Cablegate: Qatar,S Prime Minister On Iran: "They Lie to Us;


DE RUEHDO #0728/01 3541214
P 201214Z DEC 09

S E C R E T DOHA 000728


E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/14/2019

Classified By: Ambassador Joseph E. LeBaron, for reasons 1.4 (b, d).

-- Deputy Secretary of Energy Poneman and Ambassador met
December 10 with Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani
(HBJ) to discuss energy research and development, critical
infrastructure protection, and Iran.

-- HBJ indicated Qatar,s interest in a bilateral critical
infrastructure protection partnership.

-- The PM was skeptical about the plausibility of Iranian
acceptance of a nuclear compromise, saying he would be
shocked if Iran abided by a deal to ship Low-Enriched Uranium
(LEU) out of Iran.

-- The best way to deal with the Iranians, he said, is to get
them to dictate the terms of any such deal. The U.S. and its
partners should strive to get the Iranians to put the details
in writing, including timetables for implementation.

-- HBJ characterized Qatar,s relationship with Iran as one
in which "they lie to us, and we lie to them."

-- According to HBJ, the GOQ tells Iran that it should
"listen to the West,s proposal or there will be military
action. If not by the U.S., then by the Israelis by the
middle of next year."

End Key Points.

1. (C) Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman and
Ambassador met December 10 with Prime Minister Hamad bin
Jassim Al Thani. Also present on the American side was State
Department Coordinator for International Energy Affairs,
David Goldwyn. DepSec Poneman thanked the Prime Minister for
the meeting and expressed his hope that the U.S. and Qatar
could strengthen their bilateral and investment ties.


2. (C) The Deputy Secretary extended USG appreciation to the
Prime Minister for Qatar,s support for the victims of
Hurricane Katrina. The PM observed in response that "We might
have our own Katrina," an apparent reference to security
concerns arising from Qatar,s relationship with Iran. Deputy
Secretary offered U.S. help to Qatar in protecting its
critical infrastructure and in addressing its broader
security concerns. Expressing interest in critical
infrastructure protection, HBJ said he would talk to the
Ministries of Energy and Interior on how best to take
advantage of U.S. assistance.


3. (C) The Deputy Secretary raised science and technology
investment, noting DoE interest in partnering with the GOQ on
energy-related research and development projects. As an
example of possible cooperation, DepSec Poneman cited
computer simulation, emphasizing that the DOE national
laboratories are international leaders in the field.

4. (C) The Deputy Secretary reported that DoE had recently
invested in a nanotechnology program and cited this as
another possible area of cooperation, telling the PM there
are additional opportunities for GOQ partnerships with
private labs. Shaykh Hamad immediately expressed strong
interest in nanotechnology, and asked the DepSec to provide
him with a paper on that subject. The DepSec agreed, and
added that he would be pleased to host Shaykh Hamad at the
Sandia nanotechnology facility or another national lab.

5. (C) Turning to genomics and solar technology as they
relate to food production and Qatar,s National Food Security
Program, Shaykh Hamad told the Deputy Secretary that he
supported research in those fields, but expressed his opinion
that Qatar,s investment in food and solar technology must be
done on a commercial basis.


6. (S) DepSec Poneman asked HBJ for his views on Iran,s
nuclear program. The Deputy Secretary noted that the USG had
entered into recent discussions with Iran not out of naivet,
but as an effort to address a humanitarian concern (the need
for medical isotopes) while also attempting to remove a

meaningful amount of special nuclear material. Even though
the effort had not to date resulted in Iranian agreement, it
had borne fruit in the form of Russian and Chinese support
for the most recent resolution of the IAEA Board of Governors
in Vienna. The PM expressed his skepticism that the West
would be able to reach a deal with Iran,s leaders, saying
"I,d be surprised and shocked if the Iranians do a deal. You
always think you have a deal with them and then you don,t."
He continued, "The EU, Chirac, and Solana...they all thought
they had a deal... Solana said two weeks; I advised him it
would take two years."

7. (S) Asked for his advice on how best to approach the
Iranians, HBJ said it is imperative that the Iranians commit
to draft any deal, including a timetable. He reiterated that
it is important to "make them tell you (what they will do).
Otherwise they will say 'yes, but...' and the 'but' will be
worse than a 'no.'" The Deputy Secretary countered that,
"They don,t want to make a proposal." To which HBJ
responded, "You don,t understand. Even Mousavi can,t make a
deal!" Poneman pressed the issue, saying the U.S. would not
be offering a better deal than what is currently on the
table. The Prime Minster said, "I know, but this is the way
they are."

8. (S) Referring to the current proposal on the Tehran
Research Reactor (TRR), Deputy Secretary Poneman stressed:
"This is a fleeting opportunity. If they don,t take this
deal, what comes next is worse." The PM noted that the
Iranians frequently press the Qataris to have dialogue on
their shared natural gas field and attempt to expand the
dialogue to include other subjects. HBJ said that the
Qataris "are always throwing cold water on their ideas."

9. (S) On Qatar,s close ties with Iran, the PM added that he
knows the U.S. becomes upset at times by what it hears about
the Qatar/Iran relationship. However he characterized the
relationship as one in which "They lie to us, and we lie to
them." Poneman replied by underscoring that "It would be
helpful if everywhere they went, they (the Iranians) heard
the same thing." The PM said for Qatar,s part, he had told
Iran that it should "listen to the West, s proposal or there
will be military action. If not by the U.S., then by the
Israelis by the middle of next year." Poneman observed that
the Russians had pressed the Iranians hard during the Vienna
negotiations, reinforcing the view that Iranian failure to
accept the Tehran Research Reactor deal would lead back to
the UN Security Council. The PM asked if the U.S. believes
the Russians were in agreement with the U.S. on the
possibility of harsher measures. Poneman replied that, for
now, the Russians appear to be holding a similar line to the
USG on the TRR deal and we remain in close contact with

10. (U) This cable has been cleared by DepSec Poneman at
Department of Energy.

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