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Cablegate: Iran: Tajik Extradition - Further Delays And

VZCZCXRO1421
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHKUK
DE RUEHLO #2005 2141428
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 011428Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9363
INFO RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L LONDON 002005

NOFORN
SIPDIS

DOJ FOR CRIMINAL DIVISION AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS DIVISION

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/01/2018

TAGS: CJAN PINS PREL PTER IR UK

SUBJECT: IRAN: TAJIK EXTRADITION - FURTHER DELAYS AND
FACTORS IN HMG THINKING REF: LONDON 1718 AND PREVIOUS

Classified By: Classified By: Political Counselor Rick Mills for reason s 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) HMG will take no final decision or action on the extradition of former Iranian Ambassador Tajik before 1 September because the Home Secretary, who reportedly wants to personally review all decisions on the case, will be on holiday until then, FCO Iran Bilateral Team Leader Margaret Tongue on July 30 told London Iran Watcher (Poloff). Tongue said Tajik remains in the hospital, where medical testing of various sorts is continuing. Tajik's lawyers are, according to Tongue, considering other steps under UK (vice EU) law, including a possible writ of habeas corpus.

HMG Priorities --------------

2. (C) FCO has consistently stressed to Poloff two aspects of the Tajik case: an unequivocal intent to extradite Tajik but, at the same time, a desire to close all possible legal loopholes before going forward.

Embassy Comment ---------------

3. (C/NF) The practical effect of HMG's tactical caution has been a continuing delay, that will not necessarily be resolved by 1 September, in securing Tajik's extradition. There are several factors, both stated and unstated by FCO interlocutors, which likely affect HMG thinking:

-- First, FCO is explicit that HMG does not want to face a plausible after-the-fact legal challenge to an extradition. It especially does not want to be seen as having steamrolled a defendant with health problems, even though the seriousness of those problems is at issue. HMG has therefore not opposed the numerous medical test requests by the defense.

-- Second, that HMG was defeated and publicly embarrassed in court in a separate case, the Mujahadeen e Khalk's (MEK) listing under UK anti-terrorism laws, probably contributes to HMG's caution in the Tajik case; this is especially so in light of the growing political weakness of Prime Minister Brown's government.

-- Third, Tongue has indicated to Poloff that HMG continues to fear the possibility of violence against their staff in Tehran when is Tajik extradited. Despite the absence to date of violence against UK Embassy Tehran, Tajik is a senior insider, and Iranian officials' reaction to every development in his extradition so far has been unusually vehement.

-- Finally, HMG's own sensitivity to Iranian feelings about the Tajik case suggests a related possible factor, which FCO has obliquely argued to Poloff. FCO appears to believe, though it is unlikely to make the argument explicitly, that HMG is protecting P5 1 nuclear equities by going slow on Tajik. British Iran experts believe Iranian negotiating styles tend to link issues which compartmentalizing westerners see as logically unrelated or moral non-equivalents; by this logic, any bilateral issue, such as the Tajik extradition, which causes rancor in Iranian minds may create a risk in HMG's mind of impact on other, high priority equities, such as the nuclear file. Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX LeBaron

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