German Mfa Hope Iran Sanctions Target Leaders Not Masses

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Classified By: Pol M/C George Glass for reasons 1.4 b/d

¶1. (C) SUMMARY. German MFA A/S equivalent for Non
Proliferation and Disarmament Gottwald told House Foreign
Affairs Committee Staff Director Richard Kessler that Germany
was ready to support sanctions on Iran, especially ones which
target the leadership and minimize impact on the general
population. Germany would prefer to see action taken within
the UNSC, but is concerned about Chinese commitment. Iran
Task Force Director Krueger said Germany was looking at
measures in sectors involving transportation (Air Iran and
shipping), banking, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), as well as exploring ways to
target the IRGC leaders. NEA Iran/Maghreb DAS equivalent
Ralph Tarraf said Germany was also exploring ways to bring
Iranian Human Rights violations before the UN offices in
Geneva. Tarraf also advocated taking Turkish initiatives on
Iran seriously while not publicly endorsing them. Experts
from Germany’s leading think tank advocated for a ban on
weapons sales to Iran, covert sabotage of the Iranian nuclear
program, and focusing efforts to find a negotiated solution
more directly in the office of the Supreme Leader. End


¶2. (C) Gottwald summarized the German position on Iran
Sanctions emphasizing the importance of getting a new UNSCR
passed sooner rather than later during a January 6 meeting.
He noted it would be difficult, but important, to keep Russia
and China on board. He said no one is enthusiastic about
sanctions, but all agree that Iranian refusals to reach an
agreement must carry a price. He quoted Chancellor Merkel’s
speech to Congress in November and said Germany had “zero
tolerance” for a nuclear armed Iran and was ready to support
sanctions. He expressed greater concern over the Chinese
commitment to sanctions than Russian. Putting the current
Iran discussion into a broader context Gottwald worried that
Iran could become a spoiler in the upcoming NPT RevCon.


¶3. (C) When asked by Kessler what Germany would like to see
in a UNSCR or EU measures on Iran, Gottwald and MFA Deputy
A/S equivalent for Trade and Export Control Lingemann
remained vague in their answers. Gottwald said the EU could
be counted on to take its guidance from the next UNSCR on
Iran and enact measures to enforce and strengthen the UNSCR.
In particular he expected the EU to take action to target
specific leaders with visa bans and perhaps other measures.
Gottwald said Germany would like to see measures have a
direct effect on Iranian leaders, and to minimize the effect
on the population. Gottwald called petrol sanctions a “mixed
blessing” noting that they give the government an excuse to
cut subsidies which puts the burden onto the general
population and money back in government budgets. Lingemann
said denying access to certain exploration/extraction
technology could be an effective tactic since it would more
directly impact the government’s pocketbook and ability to
“buy friends” abroad. He stressed that we need measures that
do not generate a commiseration effect from other countries.
Lingemann noted that while a broad UNSCR was preferable,
there were still some technological areas (such as CNG/LNG
related technologies) in which U.S. and EU companies have a
monopoly on the market and where Russian and Chinese
companies can’t compete should EU wide measures be needed.
He also said that targeted measures that impact Iran’s
refining capabilities can be effective as they have an
immediate impact on the government’s income.

¶4. (C) Iran Task Force Director Krueger, in a separate
meeting, specifically mentioned transportation (Iran Air and
shipping), banking, and LNG/CNG sectors as areas on which
Germany was looking to focus UNSC or EU action. He said
Germany was also interested in targeting the IRGC but was
still wrestling with how to best do so. He noted that the
U.S. had based its justification on the IRGC’s terrorist
associations with Hezballah, but since Hezballah is not
recognized as a terrorist organization in Europe that
wouldn’t work. He said his colleagues were looking at
possible action against the IRGC for violations of Human
Rights and thought that might be more workable in the
European context, but they were open to suggestions.

BERLIN 00000081 002 OF 003


¶5. (C) NEA Iran/Magreb DAS equivalent Ralph Tarraf noted
that Germany was looking at whether and how to bring the
Iranian Human Rights violations before the UN offices in
Geneva. He said it was important to make clear to the Iranian
government that we are concerned about their human rights
violations and that the concern is not purely a “Western”
phenomena but rather a global one. He said February 15 is a
key date as that is when the Iran country review process will
take place in Geneva. He added that Germany is discussing
listing the IRGC both under the non-proliferation regime and
now also for its human rights violations. He noted that it
was important to keep the two separate sanctions tracks
separate and not to confuse the proliferation and human
rights issues.

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¶6. (C) On the issue of whether continued engagement with the
Iranian government undermines the opposition, Gottwald
stressed that it is important that engagement not be
construed to “favor” Ahmadinejad, but rather we should
continue, as we have, on a purely “logical” basis. He said
he was concerned that the current Iranian government may be
incapable of coming to any conclusions, but that doesn’t mean
we should let up on our pressure. Tarraf said we face the
“worst situation possible” with a weak regime that is not yet
close to regime change. He suggested we focus on new forms
of access to the regime which would allow for discrete talks
to continue at a high-level. Gottwald added that he thought
it was important to look for other mechanisms such as the TRR
proposal which can serve as disincentives to continue down
the nuclearization path.

¶7. (C) Tarraf said he saw increased Saudi/Iranian rivalry in
the Gulf region and suggested the West avoid putting all its
“eggs in one basket” behind the Saudis. He suggested looking
for other allies in the region who can be constructive such
as Turkey. He admitted that Turkey had abstained in the IAEA
and expressed reluctance on sanctions, but these positions
also afforded them greater leverage with the Iranians. He
suggested we consider taking Turkish initiatives seriously
without publicly endorsing them. He agreed that to date
Turkish promises – on Syria/Israel and Iran- have not yielded
any results, but he advocated giving Turkey a quiet nod of
approval to see if they can deliver.


¶8. (C) The Director of Germany’s Institute for Security and
International Affairs (SWP), Volker Perthes, and their Iran
expert Walter Posch argued that the only effective sanctions
which could positively impact the regime’s security
calculations on the nuclear dossier would be a ban on sales
of conventional arms. Only such a move could shift the
security calculation for the regime from the longer term goal
of achieving nuclear capability to the shorter term goal of
maintaining a conventional capability. He warned that
ineffective sanctions could be worse than no sanctions,
especially if they send more money to the IRGC’s pockets
(through increasing necessity of procurement on the black
market which is dominated by the IRGC.) In the interim
Perthes recommended that a policy of covert sabotage
(unexplained explosions, accidents, computer hacking etc)
would be more effective than a military strike whose effects
in the region could be devastating.

¶9. (C) Posch offered some insights into the inner workings
of the regime and postured that the TRR deal had failed
because the Supreme Leader (SL) hadn’t committed himself to
the deal 100 percent. He said any deal would have to have
the full blessing of the SL and said that once negotiations
in the SL’s office (or with his closest confidants) began,
success would be guaranteed since the SL – by definition-
never fails. He noted that the SL has his representatives at
every level of government, but some have greater access to
him than others. The three with greatest access, according
to Posch, at the moment are his son Mojtaba, Ayatollah
Golpaygani and Hejazi.

BERLIN 00000081 003 OF 003

¶10. (U) This cable has been cleared by StaffDel Kessler.