09TBILISI488, GEORGIA: READOUT OF DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER’S

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI488 2009-03-12 15:07 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO7706
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0488/01 0711507
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 121507Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1171
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD PRIORITY 0062
RUEHDIR/AMCONSUL DUBAI PRIORITY 0027
RUMICEA/USCENTCOM INTEL CEN MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFITT/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000488 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/10/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV IRGG RU GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA:  READOUT OF DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER'S 
VISIT TO TEHRAN 
 
TBILISI 00000488  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1.  (C) SUMMARY:  Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs 
Alexander Nalbandov told the Ambassador that his March 1-3 
visit to Tehran concentrated on issues of bilateral 
cooperation.  In Tehran, Nalbandov, together with Minister 
for Reintegration Temur Yakobashvili, met with Chair of the 
Parliamentary Commission on National Security and Foreign 
Policy Alaeddin Boroujerdi, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs 
Hossein Sheikholislam, and Iranian Foreign Minister 
Manouchehr Mottaki.  While the meetings were publicly touted 
as deepening the Georgian-Iranian relationship, Nalbandov 
said he felt many of the messages delivered to him were 
intended for the U.S. and that much of what was said by 
Iranian officials regarding the August conflict and Georgia 
had come directly from the Russians.  END SUMMARY. 
 
BOROUJERDI ) U.S. TROOPS OUT, AFGHANISTAN A MESS 
 
2.  (C) Parliamentarian Boroujerdi told Nalbandov that while 
Iran welcomed the end of a dictatorship in Iraq, they 
supported an immediate removal of foreign armed forces from 
Iraqi territory.  He said Iran deeply hopes that the new U.S. 
administration will quickly withdraw U.S. forces.  Boroujerdi 
said Iran is increasingly concerned over the situation in 
Afghanistan, as they see a dramatic increase in drug 
production and trafficking, something that directly benefits 
and strengthens the Taliban and Al Qaeda.  He stressed that 
NATO is ineffective in Afghanistan and that he is not 
convinced that President Obama,s decision to strengthen 
military operations will put an end to drug trafficking. 
Boroujerdi said that Iranian concern is growing over the 
Taliban-controlled sections of Pakistan -- and he directly 
tied the Taliban's resurgence to failed military operations 
in Afghanistan.  He told the Georgians that conflict in the 
region was a result of failed Bush administration policies. 
Boroujerdi also raised the case of arms smuggler Ardabil whom 
Georgia extradited to the U.S., saying that Georgia should 
help repatriate him to Iran as a sign of its commitment to 
the Georgia-Iran relationship. 
 
SHEIKHOLISLAM ) RETURN ARDABIL AND MORE RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA 
 
3.  (C) Sheikholislam, who had been Nalbandov,s direct 
contact on Ardabil in the past, stressed that the arms 
smuggler must be returned.  He went so far as to threaten 
that if Georgia did not act on this, "what options would Iran 
have?"  Sheikholislam said that the U.S. is Georgia's partner 
and that Georgia should make the U.S. understand that 
extraditing Ardabil was not the right step and should be 
reversed.  Nalbandov, however, stressed that he was in Tehran 
to talk about building a constructive relationship, something 
that should not fall victim to one incident.  Sheikholislam 
said he understood, but that Georgia must understand the 
Iranian government is receiving pressure from Ardabil,s 
family and others.  Sheikholislam expressed hope for a more 
constructive Obama administration.  He said that Georgia made 
a fundamental mistake in &letting its territory be turned 
into a battlefield between two big states.8 
Qinto a battlefield between two big states.8 
 
4.  (C) Sheikholislam then launched into a series of 
questions that Nalbandov was certain the Russians had 
planted.  He first said that the Russians had informed Iran 
that the U.S. was building military bases in Georgia to 
conduct military operations in the region.  Nalbandov assured 
him that this was not the case, but that the Russians were 
building bases in the occupied territories.  Sheikholislam 
said the Russians were concerned by Georgia's Euro-Atlantic 
aspirations.  He also asked if there are any anti-Iranian 
military activities underway in Georgia, to which Nalbandov 
replied no.  During lunch, Sheikholislam asked about the 
U.S.-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership, saying that 
the Russians had informed the Iranians that there is a secret 
attachment to the document.  Nalbandov once again refuted the 
anti-U.S. Russian propaganda.  Sheikholislam said that 
Georgia should look at a multinational security forum with 
Russia, and take into account Russian interests.  Nalbandov 
said that this was very difficult to do when Russia occupied 
20 percent of Georgian territory and had troops within 40 km 
of Tbilisi. 
 
FM MOTTAKI - SPEAKING FOR THE RUSSIANS 
 
TBILISI 00000488  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
5.  (C) Nalbandov said the meeting with Iranian Foreign 
Minister Mottaki focused mainly on Georgia's relationship 
with Russia and the August conflict.  Nalbandov said when
he 
arrived for the late evening meeting, the Russian Ambassador 
to Iran was conspicuously departing, solidifying Nalbandov,s 
belief that the Russians were instructing the Iranians on 
Georgia issues.  Mottaki expressed strong interest in transit 
possibilities in the region, nominally for Armenia and 
Azerbaijan, but clearly, according to Nalbandov, for Iran as 
well.  Mottaki asked if the Georgian transport system ) 
ports, railways, roads ) continued to experience any 
problems following the August conflict, to which Nalbandov 
answered no.  Mottaki was also interested in the Georgian 
opinion on the Russian-Ukrainian gas problems from earlier 
this winter.  Nalbandov stressed to him that this episode 
showed the Europeans that Russia is not a reliable partner 
and that they need diversification.  Mottaki asked what the 
best possible future is for Georgian-Russian relations. 
Nalbandov said the Georgians are ready to discuss relations, 
but they can not sacrifice the territorial integrity of the 
country.  Mottaki then asked if the European Union, United 
Nations, or United States intended to introduce sanctions 
against Russia, Nalbandov skirted the question, instead 
stressing that Georgia needs to have territorial integrity 
respected and restored.  The two then discussed the Turkish 
stability platform proposal for the region aimed at 
preventing future conflict.  Mottaki said this proposal made 
him nervous, and that &we8 in the region should solve our 
own problems without outside interference. 
 
FUTURE VISITS? 
 
6.  (C) Both Motaki and Sheikholislam raised the question of 
a visit to Iran by Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze, 
as well as the possibility of Georgian Prime Minister Nika 
Gilauri coming to Tehran.  Nalbandov said he avoided 
mentioning any details, saying that Vashadze,s visit would 
not be expedient, and that the FM would come at the correct 
time.  During a Vashadze visit they could discuss a possible 
PM trip.  The Iranians appeared to welcome the message, 
noting that a FM trip would be best after the upcoming 
Iranian elections.  Mottaki also said that Iran would be very 
interested in resuming a joint economic council with Georgia. 
 Sheikholislam also discussed deepening the parliamentary 
relationship between the two countries. 
 
COMMENT:  MESSAGES TO THE U.S., SPEAKING FOR THE RUSSIANS 
 
7.  (C) Nalbandov sensed that many of the messages the 
Iranian leadership delivered were meant for a secondary U.S. 
audience, and that they may have been directly dictated by 
the Russians.  Key among these was the message that any new 
sanctions against Iran will fail.  Boroujerdi, Sheikholislam, 
and Mottaki all mentioned the case of arms smuggler Ardabil, 
urging Georgia to do the &right thing,8 and ask the U.S. to 
return him and then hand him over to Iran.  Nalbandov said 
that while several officials stressed that the future of 
Georgia's relationship with Iran was dependent on this, he 
QGeorgia's relationship with Iran was dependent on this, he 
felt their mentioning of this case was more of a 
check-the-box requirement than an actual impediment. 
Boroujerdi delivered the message that Iran wants U.S. troops 
out of the region immediately and that the U.S. is to blame 
for chaos in the region.  The Russians also appeared to use 
Iran as a proxy to get answers to questions such as the 
possibility of sanctions and Georgia's thoughts on the future 
of the relationship.  The Iranians, it appears, also seemed 
to use Nalbandov's visit to question Russian-spread 
information on supposed aggressive U.S. moves in the region 
including military bases in Georgia and anti-Iranian 
activities in Georgia.  Nalbandov shared his personal 
impressions of the visit, in particular that he was surprised 
by the staggering poverty in Tehran.  He added that while all 
official meetings were conducted in Farsi and Georgian, all 
side discussions, including with the Minister were conducted 
in English. 
TEFFT

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