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Cablegate: Brazil: Ambassador's Meetings with Mre Under Secretaries For

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E.O. 12958: DECL: 2020/02/19
TAGS: PREL KNNP IR CH BR
SUBJECT: BRAZIL: AMBASSADOR'S MEETINGS WITH MRE UNDER SECRETARIES FOR
POLITICAL AFFAIRS

REF: STATE 12108

CLASSIFIED BY: Thomas A. Shannon, Ambassador, State, Embassy
Brasilia; REASON: 1.4(B), (D)

1. (C) Summary. In separate meetings with Ambassador Shannon
February 9, MRE Under Secretaries for Political Affairs I Vera
Machado and Political Affairs II Roberto Jaguaribe both focused on
concerns that Iranian domestic issues would make a solution to the
nuclear issues difficult to achieve. Machado, who covers relations
with the United States, among other issues, said the GOB is looking
forward to a visit by Secretary Clinton and focused the discussion
on South America regional issues. Jaguaribe, who is responsible for
East, Central, and South Asia and Iran, spoke at length about
Brazil's views on Iran, relations with China, and the upcoming BRIC
(Brazil, Russia, India, and China) summit in Brasilia. End
summary.

Iran and Nuclear Issues

2. (C) Consistent with his message in previous engagements,
Jaguaribe offered broad praise for President Obama's efforts to
"interface with Iran in a more comprehensive way," and emphasized
that Iran's eventual acceptance of the core P5+1 proposal is the
only plausible solution to the crisis. Jaguaribe expressed doubts
that Iran would accept the solution in its current political
climate, and suggested that the strong anti-Iranian positions taken
in the United States and the European Union have conditioned the
Iranian government and people to think that any offer made by the
United States cannot be acceptable. Jaguaribe called Iran's
nuclear program an expression of national identity, a symbol
galvanizing popular support for the regime. Likewise he viewed any
sanctions as automatically strengthening the position of hard-line
elements in the Iranian government. He strongly encouraged more
engagement with Iran before considering sanctions in the UN.
Jaguaribe said that third-party engagement - including Turkey, but
"not necessarily Brazil" - would be a key to success given Iranian
skepticism of the United States and Europe as primary messengers.
He expressed interest in continuing discussion with U.S. officials
concerning Iran. For her part, Machado, who also covers
non-proliferation and UNSC issues, reiterated the GOB view that
Iran has a right to peaceful nuclear power, but expressed concern
about how the situation with Iran was developing. She suggested a
"new path" was needed, but like Jaguaribe, she worried that
multiple centers of power within Iran would make it difficult to
find a way forward.

Iran and Human Rights

3. (C) When pressed about human rights in Iran, Jaguaribe
acknowledged a negative and worsening situation but also asked why
we were singling out Iran when several of its neighbors are less
democratic with worse human rights performance. The Ambassador
laid out the concerns in reftel, including our objections to Iran's
potential bid for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council.
Jaguaribe had no immediate response to the demarche points but
emphasized that Brazil has registered its human rights concerns
with Iran several times, particularly concerning treatment of the
Baha'i. He added that Iran's increased use of paramilitaries in
order to maintain order is a sign of the regime's weakness.
Jaguaribe acknowledged the Brazilian's Embassy lack of capacity to
assess popular support for the government but still spoke of Iran's
government as essentially stable and capable of reaching and
honoring agreements.

Regional Stability

4. (C) Machado said the GOB would welcome a visit by Secretary
Clinton and discussed a number of Brazil's neighbors with the
Ambassador. She said that Brazil is watching the situation in
Venezuela carefully, noting that Chavez faces a number of internal
problems. She thought that there was a chance for improvement
following the September 2010 legislative elections because there
were a number of "lesser known" political figures who may emerge
with more influence. Machado believed that the situation in
Bolivia had stabilized but remained concerned about connections
between the government and coca growers. She acknowledged the
threat to the region of drug trafficking but identified the primary
source of the problem as consumption in rich countries.


Building with BRICs

5. (C) Recently returned from a trip to China in preparation for
the April 15-16 BRIC summit in Brasilia, Jaguaribe spoke candidly
about the difficulties in developing an agenda and an overall
mission for BRIC. China, he felt, presented a particular challenge
to Brazil given different perceptions by the Chinese about what a
group like BRIC would mean. Jaguaribe emphasized that China is
very cautious not to make BRIC look like a group opposing the
interests of established powers and as a result works to make the
agenda less than fully precise. China is also especially sensitive
to concerns from developing nations that don't want BRIC to purport
to speak as the voice for developing countries. The Under
Secretary also spoke about the difficulty of organizing a group
agenda under these circumstances, commenting, "This is a very
heterogeneous group of countries with different goals, but the
interest is there."

China: The "Communist Dynasty"

6. (C) Jaguaribe joked that the Chinese government would one day
be referred to as the "Communist Dynasty," and expressed minor
exasperation about the difficulty of finding the right person in
the government to talk with about major issues. Ambassador Shannon
noted that China's capacity to engage successfully in South America
has evolved rapidly. What began as a commercial and trade-based
relationship is now gaining a political component. The Chinese, he
noted, are constantly evaluating their performance and improving
their game. He told Jaguaribe, "China will be a tough competitor,
for the United States and Brazil."
SHANNON

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