US embassy cable - 01BEIRUT1018

KHATAMI HOLDS COURT FOR LEBANESE

Identifier: 01BEIRUT1018
Wikileaks: View 01BEIRUT1018 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Beirut
Created: 2001-04-26 16:49:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PREL PTER KISL KPAL IR SY LE
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
P 261649Z APR 01
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6162
ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L BEIRUT 001018 
 
PARIS FOR O'FRIEL, LONDON FOR SUTPHIN 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/26/06 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PTER, KISL, KPAL, IR, SY, LE 
SUBJECT: KHATAMI HOLDS COURT FOR LEBANESE 
 
REF: BEIRUT 1012 AND PREVIOUS 
 
CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE DAVID M. HALE.  REASON 1.5 B&D 
 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY:  IRANIAN PRESIDENT KHATAMI MET ON 
APRIL 25 WITH HIZBALLAH SYG HASSAN NASRALLAH AND 
PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER/AMAL LEADER NABIH BERRI ON THE 
MARGINS OF THE TEHRAN-SPONSORED CONFERENCE IN SUPPORT 
OF THE AL-AQSA INTIFADA.  KHATAMI LAVISHED PRAISE ON 
HIZBALLAH AND WAS SOMEWHAT MORE RESERVED WITH AMAL, 
THOUGH BERRI SCORED A VICTORY OF SORTS WITH THE 
RE-OPENING OF THE AMAL OFFICE IN TEHRAN.  FIRMLY 
FIXED BEHIND HIZBALLAH IN FUNDING AND POPULARITY, 
INCREASED IRANIAN ATTENTION AND PLEDGES OF FUNDING FOR 
RECONSTRUCTION OF THE SOUTH ARE OPPORTUNITIES BERRI IS 
EAGER TO EXPLOIT.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2. (U) AS BLUSTERING RHETORIC CONTINUED TO EMANATE 
FROM THE CONFERENCE IN SUPPORT OF THE INTIFADA HELD IN 
TEHRAN, IRANIAN PRESIDENT KHATAMI HELD MEETINGS ON 
APRIL 25 WITH HIZBALLAH SYG HASSAN NASRALLAH AND 
SPEAKER/AMAL CHIEF, NABIH BERRI.  LAUDING HIZBALLAH AS 
"THE SPARKLING AND SHINING JEWEL IN THE SKY OF THE 
ISLAMIC WORLD," KHATAMI HAILED THE PARTY AS A "MODEL" 
FOR RESISTING ISRAELI AGGRESSION AND OCCUPATION. 
PRAISING THE SACRIFICES HIZBALLAH, ITS MARTYRS, AND 
SUPPORTERS HAVE MADE THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF THEIR 
RESISTANCE, KHATAMI CALLED ON THE PARTY TO CONTINUE 
SUPPORT OF THE PALESTINIANS, "THE MAJOR CAUSE OF THE 
ISLAMIC UMMA."  POINTING TO THE GROUP'S "SUCCESS" IN 
FORCING ISRAEL TO WITHDRAW FROM SOUTH LEBANON, KHATAMI 
NOTED "AN ENEMY THAT WAS DEFEATED ONCE COULD BE 
DEFEATED AGAIN."  IN RESPONSE, NASRALLAH STRESSED ARAB 
AND ISLAMIC UNITY WAS NEEDED TO CONFRONT THE "ANGERED 
ZIONIST ENTITY," AND TO ENSURE ADEQUATE MEANS TO 
SUPPORT THE INTIFADA AT DIFFERENT LEVELS. 
 
3. (U) FOLLOWING ON THE HEELS OF NASRALLAH WAS BERRI. 
SOMEWHAT OUT OF PLACE AT A CONFERENCE CHAMPIONING THE 
PALESTINIAN CAUSE, BERRI NONETHELESS SEIZED AN 
OPPORTUNITY FOR POLITICAL AND FINANCIAL ADVANCEMENT. 
ACCORDING TO PRESS ACCOUNTS, HE THANKED KHATAMI FOR 
ALLOWING AMAL TO OPEN AN OFFICE IN TEHRAN; KHATAMI 
REPLIED "IRAN IS YOUR OFFICE."   DOLING OUT AN OUNCE 
OF PRAISE FOR LEBANON'S "OTHER" SHIA PARTY, KHATAMI 
THANKED AMAL FOR ITS "STEADFASTNESS," AND BERRI FOR 
HIS "GOOD ANALYSIS OF THE SITUATION," REMARKING "WE 
ALWAYS BENEFIT FROM MEETINGS WITH YOU."  BERRI WILL 
NO DOUBT SEEK TO USE THIS MEETING TO ASSOCIATE 
HIMSELF WITH ANY INCREASED STATE-TO-STATE FINANCIAL 
ASSISTANCE FROM TEHRAN, AND WITH A PROPOSED KHATAMI 
VISIT TO LEBANON, IN HIS PERPETUAL POLITICAL STRUGGLE 
WITH HIZBALLAH. 
 
HALE 

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