This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 TEL AVIV 001390
UNVIE FOR IAEA
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/04/2014 TAGS: KNNP PARM MNUC PREL IS IR FR GOI EXTERNAL SUBJECT: ISRAELI READOUT OF IRAN NUCLEAR CONSULTATIONS WITH FRANCE
Classified By: Ambassador Daniel C. Kurtzer for Reasons 1.4 (B) and (D) .
1. (S) SUMMARY: In a readout of their consultations with French officials about Iran and other IAEA issues, Gideon Frank and Eli Levite of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) said the French MFA poldir had told them that the EU-3 agreement with Iran could not be twisted to justify removal of Iran from the IAEA BOG agenda. Frank was not reassured, however, about the sustainability of Iran on the agenda because ElBaradei appears deliberately to avoid using the strong language of BOG resolutions -- e.g., "further serious failures" -- in his reports. Frank proposed a different format for the reports that would curtail ElBaradei's ability to express judgments. Frank and Levite found their French counterparts "fixated" on Iran's internal political dynamics, rather than on finding ways to block Iran's nuclear program. GOF officials said they wanted to move from suspension to cessation of Iran's enrichment/reprocessing activities, but feared losing Russian support along the way. While some GOF officials thought the President's February 11 fuel cycle initiative could be a good tool against Iran, others worried about the political viability of another discriminatory nonproliferation norm. Frank thought a discriminatory approach was unavoidable, and that opposition could be overcome with the right incentives to states renouncing a fuel cycle capability. Frank and Levite noted GOF interest in reinserting UNMOVIC into Iraq, and perceived a sincere GOF desire for the U.S. to discover WMD in Iraq. END SUMMARY.
2. (S) Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) DG Gideon Frank and his deputy, Eli Levite, briefed Ambassador and polmiloff March 3 on their discussions about Iran and other IAEA issues with French officials in Paris the previous week. Frank interspersed the brief with his own views about how to strengthen ElBaradei's reports to the IAEA Board and on President Bush's February 11 initiative for controlling the ability of states to develop new fuel cycle capabilities.
Keeping the BOG on Track
3. (S) Frank said he was worried that the EU-3 would seek to remove Iran from the IAEA Board of Governors (BOG) agenda by June if ElBaradei does not report "further serious failures" by Iran to the BOG. This concern is compounded by the GOI observation that ElBaradei does not use language from BOG resolutions, such as "further serious failures," in his reports to the BOG. He said that "Europeans" have speculated to the GOI that ElBaradei deliberately eschews resolution language in order not to prejudge BOG decisionmaking. The problem with ElBaradei's seemingly "neutral" approach, Frank lamented, is that it does in fact prejudge BOG decisionmaking, but in the wrong direction. Many BOG members will not vote for a resolution condemning Iran for something like "further serious failures" unless ElBaradei's report to the BOG uses the exact language.
4. (S) Frank suggested that in order to break out of this dilemma, the BOG should instruct ElBaradei to prepare his reports in a genuinely neutral format. IAEC favors one that would force ElBaradei to organize his findings under some half-dozen rubrics, e.g., "Incomplete Information," "Failure to Declare," etc. ElBaradei would then list findings, such as Iran's undeclared P-2 centrifuge designs, under the appropriate rubric without comment. Frank said the IAEC had come up with a short list of rubrics under which all information from ElBaradei's two most recent reports could have been organized. Frank said some of the French officials to whom he pitched the idea liked it, although MFA political director de Laboulaye said he preferred having ElBaradei take political positions.
5. (S) In response to GOI concerns that Iran would use its agreement with the EU-3 to press for removal of its case from the BOG agenda, de Laboulaye said, according to Levite, that the clear language of the agreement could not be twisted to justify such a step. Levite commented that GOF officials appeared uniformly to appreciate the need to maintain pressure on Iran. He said he did not doubt their sincerity, given the apparent lack of significant French commercial interest in Iran's nuclear industry or general market.
6. (S) Levite expressed frustration, however, with what he termed the "fixation" of GOF officials on internal power struggles within Iran, to the detriment of serious thought about how to maximize leverage against the Iranian nuclear program. Despite the French role in getting Iran to agree to suspend enrichment and reprocessing activities, and an apparently genuine French desire to delegitimize Iran's fuel cycle, GOF officials had apparently not given much thought to the precise, practical activities that should be covered by the suspension. The GOF, for example, had expressed no objections to Iranian hot cells. Frank urged the GOF to call for Iran to give up its hot cells, especially as French companies were interested in meeting Iran's need for medical radioisotopes.
Getting to Cessation
7. (S) According to Levite, GOF officials said they might initiate discussions about moving from suspension to cessation of Iranian enrichment/reprocessing within 30 days. (Where the GOF would launch the discussions was not clear.) Use of the word "cessation" is, however, causing some internal GOF trepidation. The GOF wants to keep Russia in synch with its approach, and Russian Deputy FM Kislyak, while supporting cessation as a goal, reportedly has said that he believes use of the word "cessation" would be premature in the near term.
Fuel Cycle Initiative Could Help
8. (S) CEA officials, Levite continued, thought President Bush's February 11 proposal for controlling fuel cycle activities could prove to be an effective way to lock in cessation of Iran's fuel cycle activities. MFA nuclear nonproliferation official Francois Richier and another GOF official, however, expressed doubts about the political viability of the President's fuel cycle initiative, predicting that non-nuclear powers would be reluctant to agree to another discriminatory norm. To achieve the same goal of preventing new countries from achieving fuel cycle capabilities, they suggested using norms that would technically leave the door open to countries developing the capability, while setting next-to-impossible requirements, such as a strong nonproliferation record, tough economic benchmarks, etc.
9. (S) Offering his own view, Frank said he saw no way to avoid a discriminatory norm for controlling the proliferation of fuel cycle capabilities. The political viability of the President's approach could be strengthened by enhancing the incentives available to countries that renounce a fuel cycle capability, e.g., the provision of power reactors and/or assurances to take back spent fuel. An incentive of potentially great value would be assistance in upgrading power grids. Levite expressed concern that possible U.S. interest in pursuing FMCT could undercut the President's fuel cycle initiative by legitimizing the construction of new fuel cycle facilities.
10. (S) On Iraq, Frank said his French counterparts wanted UNMOVIC to take the lead in verifying the state of Iraq's nuclear capabilities after the restoration of Iraqi sovereignty. Frank commented that he would be very unhappy with a standard safeguards approach in Iraq, given the need to address the nuclear knowledge base that already exists there. Levite noted that his GOF contacts very much hoped for WMD discoveries in Iraq, and were even critical of what they thought were insufficient U.S. efforts to locate Iraqi WMD. In response to the Ambassador's skepticism that such views represent broad GOF thinking, Levite insisted on his point, noting that the GOF desire to reinsert UNMOVIC would be complicated by the absence of WMD discoveries by June. In addition, he noted, the French nonproliferation and intelligence communities realize that their credibility is on the line because they, too, assessed before OIF that Iraq had WMD.
11. (S) Frank said discussions of Libya were limited to the implications for dealing with proliferation networks. The two sides agreed that PSI provides a useful approach. Frank said the GOI side emphasized that the networks had not yet reached the international or financial dimensions of drug trafficking. Dismantling the networks was thus a feasible goal.
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