WikiLeaks cable: NZ takes firm line with Iran foreign minister

August 29, 2004
NZ takes firm line with Iran foreign minister over IAEA and Iran nuclear programme

SUBJECT: NEW ZEALAND TAKES FIRM LINE WITH IRAN FOREIGN
MINISTER OVER IAEA AND IRAN NUCLEAR PROGRAM


Classified By: Pol/Econ Counselor Tim Zuniga-Brown for reasons 1.5 (B/D
).

Iran's Foreign Minister Seeks "A Fair Hearing"
--------------------------------------------- -

1. (U) Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi visited New
Zealand August 23-24 to explain Iran's position in the IAEA.
Kharrazi met with Prime Minister Helen Clark, Foreign
Minister Phil Goff, Disarmament Minister Marian Hobbs,
Communications Minister Paul Swain and Agriculture and Trade
Minister Jim Sutton. FM Kharrazi said he decided to visit
New Zealand because Iran knew it could count on receiving a
"fair hearing" from the Kiwis the lead up to the upcoming
Board of Governors (BOG) meeting later in September. NZ
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) Deputy Secretary
(Under Secretary-equivalent) Rosemary Banks provided select
embassy reps a debrief on the Kharrazi visit. Banks noted
that in addition to discussions on the IAEA (below), the two
sides also held talks on human rights and increased political
and economic cooperation through a revamped Joint Ministerial
Consultative process.

Kharrazi: "Don't Isolate Us"
----------------------------

2. (C) Banks prefaced her comments by noting that New
Zealand believed it had influence with Iran as it was "not
identified with any particular side," adding that the GNZ
would be guided by IAEA reports on Iran and "consensus" views
within the IAEA. Banks said Kharrazi repeatedly urged that
Iran not be isolated if the international community wanted to
achieve its goals with Tehran. At the same time, Kharrazi
was also insistent that Iran had a right to develop a nuclear
power program that included a fully developed nuclear fuel
cycle. Development of a nuclear program was now a matter of
"national pride" for Iran, according to Kharrazi, especially
within the new Majlis. He further stated that the Majlis was
pushing the Iranian government to move more quickly on
establishing a full nuclear program. Kharazzi insisted that
the suspension of the enrichment program had always been
meant to be temporary.

3. (C) An "upbeat" Iranian delegation told the GNZ that it
felt Iran had provided "satisfactory" answers to all
outstanding questions and no longer expected to be
"automatically" placed on future IAEA BOG agendas. The
delegation said the current "file" on Iran should be
"permanently closed" after the September IAEA meeting.
During its meetings with Hobbs and elsewhere, the Iranian
delegation had ticked off its list of answers to outstanding
questions. For instance, on shielding, the Iranians said
this was simply due to an "old French design." On fuel
supplies, Iran said Russia had agreed to supply and take back
expended fuel, but there had been no agreement on price as
yet. On polonium, contamination had occurred before Iran
acquired the technology. On laser enrichment, the delegation
admitted that Iran had tried various technologies during the
period it was under sanctions.

GNZ: Iran Must Abandon Enrichment and Refining Activities
--------------------------------------------- -------------

4. (C) A senior official of Prime Minister Helen Clark's
office informed DCM that the PM had firmly told Kharrazi in
their private session that NZ expected Iran to abandon its
enrichment and refining activities. PM Clark publicly stated
that it was "absolutely critical" that Iran comply with IAEA
requests and expressed concern at the length of time it was
taking to find out what Iran was "actually doing." Minister
Hobbs bluntly told the Iranians in private that the IAEA
reports painted a picture of a possible nuclear weapons
program. The GNZ told the Iranian delegation that Iran's
"IAEA file" would only be closed if Iran's outstanding
questions were fully resolved to the satisfaction of the IAEA
BOG.
Swindells

- Herald on Sunday

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