ID: 91041 12/28/2006 5:35 06ISLAMABAD22617 Embassy Islamabad CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN 06ISLAMABAD22617 “VZCZCXRO5117
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FM AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD
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RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY” “C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ISLAMABAD 022617
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/26/2016
TAGS: AF, IR, PK, PREL
SUBJECT: FM KASURI DESCRIBES VISIT TO DECEMBER VISIT TO IRAN
Classified By: Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, Reason 1.4 (b) and (d)
1. (C) Summary: Fresh off his plane from Tehran, Foreign Minister Kasuri briefed the Ambassador on December 22 regarding his conversations with President Ahmedinejad, FM Muttaki, former President Rafsanjani, IPI pipeline negotiator Larijani and others. Kasuri reported that, despite serious misperceptions in Tehran’s understanding of U.S. policy regarding Iran’s nuclear program, Iranian leaders want to continue the dialogue with the U.S. and EU. Tehran shares Pakistani and American concerns regarding the resurgence of the Taliban in southern Afghanistan. Sensitive to the potential for Iraq’s sectarian violence to seep throughout the region, the Foreign Minister cautioned his Iranian interlocutors not to fuel the Shi’a-Sunni violence in Iraq. End summary.
The Nuclear Issue
2. (C) Although the MFA had publicly described the Foreign Minister’s visit to Iran as centering on the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline, Kasuri told the Ambassador that he discussed a number of other topics, such as nuclear policy, Lebanon and Iraq. Over the past three years, Kasuri recalled, he has made it his mission to persuade Tehran not to provoke a conflict over Iran’s nuclear program and thus endangering regional — and Pakistan’s domestic — security.
3. (C) When Kasuri specifically asked Larijani why the nuclear issue has not been resolved, the Iranian complained of “bad air” (i.e., bad vibes) coming from Washington. We negotiated with them, Larijani said, only to have them refer the matter to the Security Council. According to Larijani, EU negotiator Javier Solana has been pleased with the progress of the negotiations, but confided that the U.S. had not. (Note: Kasuri asked the Ambassador why Solana had speculated that the U.S. was holding out for a global settlement, as reported by Larijani. The Ambassador replied that it was Iran, not the U.S., that sought to leverage the nuclear issue to force a global dialogue, one the U.S. sees no utility in pursuing, given Iranian unhelpfulness in Lebanon, Iraq, etc. End note.)
4. (C) Kasuri left Tehran believing that the Iranians want to resolve the nuclear dispute through dialogue (although he admitted that none would say this outright until he had pushed the point), but that the Iranian leadership has dangerously misread U.S. policy. We do not understand their logic, Larijani complained: The U.S. wants our help on Afghanistan and Iraq, but then treats us badly in the nuclear talks. We’ve analyzed this, he continued: the U.S. can do nothing to us, given its present difficulties. If they take action against us, the IAEA inspectors will be kicked out and the whole nuclear program will go underground. If they make us suffer, we will make them suffer. Kasuri said that he repeatedly urged the Iranians not/not to take precipitous action based on mistaken interpretation of American intentions or capabilities.
5. (C) Kasuri ported that his Iranian interlocutors were closely following the public debate surrounding the Iraq Study Group recommendations. Kasuri counseled the Iranians that there is a multiplicity of opinions about Iran in the U.S., but as the Administration has not ruled out the use of force, Tehran should abandon any strategy based on brinksmanship. The Ambassador suggested that that the Iranians know exactly who speaks for the Administration and were simply trying to confuse the issue by citing unofficial voices involved in the public debate.
6. (C) Tehran is also worried about the Taliban, Kasuri said, noting that he has delivered the same talking points in Tehran as he had in Kabul — that Pakistan has no/no interest in seeing the return of Taliban rule. The Iranians appeared to appreciate the GOP position, praising President Musharraf’s “progressive” leadership. Without pressing for Pakistan to “do more,” Tehran encouraged greater cooperation between Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Kasuri concluded that he perceived no daylight between the Iranian and U.S. positions on Afghanistan.
7. (C) On Iraq, Kasuri found that the Iranian blamed the U.S. for the present Shi’a- Sunni schism, while proclaiming that Tehran supported “progressive” forces — both Shi’a and Sunni — in the Islamic world. Without assigning blame for the Shi’a-Sunni split, Kasuri responded by warning that Iran will not come out a winner if it fuels the sectarian conflict. When the Iranians stressed their support for full implementation of the Constitution in both Iraq as the first step to stability, Kasuri (a pragmatic pol at heart) countered by pressing Tehran to use its influence to press for a more Sunni-friendly revenue sharing scheme.
8. (C) In a closing remark, Kasuri observed that the Iranians should enter negotiations with the U.S. with a degree of gratitude, as the U.S. has eliminated enemy regimes in Iran’s two largest neighbors. That said, Kasuri remains visibly troubled that Tehran does not fully appreciate the risks it runs in testing U.S. patience on the nuclear program or in fostering the Shi’a-Sunni conflict in Iraq.