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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07MANAGUA1273
2007-05-16 21:06:00
SECRET
Embassy Managua
Cable title:  

NICARAGUA'S IRAN-VENEZUELA RELATIONS

Tags:   PREL  MARR  PHUM  MASS  ECON  PTER  VE  IR  NU 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMU #1273/01 1362106
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 162106Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0231
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1099
						S E C R E T MANAGUA 001273 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

WHA/AND AND NEA/IRAN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/16/2017
TAGS: PREL MARR PHUM MASS ECON PTER VE IR NU
SUBJECT: NICARAGUA'S IRAN-VENEZUELA RELATIONS

REF: A. SECSTATE 61378

B. MANAGUA 725

C. MANAGUA 726

D. MANAGUA 1184

E. MANAGUA 791

F. MANAGUA 06 2611

G. MANAGUA 859

H. MANAGUA 797

I. MANAGUA 1135

J. MANAGUA 179

K. MANAGUA 826

L. MANAGUA 810

Classified By: Amb. Paul Trivelli, Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)



1. (S) Summary: Given President Daniel Ortega's close
relationship with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the
restoration of diplomatic ties with Iran, and the visit of
President Ahmedinejad to Nicaragua, the Embassy has not
formally engaged the Nicaraguans on the Venezuelan-Iranian
alliance (Ref. A) at this time, as it would do more to
antagonize, or energize, FSLN radicals than promote the
cooperative relationship with Nicaragua that we have publicly
pursued. However, the Ambassador and Emboffs have, on
repeated occasions, voiced U.S. concerns about Nicaragua's
succumbing to the influence of Venezuela and Iran, and
privately warned that should Nicaragua be exploited to
endanger our security, there would be consequences for
U.S.-Nicaraguan relations. Further, we have taken care to
reiterate that the EU and UN share our stance vis-a-vis
Iran's nuclear ambitions. End Summary.



2. (C) Since assuming office in January, President Ortega has
received his counterpart Chavez in country on at least two
occasions, and has visited Venezuela at least three times.
The two countries have established political, diplomatic, and
economic links, and signed a series of framework agreements
in general areas of cooperation (Ref. B, C). According to a
recent public opinion poll, however, a majority of the public
opposes the increasing influence of Chavez in their affairs
and worry that such a relationship could harm Nicaragua's
international relations, particularly with the U.S. (Ref. D).
We believe that Ortega is already under pressure from Chavez
to openly defy the UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) on
Iran, but is more likely to avoid dealing with the matter
than take any direct action that might alienate the USG or
international donors.



3. (SBU) During President Ahmedinejad's visit to Nicaragua
days after Ortega's inauguration, the two leaders signed a
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) stating that their
countries will reopen embassies in their respective capitals,
extend mutual support in international fora, explore areas
for potential cooperation and create a Joint Commission to
supervise future bilateral cooperation. Nicaragua also
promised to introduce Iran, for possible participation, to
projects financed by international institutions and bilateral
sources (Ref. E). To date, the National Assembly has yet to
approve the agreement. The Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance (ALN),
Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS), and many Liberal
Constitutional Party (PLC) National Assembly deputies oppose
the agreement, in large part because of the clause that
stipulates mutual support in international fora. One of the
main objections is the fear that by siding with Iran,
Nicaragua will alienate the United States.



4. (C) Since Ortega's election, the Ambassador has relayed
to Nicaraguan interlocutors USG concerns about Nicaragua
falling too quickly into the orbit of Hugo Chavez and
engaging with pariah states such as Iran, foreign policy
decisions which question the Ortega government's commitment
to democracy (Ref. F). We have warned that should Venezuela
or Iran exploit Nicaragua to endanger our security, there
would be consequences for U.S.-Nicaraguan bilateral relations
and development assistance.



5. (C) On a number of occasions, the Ambassador has raised
the USG's designation of Iran's Defense Industries
Organization (DIO) under E.O. 13382 with Foreign Minister
Samuel Santos, and reiterated our position with regard to
UNSCR 1747, urging the GON to ensure it does not support the
activities of any of the Iranian companies, entities, or
individuals listed in the UNSCR 1747's annex. We have voiced
concern that some of President Ortega's public statements
could be interpreted as support for Iran's defiance of the
United Nations (Ref. G, H, and I). Europeans who have a stake
in maintaining stability in the country have backed us on
this front in conversations with some of Ortega's moderate
intermediaries. In separate conversations with Santos,
PolCouns has also reminded the GON that the EU shares our
position vis-a-vis Iran's nuclear ambitions (Ref. J and K).



6. (S) Although we suspect that some FSLN radicals are
looking for an excuse to push Ortega to strengthen the
Venezuelan-Iranian alliance, Ortega appears to be shrewdly
playing his cards to strike a balance between remaining on
cordial terms with the "gringos" with his need to impress
revolutionary soul mates Chavez and Ahmedinejad. In our
approach to the Nicaraguans, we have taken care to project
USG support for Nicaragua's democracy and economic
development, respect for sovereignty, and willingness to
pursue a cooperative relationship. Members of the democratic
opposition and civil society have praised our approach as the
best means to prevent President Ortega from using the pretext
of a "hostile U.S. government" as justification to fall
exclusively within Venezuela's orbit of influence (ref. L)

TRIVELLI