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09LONDON859 2009-04-09 13:52:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy London
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1. (C) The UK is asking the Czech EU Presidency to issue a
public statement April 9 on the Saberi case, but believes
that a direct, informal USG signal to the Czechs is needed to
ensure a speedy EU statement, according to Iran Watcher
(Poloff) contacts in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's
Iran Coordination Group.

2. (C) FCO Iran Bilateral Team Leader Jaime Turner told
Poloff April 9 that the EU Presidency statement would urge
Tehran to "reconsider" its espionage charge against Saberi
and would focus, not on the regime's "bad acts" in arresting
Saberi, but on the legal protections and due process which
Saberi should in EU's view enjoy under the international
Declaration of Human Rights, which has been incorporated by
reference into Iran's constitution.

3. (C) Both Turner and Acting FCO Coordinator Will Gelling
pointed out that Western European governments are shutting
down early April 9 for a four-day Easter weekend; they
commented that delay until April 14 or 15 in making an
announcement on Saberi may look to Iranian authorities like
Western acquiescence to the IRI's harsh charge against Ms.
Saberi of espionage. Gelling also offered the view that an
immediate EU statement on Saberi was in every way consistent
with the April 8 P5 1 communique on engagement.

4. (C) Poloff, per ref a, urged FCO to press the EU
Presidency to make a statement as soon as possible, but
Turner stated it is unlikely Czechs will move quickly without
a direct indication of USG's support for an immediate EU
statement on Saberi. Turner said speed, simplicity of
message, and USG support are keys to quick Czech action.

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