Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07JAKARTA2296
2007-08-22 08:54:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Jakarta
Cable title:  

PDAS MCNERNEY'S IRAN CONSULTATIONS IN INDONESIA

Tags:  PREL PGOV PARM UNSC MNUC ID IR 
pdf how-to read a cable
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5874
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RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 JAKARTA 002296 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR D, T, P, EAP, EAP/MTS, NEA, NEA/IR, ISN,
ISN/RA, IO, IO/UNP, PLEASE PASS TO IRAN COLLECTIVE.

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/22/2017
TAGS: PREL PGOV PARM UNSC MNUC ID IR
SUBJECT: PDAS MCNERNEY'S IRAN CONSULTATIONS IN INDONESIA

REF: A. JAKARTA 1919


B. 06 JAKARTA 6026

Classified By: Ambassador Cameron R. Hume for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 JAKARTA 002296

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR D, T, P, EAP, EAP/MTS, NEA, NEA/IR, ISN,
ISN/RA, IO, IO/UNP, PLEASE PASS TO IRAN COLLECTIVE.

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/22/2017
TAGS: PREL PGOV PARM UNSC MNUC ID IR
SUBJECT: PDAS MCNERNEY'S IRAN CONSULTATIONS IN INDONESIA

REF: A. JAKARTA 1919


B. 06 JAKARTA 6026

Classified By: Ambassador Cameron R. Hume for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).


1. (C) SUMMARY: ISN PDAS Patricia McNerney visited Indonesia
on August 14 for productive consultations regarding Iran's
nuclear program. Senior diplomat and Middle East expert Alwi
Shihab reiterated Indonesia's commitment to a peaceful
settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue and said Indonesia
would try to persuade Iran to comply with IAEA and UNSC
requirements. Department of Foreign Affairs interlocutors
stressed that no automatic use of force and the principle of
suspending sanctions in return for Iran suspending enrichment
were firm Indonesian requirements in any future UNSCR.
Academic and media figures stressed that the Yudhoyono
administration had paid a high political price for Indonesian
support for UNSCR 1747 and would need domestic political
cover to support a future resolution. PDAS McNerney also
took our case to the Indonesian public in a newspaper
interview. END SUMMARY

Indonesia Looking for a Role
--------------


2. (C) Alwi Shihab, a former foreign minister currently
serving as President Yudhoyono's special envoy for the Middle
East, described his June visit to Iran where he met with a
defiant President Ahmadinajad. He said Indonesia looked to
help resolve the Iran nuclear issue through peaceful
dialogue. PDAS McNerney stressed that the United States and
our European partners were committed to negotiations and that
the P5 1 offer remained on the table should Iran suspend its
enrichment activities and cooperate with the IAEA.


3. (C) During a lengthy private meeting in Tehran with
President Ahmadinajad, Shihab delivered a strong message from
President Yudhoyono; Iran must resolve the nuclear issue
through peaceful negotiations. He described the Iranian

leader as stubborn and insistent on Iran's right to pursue a
peaceful nuclear program. The Indonesians stressed that Iran
must show flexibility responding to the UNSC's demands and
urged the Iranians to refrain from inflammatory rhetoric.
Shihab explained to Ahmadinajad that the Indonesians
supported UNSCR 1747 not to punish Iran but to uphold the
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and other
international nonproliferation norms.


4. (C) Shihab stressed the need to compromise and said that
Iran needed a face saving way out of its dispute with the
U.S. Iran sees its right to peaceful nuclear power as a
matter of national dignity and would not be seen as giving in
to pressure. He raised the possibility of a staged process
where Iran could gradually halt its nuclear activities as
negotiations progressed. PDAS McNerney stressed that Iran's
dispute was not with the U.S. alone, but also with the EU,
its Arab neighbors and with the IAEA, which referred the
matter to the UNSC. She added that a staged approach was not
feasible because it would still allow Iran to develop
sensitive nuclear technologies while negotiations continued,
which is why the Security Council requires that Iran cease
its enrichment-related and reprocessing activities as a basis
for negotiation.


5. (C) Shihab offered the possibility that President
Yudhoyono or another senior GOI official might visit Iran
prior to a future UNSC vote to give Tehran a "last warning."
He added that Indonesia was a friend of both Iran and of the
West and, unlike Iran's Arab neighbors, did not have any
strategic interest in the Persian Gulf. This gave Indonesia
the credibility to act as an intermediary. Shihab added that
he would stress the need for Iran to show flexibility to
Iranian DepForMin Araghchi, a powerful figure reportedly
close to President Ahmadinajad. He also described
Indonesia's planned investment in a fertilizer factory in
Iran, saying that this sort of economic engagement gave the
GOI some influence over Tehran.


6. (C) BIO NOTE: A scholar of religious studies, Shihab spent
approximately ten years in the United States, both as a
student at Temple University and a faculty member at Harvard
Divinity School. Two of his children are students at
Pennsylvania State University: a son pursuing an MS in
petroleum engineering and a daughter studying for a BA in

JAKARTA 00002296 002 OF 004


international relations, economics and psychology. Shihab's
son was born in the United States and holds an American
passport. END BIO NOTE

DEPLU Looking for a Way Forward
--------------


7. (C) PDAS McNerney stressed to Desra Percaya, Director for
International Security and Disarmament Affairs at the
Department of Foreign Affairs (DEPLU),that the USG wanted to
consult early with the GOI and sought Indonesian input for a
possible future UNSCR. She added that the P5 1 offer
remained open should Iran stop its enrichment-related and
reprocessing activities. However, she noted, the
international community must be prepared to increase the
pressure on Iran if it does not comply with the UNSC's
requirements. Percaya agreed that the Indonesia wanted to
find ways to stop Iran's nuclear program and outlined some of
the GOI's requirements for an acceptable resolution.


8. (C) Percaya thanked PDAS McNerney for consulting with the
GOI early in the process. Drawing on his participation in
discussions at the June 26-29 Oslo Forum, he outlined four
broad principles that should guide the international
community's dealings with Iran. Any approach to the nuclear
issue should also address underlying concerns about U.S. -
Iran relations. A solution must also address broader
security issues in the Middle East, including providing Iran
with negative security assurances. The international
community must respect Iran's right to the peaceful use of
nuclear power under Article 4 of the NPT, including
clarifying what enrichment activities are allowed under IAEA
safeguards. Finally, Percaya stressed that the international
community refrain from any steps that would include the
automatic use of force against Iran. (The Oslo Forum is an
annual track-two event organized by the Norwegian Foreign
Ministry. Percaya noted that Kofi Annan and Ambassador
Thomas Pickering participated in the Iran-related
discussions.)


9. (C) Drawing on these general principles Percaya said the
GOI had some clear redlines for the next resolution: it must
not include any automatic use of force and it must maintain
the principle of suspension-for-suspension. (That is, that
the UNSC would suspend sanctions on Iran when Iran suspended
its nuclear activities.) PDAS McNerney stressed that the USG
seeks a diplomatic, not military, solution to the crisis but
added that all options remained on the table. She also said
that the P5 1 offer gave Iran incentives should it agree to
the suspension-for-suspension offer by the UN Security
Council that the GOI supported. She added that any new
resolution should increase the pressure on Tehran by
strengthening existing measures, adding new measures -- such
as a mechanism for the inspection of Iran-bound cargoes
suspected of being WMD related -- and establishing an expert
panel to monitor Iranian compliance.

10. (C) While the Iranians insisted that they were complying
with the IAEA, Percaya questioned whether they had done
anything of substance while doing all they could to delay the
process. It was clear, however, that GOI officials did not
understand the IAEA's outstanding questions regarding Iran's
program. Following a briefing on this subject, Percaya asked
how Iran was any different from Indonesia. He also expressed
the GOI's clear frustrations with the activities of the
Iranian Ambassador in Jakarta. DEPLU had become so concerned
about the Ambassador's lobbying of Indonesian legislators and
provocative statements to religious groups that they called
him in and asked him to cease such activities. Percaya
conceded, however, that many Indonesians were sympathetic to
Iran because they viewed Tehran as articulating the
grievances of the Muslim world over issues like Iraq and
Palestine.


11. (C) Percaya said Iran aspired to regional leadership in
the Middle East. Unlike Burma or the DPRK, Tehran did not
seek international isolation. This fact gave the
international community some leverage over Iran and provided
a mechanism to pressure the regime into complying with IAEA
requirements.


12. (C) Percaya agreed that support for a future resolution
would be consistent with Indonesia's support of the NPT. He
said, however, that the domestic political context would make
it very difficult for the GOI to act. Legislators, many of

JAKARTA 00002296 003 OF 004


them aspiring candidates for the 2009 presidential election,
would undoubtedly use the issue to embarrass President
Yudhoyono. He also said Indonesian arguments for support of
the NPT were undermined by the alleged special treatment
given India, a non-NPT country, under the proposed nuclear
cooperation agreement with the United States. He also added
that GOI hoped a resolution would not be tabled during
Indonesia's November presidency of the UNSC.

Domestic Controversy
--------------


13. (C) During a lunch hosted by the DCM, PDAS McNerney asked
key academic and media figures to describe the political
fall-out from Indonesia's support of UNSCR 1747 and to
outline the domestic political constraints on GOI support for
future UNSC action on Iran. Indonesian interlocutors all
agreed that the Yudhoyono administration paid a high
political price for its support of 1747 and would have
difficulty supporting any future resolutions. Endy Mouzardi
Bayuni, editor in chief of the Jakarta Post, commented that
the content of a future resolution was not important; the
Indonesian public would see GOI support as a vote against the
Iranian people. Well-connected academic and former GOI
official Dr. Dewi Fortuna Anwar, currently with the
Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) and the Habibie
Center, commented that future Indonesian government actions
would have everything to do with what happens in Indonesia
and nothing to do with what happens in Iran or New York.


14. (C) Dr. Anwar stressed that Indonesia's long commitment
to the NPT motivated its prior support for measures against
Iran's nuclear program. This argument was largely lost on
the Indonesian public, according to Bayuni, because the GOI
did not make the case for its position before the vote on
1747 was cast. The Yudhoyono administration failed to
consult with key stakeholders, including the DPR and the
media, which could have lessened the eventual political
fall-out.


15. (C) PDAS McNerney stressed that the United States did not
seek sanctions in order to harm the Iranian people, but to
pressure the Iranian government to abandon its nuclear
program. The Habibie Center's Anwar noted that many
Indonesians do not understand this position. Instead, they
see U.S. efforts to secure another UNSC resolution as a
pretext for future military action against Iran. She also
said that some Indonesians see the United States - India
nuclear deal as evidence that the USG is inconsistent in its
support for global nonproliferation norms. Bayuni added that
the lack of U.S. action against Israel's alleged nuclear
program contributed to this perception.


16. (C) Indonesians resented what they saw as heavy-handed
U.S. pressure to support UNSCR 1747, according to ANTV Vice
Chief Editor Uni Lubis. She described widespread rumors
about a telephone call between Presidents Bush and Yudhoyono
prior to the vote on 1747. While the call had been primarily
a discussion of an upcoming G-33 meeting on the Doha Round,
Indonesians saw it as the United States telling Indonesia to
"shut up and take notes" on how to vote in the UNSC.


17. (C) While many Indonesians see the United States as
pressuring Indonesia, they have a more benign view of Iran.
They do not regard Iran as a destabilizing influence in the
Middle East. Moreover, many Indonesians remain convinced of
the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program. Several
interlocutors noted that the GOI was still reeling from the
rapturous welcome the Indonesian public gave Iranian
President Ahmadinajad when he visited Jakarta in May 2006
(ref B). ANTV's Lubis added that Iran's current Ambassador
to Indonesia was very effective, especially in his public
diplomacy efforts among Muslim groups.


18. (C) Dr. Anwar also opined that the Indonesian legislature
(DPR) carried on for too long demanding that President
Yudhoyono personally appear in the DPR to explain the
government's vote on UNSCR 1747 (ref A). Jakarta Post editor
Bayuni added that the public was increasingly frustrated with
the transparent power struggle between the president and the
legislature, which had delayed action on numerous pieces of
legislation. Although he weathered a political storm,
President Yudhoyono won his battle with the DPR and might get
away with defying them again on Iran, according to Bayuni.

JAKARTA 00002296 004 OF 004




19. (C) In response to PDAS McNerney's question, academic and
media figures offered advice on securing Indonesian support
for a future resolution. Bayuni commented that that the GOI
wanted to support a future resolution but needed political
cover to do so. Key to that cover would be recognizing that
the GOI played an important role on the UNSC and its concerns
should be listened to carefully. The fact that UNSCR 1747
incorporated several amendments proposed by the GOI helped
make the case that the resolution reflected GOI concerns
about nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. PDAS
McNerney stressed that her visit to Jakarta was for precisely
the purpose of consultation with GOI officials well before a
draft resolution was put forward.

Getting the Message Out
--------------


20. (SBU) At the end of her visit, PDAS McNerney sat for an
on-the-record interview with foreign affairs reporter Abdul
Khalik of the Jakarta Post. She stressed that the USG viewed
Indonesia as a critical member of the UNSC, was sensitive to
Indonesia's concerns and would consult closely with the GOI
on any resolution. She also said Indonesia should support
the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) because the
initiative was consistent with the GOI's long-standing
support of international nonproliferation goals. The
interview was given prominent coverage in the Jakarta Post
the next day. (Mission has sent a copy of the interview to
the Department.)


21. (SBU) PDAS McNerney approved this message.
HUME