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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
08UNVIEVIENNA655
2008-12-12 16:03:00
CONFIDENTIAL
UNVIE
Cable title:  

IRAN: TEHRAN EDUCATES DELEGATION ON ITS

Tags:   PREL  SNAR  IR  KNNP 
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OO RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHKUK
DE RUEHUNV #0655/01 3471603
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 121603Z DEC 08
FM USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8815
INFO RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUCNNAR/VIENNA NARCOTICS COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD IMMEDIATE 0216
RUEHDE/AMCONSUL DUBAI IMMEDIATE 0040
						
					
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 UNVIE VIENNA 000655

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/12/2022
TAGS: PREL SNAR IR KNNP
SUBJECT: IRAN: TEHRAN EDUCATES DELEGATION ON ITS
COUNTERNARCOTICS EFFORTS, REQUESTS AID

UNVIE VIEN 00000655 001.2 OF 002


Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Geoffrey Pyatt for reasons 1.4 (c) and
(e)

(C) Summary. On December 12, Pakistani Ambassador Shahbaz
debriefed DCM and Msnoff on a recent Iranian
government-sponsored trip he took to Iran to gain a better
understanding of Tehran's efforts to combat drug smuggling
into and through Iran. Shahbaz's overall impression was that
Iran's efforts to combat the drug trade are serious and
significant and reported a familiar message from the Iranian
Foreign Minister regarding the country's nuclear program.
Iranian government officials made repeated requests for
international technical assistance, such as the provision of
night vision goggles and radar, to aid the patrolling of its
long border with Pakistan and Afghanistan. End Summary.

(C) On December 12, Pakistani Ambassador Shahbaz debriefed
DCM and Msnoff on a recent trip he took to Iran to gain a
better understanding of Tehran's efforts to combat drug
smuggling into and through Iran. The Iranian government
sponsored the travel of ten foreign officials, mostly coming
from Vienna, to exhibit its counternarcotics efforts and to
request international assistance for technical support and
equipment. In addition to Ambassador Shahbaz, who
represented the G-77, representatives from Cuba (on behalf of
the NAM), Namibia (as chair of the Commission on Narcotic
Drugs), Venezuela (on behalf of GRULAC), Germany (on behalf
of the mini-Dublin group), Switzerland (on behalf of WEOG),
the Arab League, and the INCB attended. Iranian Permanent
Representative to the IAEA Soltanieh accompanied the
delegation.

(C) The ten officials were accompanied throughout by the
Iranian general in charge of patrolling Iran's eastern
border. They began the tour in Zahedan, near the tri-border
area where Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan come together and
were flown by helicopter along a significant length of Iran's
border to show the ditch that Iran has dug to prevent
smugglers from crossing into Iran in remote parts of the
country and then a wall and fence that extended the border

protection. The officials were told that the four meter wide
by five meter deep ditch extends approximately 370 kilometers
and will be lengthened to cover 600 kilometers. Along a more
settled area, Iran had built a 35-kilometer wall topped with
barbed wire and then a simpler 140 kilometer-long barbed wire
fence. Iran has also created obstacles in rivers that cross
its border which allow water to flow, but prevent the passage
of smugglers. In other areas, surveillance towers are manned
to watch for smugglers, but Iran argued that these methods
are much less effective than the barriers and need to be
augmented with better equipment, such as night vision goggles
and radar. Iranian officials claimed that "people are not
the problem" and that they have 50,000 Law Enforcement Forces
(LEF) personnel dedicated to border patrol, but that these
forces are ineffective in the dark, thus requiring
international assistance in the form of equipment and
technical support. In response to a question by Msnoff,
Shahbaz noted that there was no discussion of Islamic
Revolutionary Guard Corps support for the border patrol
effort. He noted that everyone he saw was wearing the same
uniforms with the same insignia, and the government said that
they were all part of Iran's police force. Shahbaz's overall
impression was that Iran's efforts to combat the drug trade
are serious, significant, and well-coordinated. Iranian
officials said that thus far, they have spent 600 million
dollars on infrastructure to prevent smuggling.

(C) In response to Iran's repeated pleas for international
assistance, Shahbaz noted to the Iranian officials that
"first we need to make these efforts ourselves" before we ask
the international community for assistance. The officials
responded that they planned to continue their domestic
efforts but that there were technical limits to what Iran
could do domestically. Shahbaz also reminded Iranian
officials that if they make the Iranian border impenetrable,
the smuggling will move across another border, implying that
international assistance to Iran might help solve Iran's
problem, but would not solve the broader problem of the
amount of drugs being moved out of Afghanistan to markets
across the world. The DCM reminded Shahbaz that the U.S. has
concerns about the transfer of sophisticated dual-use
technology such as night vision goggles given Iranian support
for terrorism and anti-coalition activities in Iraq and asked
why Iran is not requesting other equipment that is less
controversial but might still address their problems.
Shahbaz noted that Iranian officials were not very specific
about the types of assistance that they need, but expects
that Iran will make the same general pleas for technical
assistance and equipment at next week's Paris Pact meeting.

UNVIE VIEN 00000655 002.2 OF 002



(C) In a meeting with Foreign Minister Motaki, the same
request for international assistance was made, but Motaki
spoke more broadly about Iranian efforts and concerns. He
criticized Karzai's efforts to talk to the Taliban given the
brutal history of that group and mentioned the nuclear issue
only briefly to reiterate that peaceful nuclear energy is
Iran's right.

(C) Shahbaz said that he questioned several times during the
trip why the volume of drugs coming out of Afghanistan is so
significant given the number of coalition forces on the
ground in Afghanistan. German Ambassador to Tehran Honsowitz
responded that combating the drug trade was not the
coalition's mandate and that they could not combat drug
production and smuggling in addition to their security
mandate. Shahbaz argued that this was not a convincing
answer. The DCM noted that the increase in narcotics
activity was likely an indicator of the deteriorating
security climate in the country and underlined out concern
about the nexus between Taliban and drug trafficking
activities.

(C) Shahbaz also noted the severe problem of drug addiction
in Iran. Although the officials were supposed to visit an
Iranian rehabilitation clinic, they "ran out of time."
Shahbaz hypothesized that the omission of this site visit was
purposeful. He noted that unlike the West's "gentle"
rehabilitation efforts, Iran treats its drug addicts like
criminals and thus the government may not have wanted to show
a clinic which would raise questions about their treatment of
these individuals.

(C) Shahbaz also briefly outlined his recommendation to the
incoming U.S. administration on the nuclear stalemate with
Iran, noting that it is time to try an alternative to the
current strategy and to engage with Iran directly without
preconditions. Because the U.S. is a big country, it has the
luxury of testing the theory that engagement will work. He
reiterated that Tehran does not have an interest in engaging
with the EU, but is focused on engagement with Washington.
Shahbaz also emphasized Pakistan's interest in finding a
solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. With two nuclear
states to the east and all of its forces deployed on that
side of the country, Pakistan has no interest in facing a
nuclear adversary to the west as well.
PYATT