SHARING IS CARING!
Do it yourselves, pick out a random wikileaks document and publish it. This is my contribution.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BEIJING 002438 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/25/2029 TAGS: PREL PARM ENRG PTER MNUC IR CH SUBJECT: PRC/IRAN: SCHOLAR SUGGESTS U.S. NEGOTIATE SE CRETLY WITH IRAN REF: BEIJING 1803 Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Aubrey Carlson. Reasons 1. 4 (b/d). ¶1. (C) SUMMARY: The unstable post-election political climate in Iran likely precludes the initiation of formal negotiations with Iran on ceasing its uranium enrichment program, according to a PRC scholar. Though Iran is sincere in wishing to reach out to the United States on broader bilateral issues, it remains wary of "falling into a trap" in bilateral negotiations. Under these circumstances, the scholar suggests, the United States should undertake "se cret" talks with Iran that would entail a U.S. concession allowing Iran some nuclear enrichment activities in return for Iran's adherence to a strict IAEA safeguard agreement, its cessation of support for Hamas and Hizbollah, and cooperation in Iraq and Afghanistan. China has encouraged Iran to enter into negotiations with the United States, according to our contact, while the United States is involved in regional conflicts where Iran could play a positive role. However, the scholar stressed, pressing for additional sanctions through the P5-plus-1 mechanism would be counterproductive and put China in a "difficult position" of having to side with either the United States or Iran. END SUMMARY. ¶2. (C) Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the MFA-affiliated China Institute for International Studies (CIIS) and frequent media commentator on Middle East issues XXXXXXXXXXXX told PolOff August 24 that though the unexpected turmoil surrounding the June 12 Iranian election had politically weakened both President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, both they and opposition candidate Mir Hussein Moussavi were "one side of a coin" in that none of them supported the suspension of Iran's uranium enrichment activities. Post-Election Atmosphere Not Right for Negotiations --------------------------------------------- ------ ¶3. (C) Li argued that Ahmadinejad's congratulatory letter sent to President Obama following the 2008 U.S. elections had been a sincere indication of the Iranian leadership's willingness to talk. Li said he had learned that former Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati had discreetly contacted USG officials prior to the June 12 presidential election in Iran, agreeing to resume bilateral contacts after the election concluded, but that the turmoil and the lingering instability in Iran had prevented movement on that initiative. Li reported that his contacts in Iran had recently said that the Iranian political climate post-election was still not stable enough for the leadership to engage in public negotiations on the nuclear issue. "Obama Factor" -------------- ¶4. (C) Li said an additional factor adding to the Iranian leadership's reticence to reach out to the United States was President Obama's positive image among the Iranian public. ("Obama is with us," was an example of public sentiment reported to him by his Iranian contacts.) Despite the fact that the leadership was satisfied with President Obama's statements after the June election, Iranian leaders were wary of "falling into a trap" in negotiations with United States. Li suggested that Khamenei remained suspicious of the United Kingdom, France and Germany based on the Iranian leadership's perception that these countries had played a role in stirring post-election turmoil. Grand Bargain in the Works? --------------------------- ¶5. (C) Li stated that Iran agreeing to suspend uranium enrichment unilaterally or completely was a "non-starter." Li cited unnamed contacts in the United States "with close access to policy-makers on Iran" to support his belief that the United States would be willing to accept some internationally-supervised uranium enrichment by Iran. This would be a concession, Li said, that "the Europeans would have great difficulty accepting." To make such a concession diplomatically palatable, Li continued, the United States in return would expect Iran's cessation of support for Hamas and Hizbollah, among other terrorist groups in the region, and its cooperation in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, Li suggested, the United States would expect Iran to agree to a stricter IAEA safeguard agreement that would control Iran's nuclear activities and include terms that would be integrated into the NPT as a basis for further safeguards governing all BEIJING 00002438 002 OF 002 NPT signatory countries (reftel). He stated that before agreeing to a low level of Iranian enrichment activity, the United States would insist Iran implement a six-to-twelve-month freeze on nuclear enrichment activities. ¶6. (C) Li stressed that any Iranian nuclear program negotiations, which he believed would be lengthy, should be "se cret" and seek to produce a "win/win" scenario for both countries. Li stated that Iran had doubts about the USG's ability to enter such a bargain, given U.S. political pressures, and that to the Iranians, a signal of U.S. sincerity to move forward might come through an unofficial visit along the lines of Henry Kissinger's late June trip to China to discuss North Korea sanctions or former President Clinton's early August visit to Pyongyang to effect the release of the two American journalists, which in his view had allowed the atmosphere for negotiations with the DPRK to improve. Li suggested that former President Clinton could perhaps secure the release of the American hikers detained by Iranian authorities. Li stated that the key element of a Kissinger visit would be the former Secretary of State's ability to have discreet, private and informal discussions. China Urges Iran to Reach Out to the United States --------------------------------------------- ----- ¶7. (C) Despite U.S.-Iranian tensions, the PRC had encouraged Iran to take advantage of current circumstances to mend ties with the United States, according to Li, arguing that the United States would be more open to making concessions now because it was in a relatively weaker position tending to a number of trouble spots around the world, including the Middle East and South Asia, and needed Iran's help in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, as the United States regained its position of strength, according to Li, its willingness to make concessions would disappear. Li reported that MFA West Asian and North African Affairs Department Director General Song Aiguo had affirmed to him recently that China "would do whatever it could" to assist communication between the United States and Iran. Asked whether Iran viewed China as a fair broker, Li said, "Iran trusts nobody." While Iran understood China's interests in Iran, the Iranian leadership believed that when pushed to make a choice, China would side with the United States over Iran. P5 plus 1: A Show for Public Consumption ---------------------------------------- ¶8. (C) Li stated that the P5-plus-1 process "was for public consumption" and that expectations of its success should be minimal. Acknowledging the increasing pressure for additional sanctions given Iran's current unresponsiveness to offers of engagement, Li stated that pushing for additional sanctions would play to the hard-liners' advantage in Iran and not bring any change in Iranian behavior. In addition, the prospect of imposing additional sanctions would put China in a "difficult position" of choosing between its interests vis-a-vis the United States and Iran, a choice it hoped to avoid. HUNTSMAN