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86ABUDHABI5867 1986-12-09 08:09:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Abu Dhabi
Cable title:  

ENGINEER COMMENTS ON LIFE IN RASHT, AND THE

Tags:   PINR PGOV PREL IR TC 
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R 090809Z DEC 86
FM AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 4900
INFO AMEMBASSY ATHENS
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ABU DHABI 05867 

FROM AMCONSUL DUBAI


E. O. 12356: DECL: OADR
TAGS: PINR PGOV PREL IR TC
SUBJECT: ENGINEER COMMENTS ON LIFE IN RASHT, AND THE
- LIKELY LEADERS OF A POST-KHOMEINI IRAN



1. CONFIDENTIAL - ENTIRE TEXT.



2. SUMMARY: AN IRANIAN ENGINEER CLAIMED THAT WHILE SOME
INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISES IN THE CITY OF RASHT HAVE BEEN
FORCED TO SEND EMPLOYEES TO THE WAR, THERE HAS BEEN NO
SHORTAGE OF VOLUNTEERS. SINCE THE FIRMS WERE OPERATING AT
LESS THAN FULL CAPACITY, THEIR ABSENCE AFFECTED OUTPUT ONLY
MARGINALLY. INDUSTRIAL CHIEFS IN THE REGION WERE ESCORTED
LAST SPRING THROUGH THE FAO PENINSULA. WEST GERMANY IS
TRAINING MANY OF THESE ENGINEERS IN A "DIVIDEND-FOR-TRAIN-
ING" EXCHANGE PROGRAM. KHOMEINI IS LIKELY TO BE SUCCEEDED
BY A "GROUP OF FIVE" THAT INCLUDES MONTAZERI, RAFSANJANI,
KHAMENEI, AHMAD KHOMEINI, AND MESHKINI. END SUMMARY.



3. ON NOVEMBER 22, CONOFF DUBAI SPOKE WITH A U. S.-
TRAINED IRANIAN ENGINEER RESPONSIBLE FOR WATER SYSTEMS IN
A FACTORY IN BANDAR ANZALI, NEAR RASHT. IRANIAN'S OBSER-
VATIONS ARE SUMMARIZED AS FOLLOWS:



4. INDUSTRIAL ACTIVITY AND WAR RECRUITMENT: OF THE THREE
MAJOR INDUSTRIES IN RASHT, THE TEXTILE AND PAPER MILLS ARE
RUNNING AT ONLY ONE-HALF CAPACITY, WHILE THE ELECTRIC POWER
PLANT CONTINUES AT FULL CAPACITY. TEN PER CENT OF THE TEX-
TILE AND PAPER EMPLOYEES HAVE HAD TO SERVE AT THE WAR
FRONT, BUT THE POWER PLANT EMPLOYEES HAVE BEEN EXEMPTED.
SOURCE CLAIMED THAT NO FORCE HAD TO BE USED TO COERCE EM-
PLOYEES TO JOIN THE MILITARY. "BRAIN-WASHING" HAS BEEN SO
EFFECTIVE THAT "IN RASHT THERE IS NEVER A SHORTAGE OF
BASIJ." VOLUNTEERS ARE GIVEN 45 DAYS OF TRAINING IN RASHT,
AND THEN ARE SENT FOR TWO TO FOUR WEEKS FURTHER TRAINING
NEAR TEHRAN. HE SAID MANY IRANIANS BELIEVE THAT AN END TO
THE IRAN-IRAQ WAR WOULD NOT NECESSARILY MEAN AN END TO CON-
FRONTATION. THEY SEE THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR INCAPABLE OF
ABSORBING IRANIAN SOLDIERS AND REASON THAT NEW CONFRONTA-
TIONS, PERHAPS WITH PAKISTAN, WOULD BE USED TO KEEP THE
SOLDIERS "OCCUPIED."



5. INDUSTRIAL HEADS VISIT FAO: IN APRIL, 1986, THE GOI
ORGANIZED A TWO-WEEK TRIP TO THE FAO WAR FRONT FOR RASHT
INDUSTRIAL LEADERS. THE TRIP HAD TWO OBJECTIVES: FIRST,
TO FAMILIARIZE INDUSTRIAL HEADS WITH THE TYPES OF EQUIPMENT
BEING USED SO THAT THEIR FACTORIES COULD FABRICATE SPARE
PARTS. SAMPLE EQUIPMENT AND PARTS WERE COLLECTED, BUT AT-
TEMPTS TO REPRODUCE THEM IN RASHT AND BANDAR ANZALI FAILED.
MOST SPARE PARTS, HE SAID, PARTICULARLY THOSE FOR HIGH
PRESSURE COMPRESSORS, ARE BEING FABRICATED FROM AMERICAN
AND BRITISH DESIGNS IN TURKEY, AND ARE BEING TRUCKED INTO
IRAN. A SECOND OBJECTIVE WAS TO HAVE INDUSTRIAL LEADERS
WITNESS THE DETERMINATION OF THE MILITARY, AND CONVEY
FAVORABLE IMPRESSIONS TO THEIR NEIGHBORS AND EMPLOYEES IN
RASHT SO THAT THE FLOW OF BASIJ VOLUNTEERS WOULD CONTINUE
UNIMPEDED.



6. EXCHANGING EMPLOYEE TRAINING FOR DIVIDENDS: SOURCE
CLAIMED THAT THE GOI OWNS 25 PER CENT OF THE GERMAN COR-
PORATE GIANT KRUPP. INSTEAD OF PAYING DIVIDENDS TO THE
GOI, THE GERMAN GOVERNMENT HAS WORKED OUT A SCHEME WHEREBY
IRANIAN ENGINEERS ARE SENT FOR INDUSTRIAL TRAINING IN
GERMANY INSTEAD. SOURCE SAID THAT IN THE SUMMER OF 1985,
HE HAD RECEIVED A TWO-WEEK TRAINING COURSE IN WEST GERMANY
IN ASSORTED METHODS OF WASTE WATER TREATMENT.



7. HOW MANY AYATOLLAHS DOES IT TAKE TO REPLACE KHOMEINI?:
THIS SOURCE AND OTHER IRANIAN CONTACTS IN DUBAI BELIEVE
THAT MUCH OF AYATOLLAH MONTAZERI'S RECENT DIFFICULTIES, IN-
CLUDING THE ARREST OF MEHDI HASHEMI, ARE TRACEABLE TO AN
UNWILLINGNESS AMONG OTHER LEADERS TO ACCEPT MONTAZERI AS
THE SOLE LEADER OF THE POST-KHOMEINI ERA. THE IRANIAN
CONSTITUTION ALLOWS FOR A THREE-TO-FIVE-PERSON GROUP TO
LEAD THE NATION, AND THE LIKELY FIVE WHO WOULD SHARE THE
LEADERSHIP AFTER KHOMEINI'S DEATH APPEAR TO BE: (A)
AYATOLLAH MONTAZERI--HAVING BEEN CHOSEN BY KHOMEINI, HE IS
NOT LIKELY TO BE EXCLUDED. HE IS SEEN BY MOST IRANIANS AS
A "COMPASSIONATE" LEADER, IN CONTRAST TO THE "DICTATORIAL"
KHOMEINI, DESPITE HIS EVIDENT LACK OF SOPHISTICATION OR
COHERENT WORLD VIEW.

(B) HOJJAT-OL-ESLAM RAFSANJANI--AS SPEAKER OF THE PARLIA-
MENT, HE HAS BEEN ABLE TO SHAPE EVENTS TO HIS OWN ADVANT-
AGE. IRANIANS CONTINUE TO NOTE THAT IT IS "NO COINCID-
ENCE" THAT RAFSANJANI WAS ABSENT BOTH TIMES WHEN BOMBS
KILLED MANY OF HIS LIKELY RIVALS. MANY IRANIANS BELIEVE
THAT HE WILL STOP AT NOTHING TO ASSURE HIS PLACE IN THE
"GROUP OF FIVE" AND THAT, IF HE HAS TO SHARE POWER, IT WILL
ONLY BE BECAUSE OF HIS WEAKER RELIGIOUS CREDENTIALS (HE IS
NOT AN AYATOLLAH).

(C) PRESIDENT ALI HOSEINI KHAMENEI--LIKE RAFSANJANI,
KHAMENEI HAS BEEN ABLE TO SOLIDIFY HIS ACCESS TO THE
ELITES FROM HIS POSITION AS PRESIDENT. WHEN RAFSANJANI
WANTED TO LIMIT THE POWER OF THE COMITEHS TO MAKE DECI-
SIONS WITHOUT CONSULTING HIGHER LEVELS OF THE GOI,
KHAMENEI SUPPORTED THE COMITEHS' INDEPENDENCE, WHOSE MEM-
BERSHIP ARE NOT LIKELY TO FORGET HIS SUPPORT FOR THEM.

(D) AHMAD MUSAVI-KHOMEINI--AYATOLLAH KHOMEINI'S SON IS
BELIEVED TO BE THE ONLY PERSON WITH UNLIMITED ACCESS TO
THE IMAM. EVERY PERSON WHO CALLS ON THE AYATOLLAH MUST
FIRST BE "APPROVED" BY "GATEKEEPER" AHMAD BEFORE HE IS AL-
LOWED TO SEE KHOMEINI. WHILE AHMAD RARELY FIGURES IN
IRANIAN HEADLINES, IT IS BELIEVED THAT SINCE HE KNOWS ALL
THAT HAS TRANSPIRED BETWEEN THE IMAM AND HIS GUESTS, HE
WILL BE ABLE TO USE THIS KNOWLEDGE TO ASSUME HIS PLACE IN
THE "GROUP OF FIVE." IN ADDITION, SOME IRANIANS IN THE
MAJLIS HAVE REPORTEDLY VOICED THE CONCERN THAT "WE CAN
NEVER ALLOW THE NAME 'KHOMEINI' TO FADE FROM OUR VIEW."
ONE WAY OF ASSURING THIS IS TO KEEP AHMAD IN THE UPPER
LEVELS OF THE GOI.

(E) AYATOLLAH ALI AKBAR MESHKINI--SPEAKER FOR THE "COUNCIL
OF EXPERTS," HE RARELY MAKES NEWS. HOWEVER, IRANIANS WE
HAVE TALKED TO IN DUBAI BELIEVE THAT HE IS ORCHESTRATING
MUCH OF THE CONTINUED ANTI-WEST, ANTI-AMERICAN RHETORIC.
SINCE HE ALLEGEDLY HAD A SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN HELPING TO
CHOOSE MONTAZERI AS THE IMAM'S SUCCESSOR, THE DEBT MONTA-
ZERI OWES HIM MAY WELL BE REPAID WITH A POSITION IN THE
"GROUP OF FIVE."



8. COMMENT: THESE OBSERVATIONS ON THE "GROUP OF FIVE"
COME FROM IRANIANS WHOSE INFORMATION HAS PROVED TO BE RELI-
ABLE IN THE PAST. WHILE MONTAZERI, RAFSANJANI, AND KHA-
MENEI ARE MOST OFTEN CITED IN ANY DISCUSSION OF POST-
KHOMEINI LEADERS, THE NAMES OF AHMED KHOMEINI AND MESHKINI
HAVE APPEARED OFTEN ENOUGH TO WARRANT THEIR INCLUSION.

MACK