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06PRAGUE747 2006-07-01 10:12:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Prague
Cable title:  

PROSPECTS FOR FUTURE CZECH POLICY TOWARD IRAN, AND

Tags:   PREL ETTC MNUC PGOV EUN EZ IR 
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 PRAGUE 000747

SIPDIS

//ZFR ZFR ZFR//

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/29/2016
TAGS: PREL ETTC MNUC PGOV EUN EZ IR
SUBJECT: PROSPECTS FOR FUTURE CZECH POLICY TOWARD IRAN, AND
CZECH OBSERVATIONS ON EU AND IRAN

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years been attracted by the possibility of lucrative
contracts for Czech firms involved in such services.
(Hybaskova has also been critical of outgoing PM Paroubek for
allegedly being more concerned about potential exports of
Czech trolley cars than non-proliferation threats, although
admits that this has not had any impact on actual Czech
policies towards Iran.)



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Czechs Paint a Discouraging Picture of the EU and Iran


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6. (C) Several Czech diplomats and observers present a
somewhat pessimistic image of a dissolute EU that is unable
(and to some extent unwilling) to effectively face the
Iranian nuclear issue. MFA Security Policy Director Petr
Kaiser told Poloff that the vanguard position of the EU3
countries has allowed other EU members to effectively
disengage from this difficult and contentious issue. He said
the structure of various EU meetings and conferences on the
issue had simply consisted of the EU3 countries briefing
other states. According to Kaiser, with the EU demanding, at
most, a passive acquiescence to the EU3 policy direction,
many states have been willing to adopt more detached and
circumspect attitudes toward Iran and rely the U.S. and its
EU3 partners to move the issue forward, with all of the
potential difficulties that such progress will entail. Kaiser
stated that, along with the Czechs, he considered Holland,
Poland, and Slovakia the most assertive and the most
constructive non-EU3 partners on the issue.



7. (C) Conservative MEP Jana Hybaskova essentially mirrored
Kaiser,s bleak picture of the EU in a separate discussion.
According to Hybaskova, many EP members are woefully
uninformed on the issue and unduly influenced and buffeted by
currents of opinion, some either inaccurate or irrelevant to
the debate. Several of Hybaskova,s colleagues, for example,
emerged from meeting with the Iranian Ambassador in Brussels
parroting the ambassador,s line that "Iran only has
low-enriched uranium for power plants, not highly enriched
uranium needed for weapons"; they were evidently either
unaware or unconcerned that the enrichment process is the
same for both types. She also indicated that a significant
number of her colleagues maintained ties and conducted events
with representatives of PMOI/Mek (People,s Movement of
Iran/Mujahedin e Khalq) from Paris. Domestic politics within
member states also exert a heavy influence on EP views of
Iran. Although many MEPs have been galvanized by
Ahmadenejad,s fiery recent rhetoric (Hybaskova was gathering
MEP signatures on a petition to at least symbolically declare
the Iranian President persona non grata in advance of the
World Cup in Germany), both Hybaskova and Kaiser stated that
the Iran crisis would "demand U.S. leadership."



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Some General Czech Views of Iran


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8. (C) During the course of our discussions with Czech
officials working on Iran, several took the opportunity to
pass on reports and impressions from their staff in Tehran,
and also other general MFA impressions of Iran. Although the
Czech Republic is a small country, their long-term commercial
and diplomatic presence in Iran, their prowess in civil and
nuclear engineering, and their status as a proactive and
aggressive USG partner on security issues help frame their
views. On Iran, as with other security matters, the Czechs
fight well above their weight class.



9. (C) THE INDIA EXAMPLE. Ludvik Mrazek from the MFA
Department of Middle Eastern and African Affairs expressed a
sentiment, based upon his close work the Iranians in the
past, that Iran had drawn some counterproductive conclusions
from the example of India. In Iran,s view, India,s defiant
nuclear tests of 1998, far from carrying any substantial
penalties, have helped India emerge into the top tier of
regional and even global leaders. Iran views India's
emergence as a fully declared nuclear power as critical to
Indian economic and diplomatic achievements in recent years.
While supportive of recent USG initiatives involving the
Indian nuclear program, GOCR officials have also privately
expressed concern about the initiative,s effect on the
global nonproliferation regime. They see in Iran a strong
illustration of their apprehensions.



10. (C) IRAN,S PUBLIC AND THE NUCLEAR ISSUE. According to
Petr Kaiser, the Czech Charge, in Tehran presents an image
to the GOCR of an Iranian public strongly supportive of their
country's nuclear ambitions. The Iranians see themselves as a
historically important power with a destiny to assume a
leadership position in the region; nuclear power - and even
nuclear weapons - are inseparable from that status.

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Discouragingly, the Czech mission related that even
relatively liberal and reformist elements of Iranian society
share the conviction that Iran has an unquestioned right to a
full nuclear program. While some Iranians may see the drive
to enhance their nuclear capabilities unwise, provocative, or
a poor use of resources, virtually none see the effort itself
as illegitimate. In the Czech view, looking for political
space with which to divide different elements of the Iranian
body politic on the nuclear issue will be a challenging task.



11. (C) INTERNAL STRUGGLES AND THE STABILITY OF THE IRANIAN
REGIME. Czech diplomats, including both Mrazek and the Czech
Charge, in Tehran, while mindful of the support the
government has on the nuclear issue, are not as certain of
the overall stability of the Ahmadenejad regime. The Czech
Mission in Teheran sees Ahmadenejad producing a significant
change in the upper echelons of the government and directly
challenging the established interests of the clerical
establishment. In this view, Ahmadenejad is surrounding
himself with his former colleagues from within Revolutionary
Guards Corps, the intelligence and security services, and the
military. Their background and expertise lie within the
national security apparatus, and their formative experiences
were the brutal internal and external struggles surrounding
the Iran-Iraq War. The Czechs see in Teheran signs of veiled
clashes between the conservative clerics who have ruled Iran
since the Revolution and Ahmadenejad,s &New Guard8 of
former security officials. They consider the likely result
to be more such hidden power struggles and, along with them,
significantly reduced flexibility in negotiations involving
nuclear issues.
CABANISS