Our efforts here and Congress' reaction in Washington seem to be encouraging the Indians to review their public postures on Iran.
40223 9/9/2005 10:35 05NEWDELHI6974 Embassy New Delhi SECRET "This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available." "S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 NEW DELHI 006974
PLEASE PASS S, P, SA, NEA, NP
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/09/2015 TAGS: KNNP, PREL, MNUC, IR, IN, India_Iran SUBJECT: INDIA NOTES US IRAN VIEWS; TRYING TO CLARIFY ITS POSITION
Classified By: A/DCM Geoff Pyatt for Reasons 1.4 (b,d).
1. (S) SUMMARY: Our efforts here and Congress' reaction in Washington seem to be encouraging the Indians to review their public postures on Iran. According to a senior MEA contact, they are mulling ways to restate their position in an unambiguous and helpful way. Our MEA contacts cite Indian engagement with the EU3, Singapore, South Africa, and others in the IAEA in Vienna as evidence of their desire to be helpful on Iran.
WE GOT THEIR ATTENTION
2. (S) A/DCM met MEA Joint Secretary (Americas) Dr. Jaishankar on September 9 to review Iran (other topics covered septel). Referring to the prominent Indian news coverage highlighting Rep. Lantos and others' views on India's Iran policy during U/S Burns' and Joseph's hearing on September 8, A/DCM handed Jaishankar the testimony transcripts and asked what India planned to do to address its critics. Jaishankar said India appreciated Burns' statement that FM Natwar Singh's remarks were only partially known and that the USG would seek further clarification of media reports. Natwar Singh had complained privately that he had been misquoted by the Iranian News Agency.
WHAT IS YOUR POLICY, THEN?
3. (S) Jaishankar explained that India's positions and those of America were not as far apart as the hearing made it appear to be. ""Nobody here says Iran is an exception to nonproliferation goals,"" clarified Jaishankar, It would be damaging to India, he insisted, if Iran were to become a nuclear weapons state. Moreover, Jaishankar stressed that, since Iran is an NPT signatory, it must abide by its obligations or accept the consequences. Jaishankar complained that India, as the ""man in the middle"" in the Iran-US confrontation, was facing criticism from both sides. He conceded that Iranian pressure was not as public as that of Congress, but it was nonetheless a factor. Given India's ties with Iran, India could not just rebut Lantos by explaining its helpful stance behind closed doors at the IAEA in Vienna, lamented Jaishankar. In any case, he admitted, India could not duck the issue; it would work in the IAEA with us, the EU3, South Africa, Singapore, and just as it had in the past. Jaishankar reported that FM Singh had consulted prior to visiting Tehran with his German and British counterparts (and was about to meet Germany's Iran point-person Fischer as we left the meeting).
SO WHAT TO DO?
4. (S) A/DCM pressed Jaishankar to explain how India would address concern in Washington over its Iran policy and perceptions of ambiguity created by Natwar Singh's public remarks. Jaishankar suggested that India might be able to issue a nonpaper reiterating its views or might use a Foreign Ministry press briefing to re-articulate them. In any case, he said, Iran should figure in Singh's conversation later September 9 with the Secretary and in Foreign Secretary Saran's conversation the same day with U/S Burns. Much, he speculated, would be cleared-up that way. A/DCM also pressed for public clarification of India's opposition to Iran's WMD effort, a suggestion Jaishankar agreed to pursue. Later, he told A/DCM India would convey a nonpaper on Iran to us on Saturday, September 10. Hopefully, he said, the nonpaper would clarify any misunderstandings. A/DCM explained that in the past former NSA Mishra had regularly briefed the Secretary on India's official interaction with Iran when she
SIPDIS was his counterpart. Such consultations lent transparency to what India was doing and helped the US understand fully the situation. Jaishankar took the point.
SMELLING THE COFFEE
5. (S) COMMENT: The September 8 HIRC statements on Iran by members of Congress served as a wake-up call to India that its Iran stance would directly impact its desire for legislative fixes that would implement the July 18 POTUS-PM Singh agreements, especially on civil nuclear technology. India is sufficiently concerned to restate its position on Iran's nuclear weapons. We have an opportunity as a result. The Indians believe they have been helpful in the IAEA on Iran, but we should press for more.