Cablegate: Demarche Request: Managing the Visit of Iranian President Ahmadinejad to Brazil (S/Es: 200921227)

Published: Mon 16 Nov 2009 07:07 PM
INFO LOG-00 AF-00 AID-00 A-00 CIAE-00 INL-00 DODE-00
DS-00 DHSE-00 VCI-00 OBO-00 H-00 TEDE-00 INR-00
IO-00 LAB-01 L-00 CAC-00 MOFM-00 MOF-00 VCIE-00
NEA-00 NSAE-00 ISN-00 NSCE-00 OCS-00 OES-00 OIC-00
OMB-00 NIMA-00 PA-00 P-00 ISNE-00 DOHS-00 FMPC-00
SP-00 SSO-00 SS-00 T-00 NCTC-00 BBG-00 IIP-00
DSCC-00 PRM-00 DRL-00 G-00 SAS-00 FA-00 GSWA-00
SWCI-00 SNKP-00 PESU-00 SRND-00 SANA-00 /001R
O 161908Z NOV 09
C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 118094
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/12/2019
REF: Brasilia 1300
Classified by: Under Secretary William J. Burns, Reasons 1.4. (B) and (D)
1. (U) This is an action request for Embassy Brasilia. Please see paragraphs 5-6.
2. (C) Summary. The Department requests Embassy Brasilia persuade Brazilian officials to use the expected November 23 visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Brazil to urge Iran's constructive engagement with the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany (P5+1) on its nuclear program, its full compliance with UN Security Council resolutions and its assistance in freeing unjustly imprisoned American citizens. End Summary.
OBJECTIVES ----------
3. (C) Post should persuade highest appropriate officials to advance the following objectives during Ahmadinejad's visit:
--Encourage Iran's engagement with the P5+1 on its nuclear program, specifically:
--Urge Iran to accept the IAEA's offer, supported and guaranteed by Russia, France, and the United States, to provide fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) in exchange for a portion of Iran's existing stockpile of Low Enriched Uranium (LEU); and
--Highlight the opportunity for Iran to improve its international relations, including with the United States, by committing to an urgent and regular process of dialogue with the P5+1 on the issues surrounding Iran's nuclear program and other issues that Iran wishes to raise. --Press for Iranian compliance with all UN Security Council and IAEA requirements on its nuclear program.
--Urge the speedy release of American citizens unjustly held in Iran. If raised by the Brazilians, post should discourage Brazilian support for any alternatives to refuel the TRR that do not feature the removal of LEU from Iran. Such alternatives would undermine international efforts to build confidence in Iran's nuclear program. Under Secretary Burns will also pursue these objectives with U/S Machado during her visit to Washington on November 16.
DEADLINE --------
4. (U) Please report results by November 20.
BACKGROUND ----------
5. (C) Post may draw on the following background points in working with the Brazilian government:
General Overview ----------------
-- Since President Obama took office, he has made clear the willingness of the United States to engage with Iran and to launch a new relationship based on mutual respect and recognition of each other's interests.
-- He has authorized the United States' full participation in diplomatic discussions between the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany and Iran without pre-conditions.
-- The United States has stated its support for Iran's full right to a civilian nuclear program within IAEA guidelines, provided Iran meets its international obligations and carries out its responsibilities within the NPT framework.
-- As a way to build confidence, the United States, with Russia and France, has also supported the IAEA's proposal to respond positively to Iran's request for nuclear fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR), in spite of Iran's continuing violation of UNSC resolutions and noncompliance with IAEA requirements on its nuclear program.
-- However, almost one year into the Obama administration, Iran has not taken practical, concrete steps that would begin to create confidence in its nuclear intentions. Iran: o Continues to enrich uranium despite UNSC requirements that it suspend such operations; o Revealed it had been building a secret uranium enrichment facility at a military base near Qom, in violation of its safeguards agreement; o Continues to refuse cooperation with the IAEA in addressing the full range of IAEA questions about the peaceful purposes of its nuclear program; o Has not accepted the IAEA proposal to refuel the TRR; and o Since meeting with representatives of the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany in Geneva on October 1, has refused all subsequent efforts to schedule another meeting to discuss its nuclear program.
-- Iran's failure to take advantage of these numerous opportunities raises serious questions about the intentions of its nuclear program that deserve urgent international attention.
Background on the Tehran Research Reactor -----------------------------------------
-- The IAEA, Russia, France, and the United States cooperated closely and flexibly to find a way to respond positively to Iran's request for fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) so that it could keep running to meet medical needs beyond 2010.
-- The TRR refueling proposal offers Iran the opportunity to convert its stockpile of low enriched uranium (LEU) into higher-enriched fuel with the help of Russia and France. The proposal's elements are simple: o Iran would transfer a portion of its LEU necessary for fuel production in one batch to IAEA custody outside of Iran before the end of the year; o Russia would further enrich the LEU to meet fuel requirements; and o France would fabricate the fuel assemblies and return them to Iran before Iran's fuel supplies are depleted before the end of the year.
-- In addition, the United States expressed a commitment to work with the IAEA to improve safety and control features at the TRR.
-- The United States, France, and Russia took great political risks in supporting the deal, especially in light of Iran's continuing violation of successive UNSC resolutions and IAEA requirements, including its secret construction of a uranium enrichment facility near Qom, and its continuing enrichment operations.
-- We did so because the arrangement would begin to build confidence and would give Iran and the international community more time to reach a comprehensive negotiated solution to Iran's nuclear program, while fulfilling Iran's humanitarian needs.
-- When Iran expressed concern about the reliability of the proposal, the United States and its partners expressed to the IAEA a willingness to address Iran's concerns, including through: o a U.S. offer to formally join the deal as a signatory; o a readiness of the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany to guarantee the deal through a political statement of support; o a willingness to help secure finance for the movement of the LEU and fuel; o an openness to move the LEU to any number of locations outside of Iran; and o a willingness to support the IAEA's holding material equivalent to the fuel in escrow as a guarantee for Iran of the fuel's ultimate delivery.
-- After reaching an agreement in principle in the deal following talks with the E3+3 in Geneva on October 1, and following further technical discussions at the IAEA October 19-21, Iran has failed to accept the deal to date.
Iran's Intentions -----------------
-- This raises a question about Iran's intentions. If Iran is enriching uranium to meet its civilian reactor fuel needs, why would it not accept an international offer (with significant guarantees) to provide its LEU for fuel to power the TRR to meet its humanitarian needs, particularly since Iran does not have the capability to produce the reactor fuel on its own?
-- This question is troubling in the context of Iran's continued enrichment activities in defiance of UNSC resolutions; its secret construction of an enrichment facility on a military base near Qom; its refusal to cooperate with the IAEA in answering questions about the peaceful nature of its nuclear program; and its refusal to meet with the five permanent members of the Security Council.
-- Together with our P5+1 partners, the United States informed Iranian representatives in Geneva on October 1 of our willingness to discuss any items of concern to Iran -- both bilaterally and multilaterally -- in addition to our concerns about Iran's nuclear program.
-- On October 1, Iran's representatives committed to meet again before the end of the month based on an agenda that included Iran's nuclear program. Since that time, however, the Iranian government has refused all invitations to meet if its nuclear program would be on the agenda.
-- Iran's continued refusal to engage on its nuclear program with the P5+1 or in any other forum deepens our concerns about Iran's intentions for its nuclear program.
Background on Imprisoned American Citizens
----------------------------------------- 6. (U) Since July 31, Iran has detained three American citizens (Joshua Fattal, Shane Bauer, and Sarah Shourd) who were hiking in Northern Iraq when they apparently wandered by mistake into Iran in a poorly marked border area. It is unclear what, if any, formal charges have been filed against them. As Secretary Clinton has said: "We believe strongly that there is no evidence to support any charge whatsoever. And we would renew our request on behalf of these three young people and their families that the Iranian government exercise compassion and release them, so they can return home." The Department has repeatedly called upon Iran to release all other American citizens who are either missing or being unjustly detained in Iran.
Q/A ---
7. (U) Post may draw on following guidance in responding to any counter-arguments or questions from the Brazilian government.
-- In the TRR proposal, why must Iran surrender all of its LEU in one batch, and why must it be before the end of the year? o The TRR proposal was developed both to supply Iran with the fuel required for the continued operation of the reactor and also as a measure to build confidence in Iran's peaceful intentions and its seriousness to negotiate. o By agreeing to the transfer of 1200 kilograms of LEU (enough to equal the last fuel supply agreement Iran signed for the reactor with Argentina in the early 1990s), we aimed to lessen international concerns that Iran was attempting to create a stockpile of uranium to contribute to an eventual breakout from the NPT. This would consequently allow more time for negotiations on the broader nuclear file. o The transfer by the end of the year is needed to ensure that Iran receives the fuel required for the reactor before December 2010, when the reactor will run out and be forced to shut down.
-- What risk does the LEU stored in Iran pose to the international community? Isn't it under full IAEA monitoring? o Yes, this LEU is currently under IAEA safeguards. o However, given Iran's long history of IAEA safeguards violations and NPT noncompliance, the international community cannot trust that Iran will not interfere with IAEA monitoring or withdraw from IAEA safeguards or the NPT altogether. o This project will remove an immediate source of concern and establish some confidence in Iran's peaceful intent and willingness to comply with its obligations. -
- How can Iran be sure it will ever receive the fuel assemblies for the TRR in the current international environment, in which many openly seek to diminish Iran's nuclear capacity? o We and our partners have each made political commitments at the highest levels to the fulfillment of this project. Should Iran agree to it, Iran will receive the fuel required. o All participants in this project are taking risks. Iran stands in violation of the NPT, its IAEA safeguards agreement, and three Chapter VII UNSC resolutions. This project offers Iran an opportunity to establish confidence in its peaceful intentions, a confidence that has eroded due to Iran's continued non-compliance.
-- Iran suspended enrichment once before in response to international demands, and received no benefit. Why should Iran trust the international community now? o Iran's suspension of uranium enrichment and other activities in the past was intended to support a diplomatic process. Unfortunately, Iran terminated that diplomatic process in August 2005 by abandoning suspension. o However, prior to that point, Iran's temporary suspension avoided its being reported to the UN Security Council and the sanctions that would have likely come along with that report. o The requirement of suspension imposed by the UNSC in resolution 1737 is intended to restore that diplomatic process and to lead to a final resolution of international concerns with Iran's nuclear program. o This was codified in UNSCR 1737 when the UNSC stated its intention to suspend implementation of the measures adopted by the UNSC if Iran returned to negotiations through suspension of its nuclear and related activities. o Trust is in short supply on both sides. It is for that reason that we have offered Iran several opportunities for reciprocal, confidence-building steps (e.g., "freeze for freeze" and the TRR proposal).
-- Why is there not equal attention to Israel's nuclear status? Does it not also destabilize the region? o The United States has long pressed for universal adherence to the NPT treaty and will continue to urge all states that have not done so to join the Treaty and accept the full-scope IAEA safeguards on all of their nuclear activities. o It is extremely difficult, however, to persuade a state that NPT adherence is in its security interest when its neighbors are in violation of their own NPT obligations, and when the international community has not demonstrated the political will necessary to enforce compliance. o Iran's failure to comply with its NPT and IAEA obligations bears out these concerns and undermines attempts to secure universal adherence to the NPT. It became a party to the treaty and proceeded to violate its obligations for over twenty years, presenting a fundamental threat to the entire nonproliferation regime. o Returning regional states to full compliance with their NPT obligations would remove a serious obstacle to NPT adherence by all states in the region. o An Iranian nuclear weapons capability also serves as a destabilizer in the region, possibly triggering proliferation across the Gulf in response to a mounting threat posed by Iran. Not only does this undermine the entire nuclear nonproliferation regime, but risks further instability in the region.
-- How can you say that the Qom facility was secret, when it was Iran that announced its existence and invited IAEA inspectors to visit? o Iran was required to declare the existence of this facility to the IAEA the moment the decision was made to construct it, not several years into its construction. This is a requirement of Iran's IAEA Safeguards Agreement (contained in Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangement to Iran's Safeguards Agreement). o This code was modified after revelations surrounding Iraq's nuclear program were made in the early 1990s. o Iran was the last state to agree to the revised code, but it did so in March 2003. Iran attempted to revert to the early form of the code (which requires notification only 180 days prior to the introduction of nuclear to the facility) in March 2007. The IAEA consistently has denied that Iran has the legal ability to make such a change. o We also believe that Iran made the decision to declare the facility not to conform to its legal obligations, but because it had become aware that the secrecy of the facility had been compromised.
-- Why should Iran discuss its nuclear program with the self-appointed E3+3? Isn't the IAEA the proper place for Iran to engage on its nuclear program with the international community? o We welcome Iran's engagement with the IAEA. But despite its rhetoric, Iran has not engaged with the IAEA. Iran has refused for several years to answer the IAEA's questions (even before the IAEA reported Iran to the UNSC for its myriad violations of its international obligations). o The E3+3 mechanism evolved as a means to negotiate a solution precisely because Iran was refusing to engage with the IAEA on the concerns regarding Iran's nuclear program. -- Iran claims it needs such a hardened facility as the Qom Enrichment Facility because for years both the United States and Israel have threatened to bomb its nuclear sites. Is it not surprising Iran would try to keep its location a secret to have an emergency back-up facility? o Iran's own failure to meet its obligations for transparency and IAEA monitoring of sensitive nuclear installations is the cause for the international community's concerns that surrounding its nuclear program. o Iran's decision to construct yet another clandestine site only deepens these concerns.
-- Can Iran simply purchase the fuel from an international supplier, as some have advocated in Iran? o Legally, Iran can purchase fuel from an international supplier if it wishes. o However, we are confident Iran would not find a willing supplier given the concerns surrounding its nuclear program and its continued defiance of the international community. o Outside of the context of the IAEA proposal before Iran, we would oppose such a deal.
-- How would the E3+3 respond if Iran announced it had "no choice" but to make its own fuel for the TRR? o Under three UN Security Council resolutions, Iran is required to suspend all uranium enrichment- related activities. We have offered Iran a way to secure the necessary TRR fuel without further violating these obligations. Enrichment activities to produce its own fuel for the TRR would be a violation of current UNSCRs. o Further, Iran is not currently able to produce the fuel. Reconfiguration of Iranian centrifuges to produce the required enrichment level (19.75 percent) would cause serious international concern and could permit Iran to produce a stockpile of even greater enriched uranium than it has currently (Iran's current enrichment level is 3.5 percent). This would increase the risk of a near-term Iranian breakout from the NPT and sprint to producing nuclear weapons.
-- What about recent reports indicating the Iranian enrichment program has not grown. What is the significance of this stagnation? o Iran has slowed or scaled back the enrichment program several times since the project became public in 2002. o There are many possible explanations for the stagnation of the Iranian enrichment program, including technical issues with the centrifuges and general system maintenance. o Regardless of Iran's lack of progress in its enrichment program, it continues to enrich and stockpile LEU. This activity in violation of three United Nations Security Council resolutions calling for full suspension of its nuclear and enrichment related activities, and increases the risk of a near-term Iranian breakout from the NPT and sprint to producing nuclear weapons.
POINT OF CONTACT ----------------
8. (U) Please contact Mordica Simpson at 202-647-4994 with any questions. END TEXT.
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media