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Viewing cable 08LONDON2101, IRANIAN PUGWASH PARTICIPANTS CLAIM TEHRAN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08LONDON2101 2008-08-12 18:06 2011-02-04 21:09 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy London
VZCZCXRO8897
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHKUK
DE RUEHLO #2101/01 2251801
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 121801Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9473
INFO RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 05 LONDON 002101 
 
NOFORN 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/05/2018 
TAGS: PARM PINS PREL AG IR IS IZ LE UK
SUBJECT: IRANIAN PUGWASH PARTICIPANTS CLAIM TEHRAN 
INDIFFERENT TO SANCTIONS BUT WANTS DIRECT FLIGHTS 
 
REF: A. A) E-MAILS JULY 29-AUG 1 EMB LONDON (GAYLE) TO         NEA/IR      B. B) LONDON 1645      C. C) DUBAI 28  Classified By: Classified By: Political Counselor Rick Mills for reason s 1.4 (b) and (d)  

1.  (S) Summary:  Iranian government advisers at the most recent "Pugwash" Conference on Iran reportedly argued during the August 2-3 seminar that:  -- Iran wants direct flights to the United States addressed before any talks on  a U.S. interest section in Tehran;  -- sanctions do not affect Iran's leadership;  -- Iran resented the placing of a deadline on the P5 1's refreshed offer;  -- Iran will be unaffected by Israeli threats of pre-emptive attack;  -- Iran would not accept an international consortium on enrichment;  -- Iran and the United States should together focus on Afghan stability; and  -- any American scientists' visits to Iranian nuclear facilities must be reciprocal.    End summary    

2.  (S/NF) International Institute of Strategic Studies  non-proliferation expert Mark Fitzpatrick, a retired U.S.  Foreign Service Officer who was a principal participant at Pugwash, provided readout to London Iran Watcher (Poloff) about the two-day conference, held August 2-3 in The Hague.    

Iranian Participants: from MFA  and Jalili/Ahmedinejad Staffs  ------------------------------    

3.  (S/NF) Included among invited Iranian participants at  the Pugwash event were: Mojtana Hashemi Samareh, an  Ahmadinejad "Principal Advisor and Cabinet Member;"  Ambassador to IAEA Soltanieh, Jalili nuclear deputies  Assampour and Ali Bagheri, MFA Director for Europe Mustafa  Dolatya, and Ambassador to the Netherlands Reza Ziaran.  American participants included Fitzpatrick, Rep. Rush Holt  (D-NJ), former Defense Secretary William Perry, former  Ambassador William Miller of the Woodrow Wilson Center,  SFRC Senior staffer Paneet Talwar, and Stanford's Siegfried  Hecker.  The meeting was held in Iran House, next door to  the Iranian Embassy.    

Nuclear Issue  -------------     LONDON 00002101  002 OF 005   

4.  (S) As the conference was held shortly before the P5 1  received Jalili's one-page letter replying to the group's  nuclear offer, Iranians at Pugwash commented on timing,  saying a response would be coming "soon," and voicing  resentment that a deadline had been announced by the P5 1  governments.  The Iranians also complained that it was hard  to know which U.S. voice to believe, citing what they said  were "harsh words" from Washington immediately after the  July 19 Geneva meeting.    

5.  (S) U.S. participants underlined U.S policy on Iran  post-election would be unaffected by which party won and  advised Iranians not to expect a USG change of course.   U.S  participants also reportedly emphasized U.S. desire for a  changed relationship, pointing to Secretary Rice's  signature on the June P5 1  letter, Under Secretary Burns'  presence in Geneva July 19, and to the idea of a U.S.  interests section in Tehran; they emphasized time was  running short for an Iranian response.    

6.  (S/NF) A mid-level Iranian MFA official argued the  Secretary's signature and the Burns visit were actually  "negative" signals, in that they represented a final  diplomatic ploy before the imposition of further sanctions:  Fitzpatrick dismissed this line of argument as absurd.    

7.  (S/NF) After broad discussion of an international  consortium, including a listing of the numerous conditions  (e.g., facilities above ground, no tech transfer,  "black-boxing") Ambassador Pickering's group had attached to  its hypothetical consortium earlier in the year, the  Iranian delegation made clear Iran would firmly reject such  conditions.    

8.  (S) Regarding scientific exchanges whereby scientists from  both countries would meet to talk through ways to widen the  "thin line" separating military from civil nuclear  programs, there was some disagreement on the U.S. side  whether Iranian scientists would be able to get U.S. visas  to visit U.S. nuclear sites.  The Iranians were defensive  and insisted on the reciprocity of any such visits.    

Sanctions: Iranians Doth Protest Too Much  -----------------------------------------    LONDON 00002101  003 OF 005    

9.  (S/NF) Javed Hammanpour spoke privately to Fitzpatrick  on the margins, asking hypothetically how Iran would  benefit "if we suspended."  Fitzpatrick's answer, that  sanctions would in that case be suspended, was dismissed as  insignificant and insufficient by Hammanpour, who argued  that Iran is unaffected by sanctions, and that sanctions in  any case dove-tail with Tehran hard-liners' objectives, by  encouraging self-sufficiency.    

10.  (S/NF)  Fitzpatrick was skeptical of the Iranians'  claim that sanctions do not matter to them; he said the  Iranians on this point were throughout the conference on  this point insistent and repetitive, but unconvincing.   

Interest Section: Discuss Flights First  ---------------------------------------    

11.  (S)  The interest section issue was raised by the U.S.  side.  Samareh repeated Ahmedinejad's words, that if it was  formally proposed the idea would be considered positively,  but added there should first be preliminary steps,  including a positive response to Iran's request for direct  flights to the U.S.  Samareh went on to say that the Swiss  Embassy in Tehran should start (with Swiss staff) issuing a  limited number of U.S. visas; Samareh said this was a  personal proposal.  (Embassy comment: Coincidentally,  another Poloff contact, recently returned from Tehran where  he reportedly had repeated contact with several  ministries, has also been vigorously flogging to Poloff the direct  flights issue as of great importance to officials in  Tehran.  End comment.)    

12.  (S/NF) Other Iranians continued to press Fitzpatrick  on the margins on the direct flight issue.  Fitzpatrick  replied this would likely be impossible, given that the  likelihood of further sanctions would make opening direct  flights impossible.    

Israel: Rhetoric  ----------------    

13.  (S/NF)  U.S comments on Israeli anxiety prompted a  strong reaction, about Iran not responding to threats, as  well as comments that Israel was run by "madmen" and would   LONDON 00002101  004 OF 005   implode.  Fitzpatrick pointed out to Iranian interlocutors the  mirror-imaging they might be doing in making such comments.     

Afghanistan: An Iranian Focus  -----------------------------    

14.  (S) In the larger sessions Iranian comments centered  on the lack of help it gets in fighting drug trafficking  amidst increasing opium production.  In private, Hammanpour  said Iran and the U.S., instead of being "distracted" by  the nuclear issue, should be acting together to reverse the  downward spiral of instability and insurgency in  Afghanistan.   

Embassy Comment  ---------------    

15.  (S/NF) Given the make-up of the Iranian delegation (limited to Jalili-Ahmedinejad aides and to the MFA) some of the conference's apparent dynamics may be significant:   

A)  Fitzpatrick noted the negotiating style of some  participants, such as Ahmedinejad advisor Samareh, seemed  at times to veer from rational, measured points to  overheated rhetoric, especially on Israel, but when  Fitzpatrick pushed back politely but pointedly, discussion  resumed on a more rational basis;    

B)  in contrast with MFA reps who repeated rigidly  anti-U.S. formulae, Jalili's deputies, at least in private,  seemed to show slightly more flexibility, thus mirroring  the marginally greater openness Jalili showed Solana and  Political Directors (minus the U.S.) June 14-15 in Tehran  (ref b);    

C)  Ahmedinejad advisor Samareh's broad dismissal of a  consortium seems consistent with information (ref c) that  the May Iran proposal, which included a consortium  component, was authored by Javad Larijani, brother of (Ali  Larijani) a major Ahmedinejad rival; and    

D) finally, the Iranians' profession of indifference to  sanctions, which Fitzpatrick found unconvincing, went hand  in hand, and incongruously, with their notable interest in  direct flights between Iran and the United States.    LONDON 00002101  005 OF 005    Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX
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