Search

 

Cablegate: Prc/Iran: Scholar Suggests U.S. Negotiate Se

VZCZCXRO0374
OO RUEHBC RUEHCN RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHGH RUEHKUK RUEHTRO RUEHVC
DE RUEHBJ #2438/01 2370941
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 250941Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY BEIJING
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5775
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BEIJING 002438

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/25/2029
TAGS: PREL PARM ENRG PTER MNUC IR CH
SUBJECT: PRC/IRAN: SCHOLAR SUGGESTS U.S. NEGOTIATE SE
CRETLY WITH IRAN

REF: BEIJING 1803

Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Aubrey Carlson. Reasons 1.
4 (b/d).

1. (C) SUMMARY: The unstable post-election political climate
in Iran likely precludes the initiation of formal
negotiations with Iran on ceasing its uranium enrichment
program, according to a PRC scholar. Though Iran is sincere
in wishing to reach out to the United States on broader
bilateral issues, it remains wary of "falling into a trap" in
bilateral negotiations. Under these circumstances, the
scholar suggests, the United States should undertake "se
cret" talks with Iran that would entail a U.S. concession
allowing Iran some nuclear enrichment activities in return
for Iran's adherence to a strict IAEA safeguard agreement,
its cessation of support for Hamas and Hizbollah, and
cooperation in Iraq and Afghanistan. China has encouraged
Iran to enter into negotiations with the United States,
according to our contact, while the United States is involved
in regional conflicts where Iran could play a positive role.
However, the scholar stressed, pressing for additional
sanctions through the P5-plus-1 mechanism would be
counterproductive and put China in a "difficult position" of
having to side with either the United States or Iran. END
SUMMARY.

2. (C) Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the
MFA-affiliated China Institute for International Studies
(CIIS) and frequent media commentator on Middle East issues
XXXXXXXXXXXX told PolOff August 24 that though the unexpected
turmoil surrounding the June 12 Iranian election had
politically weakened both President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and
supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, both they and
opposition candidate Mir Hussein Moussavi were "one side of a
coin" in that none of them supported the suspension of Iran's
uranium enrichment activities.

Post-Election Atmosphere Not Right for Negotiations
--------------------------------------------- ------

3. (C) Li argued that Ahmadinejad's congratulatory letter
sent to President Obama following the 2008 U.S. elections had
been a sincere indication of the Iranian leadership's
willingness to talk. Li said he had learned that former
Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati had discreetly
contacted USG officials prior to the June 12 presidential
election in Iran, agreeing to resume bilateral contacts after
the election concluded, but that the turmoil and the
lingering instability in Iran had prevented movement on that
initiative. Li reported that his contacts in Iran had
recently said that the Iranian political climate
post-election was still not stable enough for the leadership
to engage in public negotiations on the nuclear issue.

"Obama Factor"
--------------

4. (C) Li said an additional factor adding to the Iranian
leadership's reticence to reach out to the United States was
President Obama's positive image among the Iranian public.
("Obama is with us," was an example of public sentiment
reported to him by his Iranian contacts.) Despite the fact
that the leadership was satisfied with President Obama's
statements after the June election, Iranian leaders were wary
of "falling into a trap" in negotiations with United States.
Li suggested that Khamenei remained suspicious of the United
Kingdom, France and Germany based on the Iranian leadership's
perception that these countries had played a role in stirring
post-election turmoil.

Grand Bargain in the Works?
---------------------------

5. (C) Li stated that Iran agreeing to suspend uranium
enrichment unilaterally or completely was a "non-starter."
Li cited unnamed contacts in the United States "with close
access to policy-makers on Iran" to support his belief that
the United States would be willing to accept some
internationally-supervised uranium enrichment by Iran. This
would be a concession, Li said, that "the Europeans would
have great difficulty accepting." To make such a concession
diplomatically palatable, Li continued, the United States in
return would expect Iran's cessation of support for Hamas and
Hizbollah, among other terrorist groups in the region, and
its cooperation in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, Li
suggested, the United States would expect Iran to agree to a
stricter IAEA safeguard agreement that would control Iran's
nuclear activities and include terms that would be integrated
into the NPT as a basis for further safeguards governing all

BEIJING 00002438 002 OF 002


NPT signatory countries (reftel). He stated that before
agreeing to a low level of Iranian enrichment activity, the
United States would insist Iran implement a
six-to-twelve-month freeze on nuclear enrichment activities.

6. (C) Li stressed that any Iranian nuclear program
negotiations, which he believed would be lengthy, should be
"se cret" and seek to produce a "win/win" scenario for both
countries. Li stated that Iran had doubts about the USG's
ability to enter such a bargain, given U.S. political
pressures, and that to the Iranians, a signal of U.S.
sincerity to move forward might come through an unofficial
visit along the lines of Henry Kissinger's late June trip to
China to discuss North Korea sanctions or former President
Clinton's early August visit to Pyongyang to effect the
release of the two American journalists, which in his view
had allowed the atmosphere for negotiations with the DPRK to
improve. Li suggested that former President Clinton could
perhaps secure the release of the American hikers detained by
Iranian authorities. Li stated that the key element of a
Kissinger visit would be the former Secretary of State's
ability to have discreet, private and informal discussions.

China Urges Iran to Reach Out to the United States
--------------------------------------------- -----

7. (C) Despite U.S.-Iranian tensions, the PRC had encouraged
Iran to take advantage of current circumstances to mend ties
with the United States, according to Li, arguing that the
United States would be more open to making concessions now
because it was in a relatively weaker position tending to a
number of trouble spots around the world, including the
Middle East and South Asia, and needed Iran's help in Iraq
and Afghanistan. However, as the United States regained its
position of strength, according to Li, its willingness to
make concessions would disappear. Li reported that MFA West
Asian and North African Affairs Department Director General
Song Aiguo had affirmed to him recently that China "would do
whatever it could" to assist communication between the United
States and Iran. Asked whether Iran viewed China as a fair
broker, Li said, "Iran trusts nobody." While Iran understood
China's interests in Iran, the Iranian leadership believed
that when pushed to make a choice, China would side with the
United States over Iran.

P5 plus 1: A Show for Public Consumption
----------------------------------------

8. (C) Li stated that the P5-plus-1 process "was for public
consumption" and that expectations of its success should be
minimal. Acknowledging the increasing pressure for
additional sanctions given Iran's current unresponsiveness to
offers of engagement, Li stated that pushing for additional
sanctions would play to the hard-liners' advantage in Iran
and not bring any change in Iranian behavior. In addition,
the prospect of imposing additional sanctions would put China
in a "difficult position" of choosing between its interests
vis-a-vis the United States and Iran, a choice it hoped to
avoid.
HUNTSMAN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN News: UN Strongly Condemns Knife Attack Inside Nice Church Which Left Three Dead

The UN Secretary-General on Thursday strongly condemned a knife attack inside a French church in the southern French city of Nice, which reportedly left three worshippers dead. In a statement released by his Spokesperson, António Guterres extended his ... More>>

ALRANZ: Denounces US Senate Confirmation Of Judge Barrett

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa denounces the US Senate’s confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court seat formerly held by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. “This action demonstrates the rank hypocrisy of the once-respected upper chamber ... More>>

UN News: Millions Affected As Devastating Typhoon Strikes Viet Nam

A major typhoon has struck central Viet Nam, affecting millions of people – including about 2.5 million children – in a region already reeling from the effects of severe floods, according to UN agencies in the country. There are also reports that 174 ... More>>

Reporters Without Borders: Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing Marred By Barriers To Open Justice

After monitoring four weeks of evidence in the US extradition proceedings against Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates concern regarding the targeting of Assange for his contributions to journalism, and calls ... More>>