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Viewing cable 08STATE134490, S) LETTER FROM DEPUTY SECRETARY NEGROPONTE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08STATE134490 2008-12-24 21:09 2010-12-06 21:09 SECRET Secretary of State
VZCZCXYZ0003
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #4490 3592211
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 242158Z DEC 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY YEREVAN IMMEDIATE 0000
S E C R E T STATE 134490 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/23/2018 
TAGS: ETTC MASS OPDC PARM PREL AM
SUBJECT: (S) LETTER FROM DEPUTY SECRETARY NEGROPONTE 
REGARDING 2003 ARMENIAN ARMS PROCUREMENT FOR IRAN 
 
REFS: A. YEREVAN 657, B. State 97802 
 
Classified By: EUR/FO DAS Garber, Reasons 1.4 (b), 
(c), and (d). 
 
1.  (U) Please deliver the following letter from Deputy Secretary 
Negroponte.  There will be no signed original.  Embassy should also 
propose discussions with the Government of Armenia in coming weeks. 
Suggested dates and team composition will be provided septel. 
Embassy Yerevan is requested to report response. 
 
2.  (Secret/Rel Armenia) Begin Letter: 
 
 
Dear Mr. President: 
 
        We value our positive relationship with your government, 
as we explore a range of shared interests, especially an agreement 
on Nagorno Karabakh and normalization of Armenia's relations with 
Turkey.  At the same time, we are dismayed by a serious  and, 
indeed, deadly - arms re-export case. 
 
        Secretary Rice, Assistant Secretary Fried, Deputy Assistant 
Secretary Bryza, and Ambassador Yovanovitch have raised with you our 
deep concerns about Armenia's transfer of arms to Iran which 
resulted in the death and injury of U.S. soldiers in Iraq. 
Notwithstanding the close relationship between our countries, 
neither the Administration nor the U.S. Congress can overlook this 
case.  By law, the transfer of these weapons requires us to consider 
whether there is a basis for the imposition of U.S. sanctions.  If 
sanctions are imposed, penalties could include the cutoff of U.S. 
assistance and certain export restrictions. 
 
        To avoid such sanctions, it is essential that you present 
compelling evidence that your government is now in partnership with 
us to ensure such transfers do not occur in the future. 
 
        To convince the United States that this will not happen again, 
we seek a written agreement from Armenia, memorializing its intent 
to implement measures that will prevent Armenia from becoming a 
source of weapons for Iran or other states or groups involved with 
terrorism and/or weapons proliferation.  Such measures include: 
 
-- Reform the Armenian Export Control Commission so its members are 
full time employees who exclusively work on export controls; 
 
-- Establish, at each point of entry into Armenia, Armenian teams 
dedicated to detecting and interdicting dual-use commodities and 
other contraband; 
 
-- Periodically accept unannounced visits by U.S. experts to assess 
the work of the teams; 
 
-- Harmonize Armenia's export control legislation with that of the 
EU; 
 
-- Update and make public Armenian export control lists, 
incorporating the control lists of the Wassenaar Arrangement, 
Missile Technology Control Regime, and other international control 
regimes; 
 
-- Ensure that Armenian-based brokers do not facilitate arms related 
transfers; and 
 
-- Consult with the United States on transfers to countries that are 
not member states of NATO or the EU, or participating states of the 
Wassenaar Arrangement. 
 
        We are prepared to send a team as early as possible in the New 
Year to discuss this proposal further.  It is my hope that we can 
work together to forge a positive outcome which provides your 
government the opportunity to strengthen Armenia's export controls 
and for my government to assist you in this effort. 
 
Sincerely, 
John D. Negroponte 
 
End text of letter. 
 
3.  (S) Background:  In 2003, Armenia facilitated Iran's purchase of 
rockets and machine guns.  In 2007, some of these weapons were 
recovered from two Shia militant attacks in which a United States 
soldier was killed and six others were injured in Iraq.  The 
Secretary discussed our concerns with President Sargsian on the 
margins of the UN General Assembly, but he denied any transfer 
occurred.  The direct role of high-level Armenian officials and the 
link of the weapons to an attack on U.S. forces make this case 
unique and highly troubling.  These transfers may provide a basis 
for sanctions pursuant to U.S. legal authorities.  We propose a 
series of steps that Armenia will need to take to prevent future 
transfers, which will be weighed in the consideration of sanctions. 
We hope to use the threat of sanctions as a tool to generate 
Armenian responsiveness so that we will not be forced to impose 
sanctions measures. 
 
4.  (S) The Deputy Secretary is writing to President Sargsian and 
indicating that a team will be sent to Armenia to seek written 
agreement that Armenia will take steps to ensure that it does not 
become a source of weapons for Iran or other states or groups of 
concern.  The team will also present additional information that 
will make clear why the United States is convinced that the 
transfers happened and make it unreasonable for Sargsian to continue 
his denials.  We anticipate that the team will travel to Yerevan in 
the coming weeks, to provide sufficient time for the incoming 
Administration to be briefed on the situation. 
 
5.  (S) Objective:  Our objective is to prevent Armenia from 
becoming a source of weapons for Iran or other states or groups of 
concern, without derailing a possible Nagorno-Karabakh settlement. 
Embassy Yerevan should seek to convey the seriousness with which the 
United States views this issue and emphasize that the transfer of 
arms to Iran and subsequently to terrorists in Iraq, in particular 
transfers that resulted in the death of an American serviceman, 
cannot be overlooked by the United States. 
 
6.  (U) Please contact EUR/PRA Matt Hardiman and ISN/CATR Margaret 
Mitchell with any questions or follow-up issues related to this case 
and slug any reporting on this issue for ISN and EUR. 
RICE