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Viewing cable 09DOHA728, QATAR,S PRIME MINISTER ON IRAN: "THEY LIE TO US;

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09DOHA728 2009-12-20 12:12 2010-11-28 18:06 SECRET Embassy Doha
VZCZCXYZ0036
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDO #0728/01 3541214
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 201214Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY DOHA
TO RHMFISS/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9582
INFO RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE
S E C R E T DOHA 000728 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/14/2019 
TAGS: ENRG PREL TRGY EPET QA
SUBJECT: QATAR,S PRIME MINISTER ON IRAN: "THEY LIE TO US; 
WE LIE TO THEM." 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Joseph E. LeBaron, for reasons 1.4 (b, d). 
 
-- Deputy Secretary of Energy Poneman and Ambassador met 
December 10 with Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani 
(HBJ) to discuss energy research and development, critical 
infrastructure protection, and Iran. 
 
-- HBJ indicated Qatar,s interest in a bilateral critical 
infrastructure protection partnership. 
 
-- The PM was skeptical about the plausibility of Iranian 
acceptance of a nuclear compromise, saying he would be 
shocked if Iran abided by a deal to ship Low-Enriched Uranium 
(LEU) out of Iran. 
 
-- The best way to deal with the Iranians, he said, is to get 
them to dictate the terms of any such deal. The U.S. and its 
partners should strive to get the Iranians to put the details 
in writing, including timetables for implementation. 
 
-- HBJ characterized Qatar,s relationship with Iran as one 
in which "they lie to us, and we lie to them." 
 
-- According to HBJ, the GOQ tells Iran that it should 
"listen to the West,s proposal or there will be military 
action. If not by the U.S., then by the Israelis by the 
middle of next year." 
 
End Key Points. 
 
1. (C) Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman and 
Ambassador met December 10 with Prime Minister Hamad bin 
Jassim Al Thani. Also present on the American side was State 
Department Coordinator for International Energy Affairs, 
David Goldwyn.  DepSec Poneman thanked the Prime Minister for 
the meeting and expressed his hope that the U.S. and Qatar 
could strengthen their bilateral and investment ties. 
 
-------------------------------------- 
(C) CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION 
-------------------------------------- 
 
2. (C) The Deputy Secretary extended USG appreciation to the 
Prime Minister for Qatar,s support for the victims of 
Hurricane Katrina. The PM observed in response that "We might 
have our own Katrina," an apparent reference to security 
concerns arising from Qatar,s relationship with Iran. Deputy 
Secretary offered U.S. help to Qatar in protecting its 
critical infrastructure and in addressing its broader 
security concerns. Expressing interest in critical 
infrastructure protection, HBJ said he would talk to the 
Ministries of Energy and Interior on how best to take 
advantage of U.S. assistance. 
 
--------------------------------- 
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY INVESTMENT 
--------------------------------- 
 
3. (C) The Deputy Secretary raised science and technology 
investment, noting DoE interest in partnering with the GOQ on 
energy-related research and development projects. As an 
example of possible cooperation, DepSec Poneman cited 
computer simulation, emphasizing that the DOE national 
laboratories are international leaders in the field. 
 
4. (C) The Deputy Secretary reported that DoE had recently 
invested in a nanotechnology program and cited this as 
another possible area of cooperation, telling the PM there 
are additional opportunities for GOQ partnerships with 
private labs. Shaykh Hamad immediately expressed strong 
interest in nanotechnology, and asked the DepSec to provide 
him with a paper on that subject. The DepSec agreed, and 
added that he would be pleased to host Shaykh Hamad at the 
Sandia nanotechnology facility or another national lab. 
 
5. (C) Turning to genomics and solar technology as they 
relate to food production and Qatar,s National Food Security 
Program, Shaykh Hamad told the Deputy Secretary that he 
supported research in those fields, but expressed his opinion 
that Qatar,s investment in food and solar technology must be 
done on a commercial basis. 
 
-------------------------- 
(S) IRAN,S NUCLEAR PROGRAM 
--------------------------- 
 
6. (S) DepSec Poneman asked HBJ for his views on Iran,s 
nuclear program. The Deputy Secretary noted that the USG had 
entered into recent discussions with Iran not out of naivet, 
but as an effort to address a humanitarian concern (the need 
for medical isotopes) while also attempting to remove a 
 
meaningful amount of special nuclear material. Even though 
the effort had not to date resulted in Iranian agreement, it 
had borne fruit in the form of Russian and Chinese support 
for the most recent resolution of the IAEA Board of Governors 
in Vienna. The PM expressed his skepticism that the West 
would be able to reach a deal with Iran,s leaders, saying 
"I,d be surprised and shocked if the Iranians do a deal. You 
always think you have a deal with them and then you don,t." 
He continued, "The EU, Chirac, and Solana...they all thought 
they had a deal... Solana said two weeks; I advised him it 
would take two years." 
 
7. (S) Asked for his advice on how best to approach the 
Iranians, HBJ said it is imperative that the Iranians commit 
to draft any deal, including a timetable. He reiterated that 
it is important to "make them tell you (what they will do). 
Otherwise they will say 'yes, but...' and the 'but' will be 
worse than a 'no.'" The Deputy Secretary countered that, 
"They don,t want to make a proposal." To which HBJ 
responded, "You don,t understand. Even Mousavi can,t make a 
deal!" Poneman pressed the issue, saying the U.S. would not 
be offering a better deal than what is currently on the 
table. The Prime Minster said, "I know, but this is the way 
they are." 
 
8. (S) Referring to the current proposal on the Tehran 
Research Reactor (TRR), Deputy Secretary Poneman stressed: 
"This is a fleeting opportunity. If they don,t take this 
deal, what comes next is worse." The PM noted that the 
Iranians frequently press the Qataris to have dialogue on 
their shared natural gas field and attempt to expand the 
dialogue to include other subjects.  HBJ said that the 
Qataris "are always throwing cold water on their ideas." 
 
9. (S) On Qatar,s close ties with Iran, the PM added that he 
knows the U.S. becomes upset at times by what it hears about 
the Qatar/Iran relationship. However he characterized the 
relationship as one in which "They lie to us, and we lie to 
them." Poneman replied by underscoring that "It would be 
helpful if everywhere they went, they (the Iranians) heard 
the same thing."  The PM said for Qatar,s part, he  had told 
Iran that it should "listen to the West, s proposal or there 
will be military action. If not by the U.S., then by the 
Israelis by the middle of next year." Poneman observed that 
the Russians had pressed the Iranians hard during the Vienna 
negotiations, reinforcing the view that Iranian failure to 
accept the Tehran Research Reactor deal would lead back to 
the UN Security Council.  The PM asked if the U.S. believes 
the Russians were in agreement with the U.S. on the 
possibility of harsher measures. Poneman replied that, for 
now, the Russians appear to be holding a similar line to the 
USG on the TRR deal and we remain in close contact with 
Moscow. 
 
10. (U) This cable has been cleared by DepSec Poneman at 
Department of Energy. 
LeBaron