Monthly Archives: July 1985

85MOSCOW8814, C) DEVELOPMENTS IN IRAN: A SOVIET VIEW

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
85MOSCOW8814 1985-07-01 12:58 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

R 011258Z JUL 85
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 2098
INFO AMCONSUL LENINGRAD
AMEMBASSY BEIJING
AMEMBASSY BONN
AMEMBASSY PARIS
USMISSION USNATO
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI
AMEMBASSY KUWAIT
AMEMBASSY MANAMA
AMEMBASSY MUSCAT
AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 08814 
 
E.O. 12356:  DECL:OADR 
TAGS: PREL UR IR
SUBJECT:  (C) DEVELOPMENTS IN IRAN:  A SOVIET VIEW 
 
REF:  MOSCOW 08415 
 
1.  (C - ENTIRE TEXT.) 
. 
SUMMARY 
------- 
2.  A WELL-INFORMED SOVIET OBSERVER OF EVENTS IN IRAN 
RECENTLY DISCUSSED WITH US THE UNCERTAINTIES SURROUNDING 
FUTURE POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS IN TEHRAN.  WHILE ASSERTING 
THAT SOVIET ATTEMPTS TO IMPROVE RELATIONS WITH IRAN WOULD 
CONTINUE, OUR INTERLOCUTOR CLEARLY IMPLIED THAT THERE IS 
NO CONSENSUS IN MOSCOW ON THE LIKELY SUCCESS OF SUCH 
EFFORTS.  END SUMMARY. 
 
3.  EMBOFF RECENTLY HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO DISCUSS 
DEVELOPMENTS IN IRAN WITH THE DIRECTOR OF THE ORIENTAL 
INSTITUTE'S DEPARTMENT FOR AFGHANISTAN, PAKISTAN, IRAN, 
AND TURKEY, YURIY GANKOVSKIY (PROTECT).  WHILE GANKOVSKIY 
IS NOT A POLICY-MAKER, HE IS ONE OF THE BEST INFORMED AND 
MOST THOUGHTFUL SOVIET ANALYSTS ON IRAN, AS WELL AS A 
REPUTED MFA ADVISER. 
. 
4.  IRAN/IRAQ WAR:  GANKOVSKIY WITHOUT PROMPTING VOLUNTEER- 
ED THAT IRAN WAS CLEARLY RESPONSIBLE FOR CONTINUATION OF 
THE WAR.  HE ASSERTED THAT THE SAUDIS AND OTHER ARAB 
COUNTRIES WERE READY TO MEET IRANIAN DEMANDS FOR CASH 
PAYMENTS TO OFFSET WAR DAMAGES.  HOWEVER, GANKOVSKIY SAW 
LITTLE PROSPECT FOR AN END TO THE WAR BECAUSE THE 
AUTHORITIES IN TEHRAN REMAIN DETERMINED TO BRING DOWN 
SADDAM HUSAYN. 
. 
5.  FUTURE POLITICAL PROSPECTS IN IRAN:  GANKOVSKIY 
DISCOUNTED A BID BY THE IRANIAN MILITARY EITHER TO OVER- 
THROW KHOMEINI OR TAKE POWER FOLLOWING HIS DEATH.  HE 
ATTRIBUTED THE MILITARY'S RELUCTANCE TO MAKE A BID FOR POW- 
ER TO THE OFFICER CORPS' PREOCCUPATION WITH THE WAR, THE 
STRENGTH OF THE REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS, AND THE DECIMATION 
OF THE IRANIAN MILITARY'S BEST OFFICERS IN SUCCESSIVE 
WAVES OF REPRESSION.  GANKOVSKIY ACKNOWLEDGED THAT THE 
REPRESSION HAD TAKEN A HEAVY TOLL AMONG THE "LEFT" 
OPPOSITION, WHICH WAS FURTHER WEAKENED BY LACK OF UNITY. 
HE CONCLUDED THAT, EVEN AFTER KHOMEINI'S DEATH, THERE 
WOULD BE "NO SOLUTION ON THE LEFT" FOR IRAN.  INTERESTING- 
LY, GANKOVSKIY WOULD NOT RULE OUT A COMEBACK BY THE 
WESTERN-ORIENTED IRANIAN "BOURGEOISIE."  WHILE THEY WERE 
IN EXILE NOW, IRAN HAD A LONG HISTORY OF EXILES WHO HAD 
MADE STARTLING POLITICAL COMEBACKS.  ON BALANCE, HOWEVER, 
GANKOVSKIY SAID THAT KHOMEINI'S SUCCESSOR WOULD MOST 
LIKELY COME FROM AMONG THOSE POLITICAL FIGURES ASSOCIATED 
WITH THE CURRENT REGIME AND THAT RAFSANJANI SEEMED THE 
BEST BET FOR THE PRESENT. 
. 
6.  EMBOFF ASKED GANKOVSKIY WHETHER THERE WERE NOT TWO 
BROAD LINES IN SOVIET THINKING ABOUT RELATIONS WITH IRAN. 
SOME SOVIETS SEEMED TO ADVOCATE A SERIOUS EFFORT TO 
IMPROVE RELATIONS WITH THE CURRENT REGIME, WHILE OTHERS 
SEEMED DEEPLY SKEPTICAL THAT EFFORTS TO COOPERATE WITH 
THE TEHRAN AUTHORITIES WOULD SERVE SOVIET INTERESTS (REF- 
TEL). GANKOVSKIY ACKNOWLEDGED THAT THERE WERE NOT TWO 
LINES, BUT "TWENTY LINES" IN SOVIET THINKING ABOUT IRAN. 
DESPITE THESE DIFFERENCES IN OPINION, HOWEVER, THE SOVIET 
UNION HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO TRY TO WORK OUT A BETTER 
RELATIONSHIP WITH A COUNTRY WITH WHICH IT SHARED A LONG 
BORDER. 
. 
7.  COMMENT:  WHILE MUCH OF WHAT GANKOVSKIY HAD TO SAY IS 
STANDARD, HIS COMMENTS SUGGEST CONSIDERABLE UNCERTAINTY 
AMONG KNOWLEDGEABLE SOVIETS ABOUT IRAN'S LONG-TERM COURSE. 
WHILE HE WAS CAREFUL TO ASSERT SOVIET INTEREST IN IMPROVE- 
MENT OF RELATIONS WITH IRAN, GANKOVSKIY CLEARLY IMPLIED 
THAT THERE IS NO CONSENSUS AMONG SOVIET ANALYSTS ABOUT THE 
LIKELY SUCCESS OF SUCH AN EFFORT. 
 
HARTMAN

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