introduction and Summary
------------------------
1.(U) A delegation of Iranian parliamentarians visited Vienna
December 11-14 upon the invitation of the Austria-Iran parliamentary
group. In meetings with the delegation, Parliamentary President
Prammer (SPO) and Foreign Policy Committee Chairman Schieder (SPO)
criticized Iran's human rights record, called for Iran to comply
with UN resolutions on its nuclear program, and expressed hope for
Iran's support of the Annapolis peace process. End Introduction and
Summary.

The Visit
---------
2.(SBU) OVP MP Helmut Kukacka, head of the Austria-Iran
parliamentary group, organized the visit together with the
International Office of Parliament. The delegation consisted of six
MPs headed by Mohammad Bagher Bahrami. The Iranian MPs' visit was a
follow-up to a visit by Austrian Parliamentary President Werner
Fasslabend to Iran two years ago. The delegation met with with
Austrian MPs from all parties, as well as the First and Second
President of Parliament.

Meeting with MPs
----------------
3.(U) Discussions on December 11 with lawmakers from OVP and the
opposition rightwing FPO and Greens focused on exploring
possibilities for the expansion of bilateral economic relations.
Kukacka particularly stressed the great interest of Austrian
companies in engaging in business with Iran. He welcomed the
"Iranian political program as the basis for a liberalization of the
economy." While the other Austrian MPs emphasized that a
rapprochement between the EU and Iran on the question of the Iranian
nuclear program had to be reached, FPO MP Heinz Christian Strache
noted Iran's right to have a civilian nuclear program. Even the CIA
had now admitted that the Iranian nuclear program was peaceful,
added Strache.

Parliamentary President Prammer
-------------------------------
4.(U) First Parliamentary President Prammer stressed in her
conversation with the delegation that Iran's compliance with the UN
resolutions on the Iranian nuclear program was essential. She also
warned that human rights and human dignity must be respected, and
that the Holocaust must not be denied anywhere in the world. At the
conclusion of the meeting Prammer noted that, despite the
constructive climate of the encounter, marked differences of opinion
remained.

Foreign Policy Committee Chairman Schieder
------------------------------------------
5.(U) Along the same lines, Foreign Policy Committee Chairman
Schieder raised Iranian President Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denial,
the Iranian human rights situation, and the importance of EU-Iranian
dialogue on the Iranian nuclear program at the meeting with the
delegation. Schieder also expressed the hope that Iran would
support the Annapolis peace process and would recognize Israel's
right to existence.

Comment
-------
6.(SBU) The visit was largely a formal occasion, with some
opportunity to generally explore possibilities for expanded economic
relations. The SPO parliamentary representatives, in particular,
also voiced vehement criticism of the Iranian human rights record
and non-compliance with UN resolutions on their nuclear program.
KILNER

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