Strategy Memo

Iran Memo

To:  Prime Minster Tony Blair

From: Foreign Secretary

Subject: Friends of Iran Meeting


Objective  The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) intends to pursue the following objectives at the Friends of Iran (FOI) meeting. 

Our primary aim will be to bring Iran back into compliance with its obligations under the Paris Agreement of 15 November 2004.  These include the following commitment:

“To build further confidence, Iran has decided, on a voluntary basis, to continue and extend its suspension to include all enrichment related and reprocessing activities, and specifically: the manufacture and import of gas centrifuges and their components; the assembly, installation, testing, or operation of gas centrifuges; work to undertake any plutonium separation, or to construct or operate any plutonium separation installation; and all tests or production at any uranium conversion installation.”

The FCO’s secondary objective will be to return Iran to negotiations decided upon in the Paris Agreement, using the Framework for a Long Term Agreement of 5 August 2005.  This extensive document of proposals includes the following submissions:


“ – reaffirm Iran’s inalienable rights to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, exercised in conformity with the NPT:

 - offer Iran assurances of fuel supply for her light water power and research reactors;

- meet Iran’s desire to expand international co-operation in the civil nuclear field;

- would lead to a new political and security relationship between Iran and Europe based on co-operation; and

- would create a new framework for expanded economic and technological co-operation.”


Our tertiary objective will be to support the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in their goal to receive assurances from Iran regarding the ratification of the Additional Protocol.  The FCO supports the IAEA’s need for unfettered access and snap inspections, and will encourage Iran to cooperate with the additional transparency measures requested by the Director General which lie beyond the scope of the Safeguards Agreement and Additional protocol. 

The FCO recommends the following strategy to achieve these aims:

In regards to Iran, we anticipate using a flexible combination of inducements and penalties to encourage Iranian agreement.  At this meeting, the FCO plans to stay clearly focused on bringing Iran back into compliance with the above agreements, and recommends avoiding issue linkage which would make Iran more intransigent.  Staying consistent with our message and maintaining a narrow focus, increases the chances for success.

The FCO plans to continue informal negotiations leading up to 5 November 2005 with Russia, China, and India, stressing the concerns all nations have in common.  These include the danger of nuclear proliferation, the inability of Iran to look to the safety and security of a nuclear programme, the risk of nuclear weapons being developed under the guise of a civilian energy programme, and the increased instability we can anticipate in the Persian Gulf region as a result of Iran’s actions.

The FCO will maintain consultation with the United States regarding its diplomatic efforts, while compartmentalizing this relationship from EU-3 negotiations. 


Talking Points


1.   The UK supports strengthening institutions such as the United Nations (UN), which encourage the international rule of law.

2.   The UK supports economic growth and international integration for all nations.

3.   The UK anticipates Iran will come back into compliance with its commitments.

4.   IAEA compliance is necessary if Iran wishes to participate in the civilian nuclear community, with all its associated benefits. 

5.   The Framework for the Long-Term Agreement put forward by the EU-3 provides numerous benefits for Iran, and was the result of extensive, long-term diplomatic efforts by both governments.  These benefits include;

o    Long-term support for Iran’s civil nuclear programme, including access to the international nuclear technologies market

o    The establishment of a five-year buffer store of nuclear light water reactor fuel

o    The development of future oil and gas pipeline projects

o    Technical and political support for Iran’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

o    Cooperation in the fields of water supply, waste management, natural disaster preparedness, air pollution, vocational training, air transport safety, railway transport, marine transport, seismology, infrastructure, tourism and agriculture.

6.   Access to the European markets through an EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) would provide Iran the opportunity to gain significant economic strength.

7.   Both Iran, and the world community, stand to benefit from the development of Iran’s largely untapped natural gas fields.

8.   Iran and the UK have many challenges in common such as terrorism, money laundering, border security, refugees, and natural disasters, where cooperation would be beneficial to both parties.

9.   The EU-3 has not moved to block Iran permanently from an independent fuel cycle, or other nuclear technology.  They have simply put into place measures that would allow time for Iran to develop the necessary security knowledge and safeguards.  Iran has neither the necessary infrastructure, nor familiarity with the technology, to provide sufficient guarantees for the safety of their programme.

10. Despite Iran’s present assurances that their nuclear programme will not be used to develop nuclear weapons, their country has a history of instability, and of withholding information from the world community.  Given these two factors, Iran must supply greater confidence building measures beyond verbal assurances.

11. The UK places the highest importance on the issue of nuclear non-proliferation, and will not be diverted by trade difficulties, or the actions of criminal elements within the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which have contributed to the death of British soldiers in Iraq.

12. Nuclear proliferation is a menace no nation can afford to ignore.

13. Iran’s pursuit of the nuclear fuel cycle signals to its neighbors an intention to eventually develop nuclear weapons.  This encourages neighboring countries to develop their own programmes, further destabilizing the Persian Gulf region, and makes economic disruption probable.

14. Non-compliance with the Paris Agreement will require a response from the UK, which could include the following punitive measures:

o    Reference of Iran’s violations to the Security Council

o    The imposition of sanctions

o    Isolation measures such as barring Iran from participation in the World Cup, and banning travel by key political figures

o    Containment and deterrence measures such as a continued UK military presence in the region, and sales of advanced weapons to the Gulf Arab states


Watch Out For

1.   Iran is in compliance with the NPT, and has the right to pursue a civilian nuclear programme.

Iran’s track record of subterfuge in regards to its nuclear programme forces the world community to take extra measures to ensure Iran’s good faith in this matter.  The world community must ensure Iran is not developing a nuclear weapons programme under the guise of a civilian programme.

2.   Even if Iran were to pursue nuclear weapons as some future date, this is perfectly understandable given the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.  Iran needs protection from a U.S. invasion.

The United States is fully occupied with Afghanistan and Iraq, and has neither the resources, nor the political will to engage in a third major conflict.

3.   The U.S. will rebuild its resources, and may pursue invasion at a later date. 

Iran will be in a much better position to resist future military action if it has developed economic and political ties with many nations, if it is economically strong, and if it has built a strong track record with the world community regarding its nuclear programme.  On the other hand, continuing its uranium enrichment ensures a substantial American troop presence in the region for the foreseeable future.

4.   India is allowed to have nuclear weapons because it has friendly relations with the U.S.  This is unfair.  No one should be able to dictate who can and can not pursue a nuclear programme.

India is allowed nuclear weapons because it has a history of being a responsible member of the nuclear club, with robust safety and security measures in place.  India also has a democracy, which mitigates the risk of poor decisions being made by a handful of people.

5.   All states have the right to pursue a nuclear programme as they see fit.  This is an internal matter.

States have a responsibility to pursue hazardous technology with prudence, ensuring the safety and security of the world community.

6.   Given that use of force is not an option at this time, and sanctions on Iran would disrupt the world oil market, there is no real reason for Iran to comply. Plenty of states withdraw from agreements.

Iran can not be part of the world community if it refuses to be a trustworthy partner in negotiations.  If it can not work within the bounds of generally accepted international practice, it will be hampered in its ability to grow economically and politically.  The UK expects Iran to regulate its behavior appropriately without the need for outside intervention.

7.   Iran lives in a dangerous neighborhood, and must look to its own security.

The U.S. campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq eliminated two of Iran’s sources of concern; the Taliban and Saddam Hussein.  Iran’s primary security concerns are ethnic groups in fragile neighboring countries who have large minorities living in Iran.  Nuclear weapons are no help with this problem.

8.   The UK anticipates attempts will be made to divide the EU-3 on issues of Security Council referral, sanctions, linkages with American issues, or other developments.  The EU-3 continues to place the greatest emphasis on cohesion.

9.   The FCO anticipates these negotiations to strain some relationships with other nations.  However, providing leadership in this vital area is crucial.  The FCO will continue to manage our relationships, relying on the collective desire for long-term peace and security to supercede short-term commercial or political interests.  Relations with India should remain stable due to that nations ongoing negotiations with America.  Relations with Russia can perhaps be improved.  Russia possesses a clear understanding of the dangers and responsibilities of managing a nuclear programme.  The FCO anticipates the relationship with China to remain relatively unaffected, due to China’s internal priorities.  Relations with our European allies remain strong, and the FCO does not anticipate recent elections to significantly impact these negotiations.

10. The FCO plans to minimize press coverage of this event.  This will decrease the perceived need for representatives to make provocative statements directed at their home audiences.

Conclusion  Clearly, Iran’s nuclear aspirations present a long-term challenge.  The FCO believes pressure may be applied to force Iran into compliance, but this only buys time.  In our haste to stem this problem, we should avoid setting damaging precedents, which would encourage other nations to nominally pursue a nuclear programme in anticipation of negotiated rewards.  However, in the absence of significant technological advances, more countries will pursue nuclear energy.  This poses a significant long-term safety and security concern for the foreseeable future. 

Attachment E-3 statement regarding Iranian non-compliance


E-3 statement regarding Iranian non-compliance


Issue: E-3 10/25/2005

Dear Friends of Iran,

Under the current process of negotiations the EU-3 condemns Iran’s decision to resume uranium enrichment and reprocessing. We urge Iran to come into compliance with the IAEA Safeguards and the Additional Protocol before the next IAEA Board of Governors meeting. Unless Iran implements the confidence-building measures requested by the IAEA Director General, we will have to take the matter to the UN Security Council (UNSC), as required by Article XII, Paragraph C of the IAEA statute.

The basis for the non-compliance is already clearly established by seven IAEA reports to the Board since June 2003. 

We support the resolution drafted by the EU-3 and the European Union High Representative of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (GOV/2005/77). We France, Britain and Germany welcome the clear majority (22 in favor, 12 abstaining, Venezuela against) on the voting of the September 24th resolution. The international community is concerned by the fact that Iran has failed to meet its obligations under the non-proliferation regime.

The Board has already adopted six resolutions by consensus calling for suspension.  However, we welcome Iran as a partner in the Persian Gulf Region, and therefore are willing to give Iran a last chance to restore the suspension before referral to the UNSC. We are continuing to extend our hand to Iran. We wish to continue negotiations and find a way forward that gives Iran the opportunity to dispel concerns of the international community regarding the nature of its nuclear programme. At the core of our initiative lays the premise that Iran must restore confidence by suspending all enrichment and reprocessing activities.

We recommend Iran to continue implementing the Safeguards Agreement and the Additional Protocol on a voluntary non-legally binding basis; continue and extend the suspension of all enrichment related and reprocessing activities; notify the IAEA for the suspension of its activities before its November meeting; cooperate with the IAEA so that IAEA can verify and monitor the suspension. The above actions should be in accordance with the provisions of the Paris Agreement (15 November 2004) BETWEEN IRAN, UNITED KINGDOM, FRANCE AND GERMANY.


                Jane Smith                                                Melita Leoussis                            Hans F. Domrich

United Kingdom Foreign Minister                         France Foreign Minister               Germany Foreign Minister