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Viewing cable 09STATE16285, IAEA REPORTS ON IRAN AND SYRIA

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09STATE16285 2009-02-22 20:08 2010-11-28 18:06 SECRET Secretary of State
VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #6285 0532034
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
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FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA IMMEDIATE 0000
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INFO RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA IMMEDIATE 0000
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S E C R E T STATE 016285 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/18/2029 
TAGS: KNNP PARM IAEA MNUC IR SYR TRGY
SUBJECT: IAEA REPORTS ON IRAN AND SYRIA 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: ISN - C. S. ELIOT KANG, ACTING FOR 
REASONS 1.4(B) AND (D) 
 
1.  (U) This is an action request.  See paragraphs 6-9. 
 
------- 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
2.  (SBU) International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) 
Director General (DG) ElBaradei released his latest 
reports on the status of the IAEA's investigations into 
Iran and Syria's nuclear programs on 19 February 2009. 
Both reports conformed to expectations in describing the 
absence of any meaningful steps by either country to 
address the serious issues that exist with respect to 
their nuclear programs. 
 
3.  (SBU) With respect to Iran, DG ElBaradei's 
description of the dichotomy between the stalled 
investigation and rapid pace of Iran's centrifuge 
advances is stark.  The report underscores the number of 
outstanding issues that need to be clarified regarding 
possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program. 
The IAEA simply notes that it has "still not received a 
positive reply from Iran" regarding its request for 
access to relevant "information, documentation, 
locations or individuals."  Consequently, "the Agency 
has not made any substantive progress on these issues." 
Iran's failure to cooperate with the IAEA in this regard 
suggests Iran continues to wish to hide the nature of 
these activities. 
 
4.  (SBU) At the same time, the IAEA reported that, far 
from having complied with its UNSC obligation to suspend 
its uranium enrichment and heavy water-related 
activities, Iran has continued to expand its activities 
at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) and Arak Heavy 
Water Research Reactor.  Approximately 5,500 centrifuges 
are operating, up from approximately 3,800 in November 
2008.  Of particular concern, the IAEA notes that since 
February 2007, Iran has produced 1,010 kilograms of low 
enriched uranium (LEU), a substantial increase over the 
630 kilograms reported in November 2008.  Approximately 
1,300 kilograms of LEU would be sufficient for one 
nuclear weapon if Iran decided to go that route. 
Currently, this material remains under IAEA safeguards. 
Nevertheless, the risk posed in an Iranian breakout 
scenario, either from diversion of safeguarded nuclear 
material or through the covert enrichment of undeclared 
nuclear material, is higher than in the past.  Morever, 
Iran continues to deny the IAEA access to the Arak 
reactor to conduct a Design Information Verification 
inspection which would provide the IAEA assurances that 
the construction of the reactor does not serve as a 
pathway to divert nuclear material for weapons purposes. 
 
5.  (SBU) DG ElBaradei's report on Syria reinforces our 
conclusion that Syria was engaged in a clandestine 
effort to construct and operate a nuclear reactor at Al 
Kibar.  The report also helps to confirm that uranium 
found via environmental samples collected at the site is 
not naturally occurring, lending credence to the fact 
that the facility in question was a reactor.  Although 
the report does not categorically dismiss Syria's 
explanation that the uranium was from Israeli missiles 
used in the attack on the reactor in September 2007, it 
suggests that this explanation is highly unlikely. 
Syria delivered an eleventh-hour letter on 17 February 
2009 attempting to demonstrate a degree of cooperation 
immediately before the report's release.  The report 
notes that the responses in the Syrian letter "were only 
partial ... and did not address most of the questions 
raised in the Agency's communications."  Importantly, 
the report also calls on Syria to allow access to other 
locations and allow inspectors to take samples of the 
debris removed from Al Kibar as soon as possible, noting 
that these measures are "essential" for the IAEA to be 
able complete its assessment. 
 
--------------- 
Action Requests 
--------------- 
 
6.  (SBU) ACTION REQUEST FOR ALL POSTS:  Posts are 
requested to convey U.S. views regarding the IAEA 
reports to appropriate host governments.  Posts should 
underscore that these reports demonstrate that neither 
Iran nor Syria have taken any meaningful steps to 
cooperate with the IAEA in the past six months.  Posts 
should stress that Syria's refusal to do so only deepens 
concerns regarding the nature of its clandestine nuclear 
activities.  With respect to Iran, Posts should 
emphasize that while Iran has stalled the IAEA's 
investigation and still refuses to provide the IAEA with 
requested transparency, its centrifuge program continues 
to make progress.  The net result is that in neither 
case can the international community have confidence in 
the exclusively peaceful nature of these nuclear 
programs.  For Iran, the UN Security Council has imposed 
a mandatory requirement that it suspend all 
proliferation sensitive nuclear activities and cooperate 
fully with the IAEA.  On Iran, we should stress that 
with international rights, come responsibilities.  Iran 
needs to live up to those responsibilities.  We believe 
that Iran's continued failure to do so is another 
opportunity lost. 
 
7.  (SBU) ACTION REQUEST FOR ALL POSTS CONT:  With 
respect to the upcoming 2-6 March 2009 IAEA Board of 
Governors' meeting, Posts should stress the need for the 
following from host governments: 
 
-- Strong national statements on Iran and call on Iran 
to impement its international nuclear obligations 
without delay.  Statements should urge Iran to take 
advantage of this critical opportunity for engagement by 
addressing the concerns of the international community 
and underscore the need for full transparency with the 
IAEA (including Iran's implementation of the Additional 
Protocol) and cooperation with the IAEA's investigation, 
as well as suspension of all proliferation-sensitive 
nuclear activities; 
 
-- Strong national statements on Syria and a demand that 
Syria cooperate with the IAEA's investigation; 
 
--      Strengthened statements on Iran and Syria from 
regional or other groups, e.g., European Union, the 
Group of 77 and China, the Non-Aligned Movement, the 
Group of Latin America and the Carribean; the Africa 
Group, etc.  To the extent possible, Posts should 
encourage host goverments to instruct their delegations 
not to accept statements from any group to which they 
are a member that would downplay the factual reports of 
the IAEA, or undercut the Agency's ability to obtain the 
necessary information and access needed to resolve these 
serious issues; and, 
 
-- Board members should support, by vote if necessary, 
releasing the Syria report to the public.  This is 
essential for the public to appreciate the serious 
nature of Syria's failure to cooperate with the IAEA. 
This report will also demonstrate the level of 
transparency in IAEA affairs that we believe Syria 
should manifest in its approach to the IAEA. 
 
8.  (S) ACTION REQUEST FOR UNVIE:  In addition to 
conveying these messages to local IAEA Missions, UNVIE 
should continue working to promote support within the 
IAEA Secretariat and among IAEA Board Members for 
continuing and expanding the investigation into both 
Iran and Syria's nuclear activities and pressuring both 
to cooperate with the respective investigations. 
Mission is requested to place maximum effort into 
securing strong national statements demanding Iranian 
and Syrian cooperation with the IAEA by as many Board 
members as possible, particularly those in the EU. 
Mission should also work to support a P5+1 statement on 
Iran.  Mission's efforts to build support for such 
statements should begin as soon as possible, and will be 
facilitated by technical briefings on Iran and Syria's 
nuclear efforts to Board members in Washington and 
Vienna the week prior to the Board meeting.  These 
briefings will be provided by State and IC 
nonproliferation experts.  Mission is also requested to 
ensure that the IAEA Director General's forthcoming 
report on Syria is made public, including by laying the 
groundwork for a vote in the Board if necessary.  If 
possible politically and statutorily, Mission should 
seek the concurrent release of the November 2008 Syria 
report, which was denied public release by NAM/Arab 
intervention at the November 2008 Board meeting. 
Mission should begin coordinating with likeminded Board 
members at the earliest possible date. 
 
9.  (S) ACTION REQUEST FOR LONDON, PARIS, MOSCOW, 
BERLIN, AND BEIJING:  In addition to conveying U.S. 
views regarding the Iran and Syria reports, Posts should 
stress that the United States believes that the Iran 
report reinforces the need for a strong P5+1 statement 
demanding Iran's immediate and full cooperation with the 
IAEA.  Discussions regarding specific texts will be 
addressed in Vienna and Washington. 
 
--------------------------- 
POCS AND REPORTING DEADLINE 
--------------------------- 
 
10.  (SBU) Mission is requested to report on the status 
of its efforts in advance of the Board.  Richard Nephew 
(202-647-7680) and Matt Goldstein (202-647-4196) are the 
Department's POCs for this issue. 
CLINTON