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Cablegate: Interview of Iran's Departing Ambassador to Oman

VZCZCXRO1479
RR RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHKUK
DE RUEHMS #1075 3431456
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 091456Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY MUSCAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1031
INFO IRAN COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS MUSCAT 001075

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV IR MU
SUBJECT: INTERVIEW OF IRAN'S DEPARTING AMBASSADOR TO OMAN

REF: MUSCAT 847

1. (SBU) Summary: In his farewell interview with the Omani press,
Iran's ambassador to Oman discussed the Sultan's visit to Iran, the
nuclear issue, U.S.-Iranian relations, and the Houthi rebellion in
Yemen. In one statement he perhaps includes himself in a grouping
of Iranian officials who could reach out to the West. End Summary.

2. (U) After a posting of three years, the Iranian ambassador to
Oman, Murtadha Rahimi, is returning to Tehran. Prior to departure,
he gave an interview to the private Arabic daily "al Shabiba,"
published on December 6. "Shabiba's" English-language sister
publication, "The Times of Oman" summarized the interview on
December 7.

3. (SBU) Rahimi praised the Sultan and stated that there is a
strong link between Iran and Oman, but his only clear statement was
that the policies of both countries are based on "respecting each
other and ensuring a peaceful solution to any problem." He spoke
at length about Qaboos's visit to Iran in August (reftel). He used
the major part of the interview to recount the visit as covered in
the Omani press at the time. Rahimi reviewed in detail the seven
bilateral agreements signed during that trip, as reported reftel.

4. (SBU) Responding to the interviewer's allegation that the
Iranian nuclear program is for military purposes, the outgoing
ambassador noted "some powerful countries try to spread such rumors
to refute the Iranian nuclear program because they do not want the
Iranian nuclear program to exist. In fact, these counties have
unlimited nuclear stores, however the world could now be sure that
Iran does not intend to use its nuclear program for military
purposes. Everyone is aware now that Iran's nuclear program is 100
percent peaceful." He said the program is for the entire Islamic
world. He continued that "these countries which are standing
against Iran are not prepared to accept the idea of the evolution
of Islamic countries and thus Iran with its nuclear program has
been the focus of attention of many countries."

5. (SBU) On reports of Iran's support for the Houthi rebellion in
northern Yemen, Rahimi similarly noted that there are those who
"distort Iran's image, instill fear in the hearts of communities
and disseminate the distinction between Iran and other countries.
... What would Iran benefit from supporting Houthis? All what
have been stressed are just rumors and the Western media takes an
advantage to publish it and to emphasize wrong facts."

6. (SBU) However, when asked about America, Rahimi struck an
interesting note: "I think that American policy has changed
somewhat after Obama governance [sic.] ... The previous policy
created alienation and anger among many of the communities, but now
there is a kind of understanding." His previous complaint was
against "powerful countries;" he did not call the United States by
name at that point. [Comment: While Rahimi for the most part
offers the standard Iranian litany, this statement places him among
the Iranian officials who could possibly see a change in Iranian
policy. During his tenure in Muscat he was seen by his colleagues
as a moderate, reasonable Iranian diplomat. End Comment.]
Schmierer

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