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2008-12-03 15:18:00
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DE RUEHUNV #0637/01 3381518
O 031518Z DEC 08


E.O. 12958: N/A




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) The November 27, 2008, IAEA Board of Governors
discussion of Iran largely focused on Iran's failures to
abide by the UNSC and Board resolutions and Iran's lack of
cooperation with the IAEA on issues associated with "possible
military dimensions" (PMD). In addition to the core
like-minded states, South Africa, Afghanistan, and Argentina
delivered unusually strong statements critical of Iran.
Twenty-seven of the thirty-five Board Member States spoke or
were spoken for by the EU, and two states spoke under Rule

50. The majority of statements requested Iran to comply with
UNSC and Board requirements on suspension, the Additional
Protocol (AP), and Code 3.1 of Iran's IAEA Safegaurds
Agreement (early declaration of nuclear facilities). Most
Board members requested additional transparency or
cooperation on the "alleged studies" and/or PMD, with many
regretting Iran's stonewalling on these issues.

2. (SBU) Several countries expressed concern that the IAEA
was refused design information verification (DIV) privileges
at the IR-40 Heavy Water Research Reactor (HWRR) at Arak, and
some recalled and highlighted the IAEA's Legal Advisor's
observation, in reply to a question during the November 21
Technical Briefing, that the refusal was "inconsistent with
Iran's safeguards obligations."

3. (SBU) The NAM statement largely reiterated the Tehran
Ministerial declaration, and the NAM troika of Cuba, Egypt
and Malaysia each supported Iran's position and focused
criticism on the IAEA's failure to provide "alleged studies"
documentation to Iran. The Director General (DG), in
remarks opening the Board meeting, had once again called on
the Member States that provided the Agency documentation
related to the alleged studies to authorize the Agency to
share it with Iran, a call repeated by the NAM troika.
Other NAM (Philippines, Ghana, India) delivered more measured
statements calling for Iranian cooperation, and Afghanistan
warned of the danger Iran posed to the region.

4. (SBU) Iran responded with familiar arguments that
certain Member States have turned this into a political
crisis and are using the IAEA for their hidden agendas.

Iranian Permanent Representative Soltanieh attacked several
of the "like-minded" countries' statements for being
"outrageous" and "dangerous." In a twist on Iran's
occasional hints that it could withdraw from the NPT, a new
theme Soltanieh floated in the Board room and at his press
conference was that these countries hoped that the sanctions
and pressure would cause Iran to withdraw from the NPT and
isolate itself. In this attempt, he said, the Western states
had "miscalculated." End Summary.

DG Sees Hindrance in Non-Releasibility
of Documents

5. ( SBU) The Director General (DG) in his opening
statement to the Board on November 27, noted that a number of
outstanding issues relevant to the "alleged studies" remained
open and needed to be clarified in order to exclude the
existence of "possible military dimensions" (PMD) to Iran's
nuclear program. Although he stated that it was regrettable
that the IAEA has not made any substantive progress on PMD,
he also stated that he regretted "the fact that the IAEA has
not been able to share with Iran documentation provided by
Member States" and called on the Member State to authorize
the IAEA to do so.

Russia and China Relatively Helpful

6. (SBU) Russia commended the IAEA's work to clarify Iran's
nuclear program and stated that it should continue its work
without "politicization." Russia called on Iran to fully
implement all transparency measures, including the Additional
Protocol (AP) as a confidence building measure, and implement
the UNSC and Board requirements. China's statement, on the
other hand, was weaker and focused largely on a negotiated
resolution with the "relevant" parties keeping their
patience, while also calling on Iran to implement the
relevant Board and UNSC resolutions.

EU, EU-3, and Like-Minded Deliver

UNVIE VIEN 00000637 002 OF 006

Strong Statements

7. (SBU) As EU President, France presented a very strong EU
statement. The EU observed with regret Iran's failure to
abide by numerous UNSC and Board resolutions and deplored
Iran's refusal to allow the IAEA to perform the design
information verification (DIV) at the IR-40 Heavy Water
Research Reactor (HWRR) at Arak. France noted that each day
Iran continues its non-cooperative behavior is another day
lost towards resolving the issue. The EU also made clear
that it would not accept the "fait accompli" that Iran is
trying to force upon the international community in regard to
its centrifuge enrichment program.

8. (SBU) The British Ambassador delivered a particularly
tough EU-3 statement that he himself drafted. (Comment: The
Israeli Ambassador commented to MsnOff that he thought it was
the best statement he had ever heard from the UK Ambassador
on the Iran issue. End Comment.) The statement emphasized
that Iran's failure to cooperate and its unresponsiveness to
the IAEA show "utter disrespect" for the IAEA and the members
of the Board. The EU-3 noted that the only progress Iran has
made since the DG's September report-enriching additional
uranium and continuing its heavy water-related activities-was
progress in the wrong and dangerous direction. The EU3
stressed that the situation described in the DG's report "is
profoundly unsatisfactory," and if Iran's choice remains one
of defiance and isolation, the EU-3 is "equally determined to
show that that choice has cost."

9. (SBU) Australia, Canada, Japan, and New Zealand all
delivered strong statements that noted it was essential for
Iran to promptly and substantively respond to the IAEA's
questions regarding PMD projects and meet all Board and
Security Council obligations, including suspension,
implementing the AP, and Code 3.1. Australia explained that
it would not be enough to say the Iran nuclear situation "has
reached a standstill, or merely that no progress has been
made in the Agency's efforts to shed light on Iran's nuclear
activities. In Australia's analysis, the (DG's) report
indicates that matters have moved backwards" Canada noted
that it was deeply concerned that no progress on the "alleged
studies" had been made and emphasized that full transparency
was long overdue. Japan strongly urged Iran to provide full
cooperation with the IAEA on the "alleged studies" and return
to the negotiation process based on the comprehensive package
proposed by the P5 1 without further delay. New Zealand
called on Iran to
clarify all outstanding issues, including those associated
with PMD, as soon as possible.

10. (SBU) Albania, fully associating itself with the EU
statement, delivered a strong statement highlighting
point-by-point Iran's failures to abide by the UNSC
resolutions and to respond substantively to the IAEA's
requests on PMD. Albania noted there was no good reason for
Iran not to cooperate. The Swiss statement largely focused
on the "diplomatic front" of the Iran nuclear situation and
described how the "Solana process" provided a real solution.
Switzerland noted how in previous DG's reports there had been
some positive elements, but observed that the current report
contained nothing positive.

South Africa and Argentina Also
Critical of Iran

11. (SBU) South Africa, although associating itself with
the NAM statement, delivered its strongest intervention on
Iran to date. South Africa demanded that Iran implement Code
3.1 and the AP without delay, as "a critical enabling
instrument to demonstrate the true nature of its nuclear
program." Noting Iran's refusal to allow a DIV at the Arak
reactor, South Africa further encouraged Iran to demonstrate
the "true nature of its nuclear program." South Africa also
called on Iran to abide by UNSC and Board resolutions and, as
a matter of transparency, to provide access and documentation
so as to address the serious concerns raised by PMD issues.
South Africa noted, however, that there had been no
information, aside from the uranium metal document, on the
manufacture of nuclear weapons components or use of nuclear
material. After so many years, South Africa remained
concerned that the IAEA was unable to draw conclusions on the
absence of undeclared activities/full nature of the Iranian
program, and called for intensified cooperation by Iran.
(Comment: Mission speculates that the stronger South African
statement could relate tactically to South African Governor

UNVIE VIEN 00000637 003 OF 006

Minty's candidacy for DG and his attempt to win support from
Europe and the U.S. End Comment.)

12. (SBU) Also delivering a strong statement, Argentina
regretted Iran's failure to implement Code 3.1 and the AP and
registered "deep concern" with the DG's report of the lack of
Iranian cooperation. Echoing the like-minded, Argentina
demanded that Iran comply without delay with UNSC
resolutions, suspend enrichment, and provide access to the
IR-40 reactor. No other GRULAC Board members, including
Brazil and Ecuador who have made good statements in past
Board sessions, spoke this time on Iran.

Turkey All Too Nuanced

13. (SBU) Turkey gave a disappointingly nuanced statement
and did not/not associate itself with the EU statement.
Turkey's statement began by affirming NPT rights and noting
the non-diversion of declared nuclear material, though the
Agency was unable to verify the full scope of Iran's nuclear
program. As a neighboring country, Turkey called on Iran to
alleviate the crisis of confidence by peaceful means but made
no reference to Iranian cooperation with the IAEA or
compliance with UNSC resolutions. (Comment: We hope that this
relatively weak statement to the Board is not a harbinger of
Turkey's positions on the UN Security Council. End Comment.)

NAM Troika Rallies to Iran's Side

14. (SBU) The NAM statement, delivered by Cuba at the
beginning of the Iran agenda item, was almost a carbon copy
of the NAM statement to the September Board, again quoting in
its entirety the July Tehran Ministerial declaration on Iran.
In addition, the NAM noted, as usual, the DG's report of the
non-diversion of declared nuclear material and no evidence of
reprocessing. With respect to the "alleged studies," the
statement referred back to language in the September DG
report, indicating that the Agency not being authorized to
provide documentation to Iran was an obstacle to
verification. The NAM also noted the absence of any nuclear
material in connection with the "alleged studies." Speaking
later in its national capacity, Cuba added a few "essential
elements," parroting Iran's position on the completion of the
IAEA's August 2007 work plan, resumption of routine
verification, and political manipulation of the UNSC to deny
NPT rights by demanding suspension as an unjust precondition
for negotiation. Cuba also focused its ire on the
"hypocrisy" of a group of member states that prevent the IAEA
from providing documentation to Iran, while demanding Iranian
cooperation beyond Iran's legal obligations.

15. (SBU) Egypt and Malaysia also hewed closely to the NAM
playbook. Egypt called for full cooperation by Iran with its
legal obligations under the comprehensive safeguards
agreement, but likewise argued that any cooperation "in
excess," based on "allegations," was unjustified. Egypt and
Malaysia called for information sharing by others while
reaffirming Iran's right to confidentiality of national
security information. Malaysia added that the IAEA should
not visit conventional military sites. Both defended the
impartiality of the IAEA against undue pressure and
interference and concluded with the customary call for a
Middle East NWFZ. Malaysia was particularly ardent about the
West punishing Iran and turning a blind eye to Israel.

16. (SBU) Finally, speaking under Rule 50, non-Board member
Venezuela offered a "principled" defense of Iran, noting that
the dynamic of cooperation between Iran and the IAEA had been
overshadowed by the threat of UNSC sanctions. Venezuela also
decried the handful of countries that had failed to provide
Iran documentation as a denial of "due process." This had
resulted in undue pressure on the IAEA in areas beyond its
Statutory authority so as to advance their geopolitical
agenda in the region.

Other NAM Provide Measured Criticism

17. (SBU) Associating itself with the NAM, Philippines gave
a measured expression of concern with the lack of substantive
progress on outstanding issues and called on "all parties" to
cooperate. However, Philippines also demanded compliance
with UNSC and Board resolutions and the implementation of the
AP as well as confidence building measures. Ghana delivered

UNVIE VIEN 00000637 004.2 OF 006

one of the pithiest assessments by any NAM member. Although
it too associated with the NAM, Ghana supported the DG's call
on Iran to cooperate and implement, at the earliest possible
date, all measures to assure the peaceful nature of its
nuclear program. Doing so, Ghana noted, would allay the
concerns of the international community and also remove Iran
from the Board's agenda, giving Iran the peace of mind to
pursue a peaceful nuclear program.

18. (SBU) India did not associate itself with the NAM and
delivered a characteristically short and balanced national
statement. India noted no progress since the September DG
report, and called on "all concerned" to cooperate to clarify
concerns while "trusting" that Iran will also do so. As in
previous Board statements, India concluded with a reference
to the "supply side of proliferation," an indirect dig at

19. (SBU) Afghanistan was the only state in the region to
raise the specter of the "direct danger" Iran's nuclear
program may pose. While defending the NPT right to peaceful
use, Afghanistan was critical of "hostile statements" made by
Iran. Portraying itself as a neighbor and close ally of the
Iranian people, Afghanistan called for continued cooperation
by Iran with the IAEA.

Same Old Iranian Statement

20. (SBU) As usual, Iranian Ambassador Soltanieh delivered
a two-part statement, starting with prepared remarks that
followed the usual themes and finishing with a more colorful
response to the statements made by others in the Board room.
In the course of his diatribe, Soltanieh half-jokingly
proposed that DG ElBaradei serve another term to deal with
the Iran dossier, a proposal which prompted a repartee with
the Board Chair. Soltanieh then warned that the U.S., UK,
and France have a hidden agenda and want to change the IAEA's
mandate in practice, but these three states have made a
number of "historical miscalculations" such as
underestimating the determination of Iran to defend its
nuclear rights at all costs or Iran's technical capability to
master nuclear technologies. He specifically called out
France-marking the second time he has done so since the
November 21 Technical Briefing-for its "dangerous" statement.

21. (SBU) Another new theme Soltanieh mentioned in the
Board room and at his post-board press conference was that
Western countries hoped that the sanctions and pressure would
cause Iran to withdraw from the NPT, presumably because this
would cause additional pressure on Iran. Other arguments are
well-worn, and focused on Iran's proclaimed cooperation
"above and beyond" its requirements, the West's
"politicization" of the Iran issue, the IAEA's admission
again that it can certify Iran's non-diversion of nuclear
material from declared sites, and that there are no
outstanding questions since the IAEA-Iran work plan was
completed. Soltanieh also invited states to bid on the
nuclear power plants it plans to build in the coming years.

22. (SBU) Two of Soltanieh's arguments are directly
contradicted by the Director General's reports: that Iran has
no obligation to allow inspections of Arak and that the
report says that Iran is not undertaking any undeclared
activities. Soltanieh again referenced his June PowerPoint
presentation of Iran's "answers" to the IAEA's questions on
the weaponization information and focused on the lack of a
classification marker on the documents despite their
"supposed" sensitive nature. He even waved around a five
euro rubber classification stamp, promising to pass it to the
U.S. so that they can "do better next time." Soltanieh also
tried to paint P5 1 efforts at entering negotiations as
disingenuous since, according to Soltanieh, Iran was waiting
for its questions of clarification on the package to be
answered when UNSCR 1835 was passed.

Chair's Summary

23. (SBU) In her summary, the Chair (Algerian Ambassador
Feroukhi) noted that several Member States expressed serious
concern that the Agency has yet to confirm the exclusively
peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program and that there
remain a number of outstanding issues. In addition, several
Member States noted their concern about the absence of
Iranian cooperation and progress on PMD. The Chairwoman
took note that some Member States deplored Iran's objection

UNVIE VIEN 00000637 005 OF 006

to the DIV at the IR-40 reactor, and several Member States
underlined that Iran could not unilateral suspend Code 3.1 of
its Subsidiary Arrangement. The summary stated that several
members noted that Iran needed to implement the AP, resolve
questions related to the "alleged studies" and associated
issues, provide more information on the circumstances of the
acquisition of the uranium metal document, clarify
procurement and R&D activities of military-related institutes
and companies that could be nuclear-related, and clarify the
production of nuclear equipment and components by companies
belonging to defense industries.

24. (SBU) The summary also reflected that several Member
States noted that no nuclear material has yet been connected
to Iran's weaponization-related work, and that he IAEA has
reported the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in
Iran, although the absence of undeclared material and
activities in Iran was an ongoing and time consuming process.
The Chairwoman also recalled that several members supported
the statement of the DG that other Member States should
authorize the IAEA to share "alleged studies" documentation
with Iran, which was a matter of concern that could impede
the verification process. (Comment: In contrast to her
handling of Syria, the Chair's summary was fair and balanced
and accurately reflected comments made on the Iran issue.)

U.S. Statement

25. (U) Begin text of U.S. statement:

Madam Chairwoman,

During the last three and a half years, I have attended
fifteen Board meetings on Iran, and I have read fifteen
Director General reports on Iran.

The report before us today is sadly familiar.

The report is sadly familiar because it documents once again
Iran's two basic failures: Iran's failure to comply with UN
requirements and Iran's failure to cooperate fully with the

These failures do not build confidence in the claims of
Iran's leaders that their pursuits are purely peaceful.
Instead, the Director General tells us once again that the
Agency cannot provide credible assurance about the absence of
undeclared nuclear material and activities.

This lack of confidence started with Iran's noncompliance
with its safeguards obligations. It has grown with each
further act of non-cooperation. And it is compounded by
Iran's determined pursuit of capabilities for uranium
enrichment and plutonium production. These pursuits are hard
to understand as peaceful when they violate multiple
resolutions of the IAEA Board and UN Security Council, make
no sense commercially, and could be readily diverted to the
manufacture of nuclear weapons.

Iran claims that its uranium enrichment is for nuclear power
reactors. But Iran has no nuclear power reactors and the
one under construction at Bushehr already has the necessary
fuel. Why do Iran's leaders rush to enrich uranium when
they have no reactors to fuel?

The Director General once spoke of a "deficit of confidence."
That deficit is now so deep that it's difficult to fathom.

Madame Chairwoman,

The latest report is sadly familiar, but familiarity is not a
cause for complacency. Rather the developments the Director
General reports are cause for alarm.

One development is Iran's continued enrichment of uranium and
active preparations to expand its capacity. Iran is now
stockpiling low enriched uranium absent an obvious civil
requirement. The amount of low enriched uranium now
stockpiled, if further enriched to weapons grade, would
surpass one half of an IAEA "significant quantity" -- the
amount it deems sufficient for one nuclear weapon.

A second development is Iran's complete blockage of the
Agency's investigation of outstanding questions about a
possible military dimension to Iran's nuclear program. The
Director General has called this a matter of serious concern.
He has called for substantive responses. Iran's leaders

UNVIE VIEN 00000637 006 OF 006

have replied not with substance but with steadfast refusal.

These two developments -- Iran's continued enrichment
activities and indications that it is also, at least until
recently, worked on weapon design and integration into a
delivery system -- combine to give cause for grave concern.

Consider two scenarios.

In the first scenario, Iran's authorities -- disregarding as
always international concerns -- throw the IAEA inspectors
out of Natanz, reconfigure the centrifuges, and further
enrich Iran's growing stockpile of low enriched uranium to
weapons grade. At the same time, unbeknownst to IAEA
inspectors, they resume past work on weaponization so that
the weapon-grade uranium can be fashioned into nuclear
warheads and mounted on a delivery system.

In the second scenario, Iran's authorities secretly transfer
the technology and expertise they are developing at Natanz to
a covert facility, well beyond the scrutiny of IAEA
inspectors. They continue to operate Natanz, under IAEA
supervision, to provide cover for the construction and
operation of the covert facility. Like in the first
scenario, they also resume work on weaponization in secret.

Both scenarios are plausible but the second may be more
likely and worrisome. Why worry about covert enrichment?
First, Iran has a history of hiding its nuclear activities.
Remember that Natanz was built as a covert facility in
violation of IAEA safeguards until it was exposed to the
world. Second, Iran has unilaterally suspended Code 3.1 of
its safeguards obligations that requires it to inform the
Agency of plans to construct new nuclear facilities. Third,
Iran is refusing to implement the Additional Protocol, which
is specifically designed to increase the Agency's chance of
finding undeclared sites. Fourth, Iran is denying IAEA
inspector requests to visit the workshops where it is
building centrifuges, thus keeping the Agency from knowing
how many are produced. The Director General has made clear
in several reports that the Agency "will not be able to
provide credible assurances about the absence of undeclared
nuclear material and activities in Iran" without reversals of
these Iranian attempts to sty
mie the IAEA's investigation.

Madame Chairwoman,

I am certain that these two scenarios will be firmly rejected
by the distinguished Permanent Representative of the Islamic
Republic of Iran. After all, Iran's leaders claim that
their pursuits are purely peaceful.

But if their pursuits are purely peaceful, Iran's leaders
should take steps to show us. Two basic steps have already
been mapped out by the Board and Security Council:

first, suspension of all uranium enrichment-, and heavy
water-related activities;
second, full cooperation with the IAEA, including by
implementing the Additional Protocol, granting the
inspector's transparency requests, fully disclosing past
weapons-related work, and allowing the inspectors to verify
it is halted.
Madame Chairwoman,

The United States will continue its strong support for
the Agency's investigation. That investigation must continue
until the Board is assured of the peaceful nature of Iran's
nuclear program.

Iran's leaders face a choice. They can continue what
has become sadly familiar -- failures to comply and failures
to cooperate, leading to more sanctions and isolation. Or
they can choose transparent cooperation and confidence
building that can lead through negotiations to international
respect and a diplomatic settlement.

We are ready for the second, more hopeful, choice and
fervently hope that Iran's leaders are too.

End text.