Cablegate: Brazil On Iran: A Soft Voice in the Chorus

DE RUEHBR #1170/01 2611510
P 181510Z SEP 09



E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/18/2019

REF: A. STATE 95073
B. STATE 94757
C. STATE 91633 D.

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Classified By: Charge D'Affaires Lisa Kubiske for reasons 1.4 (b) and ( d).

1. (C) Summary. Brazilian MRE Undersecretary for Political Affairs Roberto Jaguaribe, recently returned from a diplomatic mission to Tehran, told Charge D'Affaires on September 16 that additional dialogue rather than sanctions will be most the most effective means of pressuring Iran to develop a responsible nuclear program. Jaguaribe emphasized that Iran's nuclear program enjoys broad internal support and will not ultimately be stopped, so the goal should be to push Iran to follow international nuclear guidelines. He said that top Iranian officials draw a distinction between IAEA directives, which they are attempting to follow, and UNSC resolutions, which they view as unfair and in some cases illegitimate. Jaguaribe said he told the Iranians they are still not meeting their IAEA responsibilities, but he believes they are making progress. The Undersecretary did not discount the possibility of Brazil making a statement on Iran at UNGA but said any such remarks would be "balanced," referencing Iran's lack of full compliance along with Brazil's basic skepticism toward sanctions as a motivating tool. End summary.

Back from Tehran ----------------

2. (C) Upon returning from his September 9-10 visit to Tehran, Undersecretary Jaguaribe took great care in his meeting with CDA to give not only the Brazilian but also the Iranian perspective to the points made in reftels A, B, and C. While in Iran, he met with Foreign Minister Manouchir Mottaki, National Security Council official Said Jalili, and Parliamentiary Foreign Policy Chair Aladdin Bourojerdi, among others. He issued joint press statements in Iran with each of these men to the effect that dialogue, not sanctions, was the key to solving the dispute at hand. In his meeting with CDA, Jaguaribe's core message was not substantively different, but he went into greater detail on areas in which he had pressed Iran, areas where he saw Iran as non-compliant, and thoughts on how to influence them toward compliance. The Undersecretary's basic view of post-election Iran had not changed. He characterized the nation a compromised democracy, but with a robust civil society that will make them ultimately open to substantive negotiation.

Brazil's Message to Iran ------------------------

3. (C) Jaguaribe was careful to point out that, despite the friendly press conferences and the desire to schedule an Ahmadinejad visit to Brasilia in December, he raised specific criticisms with Iranian officials about their nuclear program. Most notably, he said that he told Mottaki and others that Iran was still not carrying out all its IAEA responsibilities, despite the late August decision to allow inspectors at Natanz and Arak. He also viewed the September 9 proposal to the P5 1 by the Iranian government, which was forwarded to him by the Iranians, as far too general to be an effective point of departure for further discussion. Jaguaribe said he had asked the Iranians to be more specific in their dialogue, and he told us that he thought the Iranians could be brought around to the point where they would make more specific proposals.

Brazilian Views on IAEA Report and Amcit Demarches --------------------------------------------- -----

4. (C) During the meeting, Jaguaribe agreed with the U.S. interpretation of the main points of the IAEA report (ref C), i.e., that Iran has refused to suspend proliferation-senstive nuclear activities as required by the UNSC, has refused to implement the additional protocol, and has only partially cooperated with IAEA inspection demands. At times he reflected Iranian views without endorsing them, such as his reference to IAEA questions about past weaponization-related activities as "alleged reports." Jaguaribe had no immediate response to our demarche concerning Amcits detained in Iran (ref B) but sounded favorably disposed. During his meetings in Tehran, Iran gave Jaguaribe their own list of complaints/demands toward the U.S. These included complaints about "three U.S. Army personnel detained last month in Kurdistan," extradition of several Iranians, and disappearance of Iranians in Saudi Arabia and Istanbul.

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Brazilian Engagement Strategy ------------------------------

5. (C) While trying to outline an overall engagement strategy toward Iran, Jaguaribe emphasized repeatedly that Iran will never give up its nuclear enrichment program, though it may be pressured into suspending it for periods of time. He argued that Iran's nuclear program is broadly popular across all segments of society, including most government opponents and members of the exile community. Therefore, he continued, sanctions should not be used because the pain caused by them would push Iranians "with alternative views" toward supporting the current regime on a rare issue in which they are in general agreement. (He believed that oil import sanctions would be especially damaging to Iran's economy -- and especially effective in rallying popular Iranian support for its nuclear program.) Jaguaribe believed that the Iranian government was ultimately persuadable to follow international protocols, if pressured by both the international community and its civil society. He praised earlier U.S. efforts to initiate dialogue on the issue, and said that continued dialogue, even if not immediately successful, strengthens the hand of the more liberal elements of Iranian society.

Iranian, Brazilian Views on IAEA, UNSC --------------------------------------

6. (C) The Iranians pressed upon Jaguaribe their view that IAEA safeguards (and related directives) constitute broadly agreed upon international technical norms that the Iranians can follow, and will work to adhere to in the future. The Arak and Natanz inspections were cited as cases in point. Jaguaribe left convinced that the Iranians fully believe they are following IAEA guidelines -- a point of view that the Undersecretary characterized to CDA as "delusional." Tehran drew a distinction between the IAEA and the UNSC, which they view as a body issuing political decisions that are "not legitimate." Jaguaribe did not endorse this view but said of the Iran-UNSC relationship, "there needs to be some movement on both sides." (Note: Brazil has long held the position that nuclear matters are best dealt with in the IAEA, and not in the UNSC. End note.) He added that a UN proposal related to nuclear disarmament would be helpful to resolve the impasse. He praised recent U.S. efforts in this regard and hoped more would be forthcoming.

Expanding the Chorus: Statement at UNGA ---------------------------------------

7. (C) Regarding the request outlined in ref A, Jaguaribe said there was a possibility that Brazil would consider addressing Iran's nuclear program in its UNGA statement. He said that any such mention would be a balanced reference, mentioning both Iran's need to meet IAEA and UNSC responsibilties while expressing skepticism toward UNSC sanctions as a motivating tool. He also said that Brazil would not shy away from saying that Iran's September 9 response to the P5 1 needs to be more robust to be effective. (Comment: We believe it is very doubtful that Brazil will actually reference Iran in its UNGA statement. End comment.)

Comment -------

8. (C) Having returned from Tehran less than a week earlier, Jaguaribe focused on the approach he believed would work best in resolving the disconnect between Iran's confidence that it has given satisfactory answers about its nuclear program and the sense in the international community that the Iranians must be moved toward compliance. In general, Brazil can be expected to continue a cautious approach to the issue, keeping in mind its sometimes-competing desires to increase commercial relations with Iran, to develop Brazilian nuclear military technology for non-weaponmaking purposes without drawing international attention, and to gain a permanent UNSC seat -- with the last goal being most important. In the short run, the easiest way for the GOB to massage the various interests is to call for increased multilateral dialogue and adherence to IAEA standards in order to forestall having to take a firm position in the UN on sanctions once Brazil assumes its temporary seat on the UNSC in January 2010. Brazil is aware, however, that Iranian compliance with IAEA safeguards would not necessarily equal Iran becoming a responsible nuclear power -- as Jaguaribe mused during the meeting. In light of its traditional hesitance to take firm positions on contentious country-specific issues, and with visits by Ahmadinejad to Brazil and top Brazilian officials

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to Iran being planned for the next few months, Brazil will have a soft voice in the chorus -- but may prove useful nonetheless if senior GOB officials can be encouraged to whisper into Iran's ear the idea that negotiation and compliance are its best option. End comment.


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