TOWARD A POLICY ON IRAN

Created: 5/17/1985

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

DATE:6

The Director of Ceninl Indigence

National Intellfcnce Council

FOR:

of Central Intelligence Deputy Oirector of Central Intelligence

E. Fuller

National Intelligence Officer for NESA

a Policy on Iran

1. The USrin situationew policy toward Iran. Events are moving largely against our interests and we have few palatable alternatives. In bluntest form, the Khomeini regimealtering and may be movingwraent of truth; we will soontruggle for succession. The US has almost no cards to play; the USSR has many. Iran has obviously concluded that whether they like Russia and Communism or not, the USSRhe country to come to terms with: the USSR can both hurt and help Iran more than the US can. Our urgent need is toroad spectrum of policy moves designed to give us some leverage in the race for Influence in Tehran.

The specter of the US and the USSR standing on the same sideajor International strategic conflict, like the SuTT war, is extraordinary. It is also an unstable situation and cannot persist for long. We are both on Iraq's side because we lack our preferred access to Iran. Whoever gets there first istrong position to work towards the exclusion of the other.

Our Intelligence continues to monitor Soviet progress toward developing significant leverage In Tehran. We must monitor thatwe also already know where Moscow wants to go and that It will devote major resources to claiming this important prize. Even if Moscow's progress is uneven, we need totrategy in response.

2- The Twin Pillars of US Policy. US policy at present comes down to two major pillars.

will respond with force directly if Iran should undertake another terrorist outrage against the US.

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-- We seek to choke off all arras supplies to Tehran wherever possible.

errorist Attack: We can and must have some policy against terrorism, we must also recognize that this cannot repesent the bulk of our policy toward Iran. Furthermore, radical forcesehran mayirect confrontation with the US-including US militarythe hopes of replaying its extraordinarily successful gambit against the US9 hostage crisis.

that crisis the radicals galvanized the Iranian atmosphere, polarized all views, rendered the moderates Irrelevant, and proceeded to eliminate themhe supercharged atmosphere of confrontation.

These radicals may seek to do so again In the expectation of doing awayconservatives may have to reach accooirrodatlon with the US. trike against Iranian military facilities will serve to alienate the one source which might just still be sympathetic toward theregular armed forces. While we cannot allow terrorism to go unchecked, we must balance the terrorist policy against the potential stakeran.

Choking off Arms Supplies. There are good reasons to seek to choke off Soviet arms supplies to Iran. It may be one way of bringing an end to the war which only Iran seeks to perpetuate. If the embargouccessful, however. It could also have the effect of driving Iranorner where the Soviets will be the only option left.

first raised (aboutonthshis theoretical possibility of Soviet opportunity stemming from the US arms enrbargo. The possibilityo longer theoretical. Iran has,act, now begun moving toward some accommodation with the USSR. Meanwhile, the USSR can afford to playool and set its own terms, relatively confident that the US cannotarch on 1t.

S. These two pillars of USsensible while Iran wasacuum and Khomeini wasno longer serve as the primary vehicle for US policy toward Iran. 8oth are entirely negative in nature and may now serve to facilitate Soviet Interests more than our own. We mustore positive set of plansuch broader spectrum of considerations and actions.

Is easy to criticize our present position,o not mean to suggest that any easy answers exist. Itmperative, however, that we perhaps think in terms of aperhaps

slightly riskier policy which will at least ensure greaterin the unfolding situation. Rightwe arestand to gain nothing, and lose more. Inof developments In Iran, which are all outside

6. Some broader Policy Considerations. Nobody has any brilliant Ideas about how to get us back into Tehran. Nearly all tentative proposals require uncomfortable choices and clear-cut down sides. Nonetheless we need toroad spectrum of Ideas. ubmitange of thoughts, carrots andll of which arewhich night assist In sparking better and more refined positions to meet our needs.

with Iraq to bring Tehran to Its knees. We couldmuch closer to Iraq to bring the waruickerby way of encouraging crippling attacks onand key Iranian economic facilities. This would serveIntolerable pressure upon the regime, perhaps damagingmaybe even leading toward the collapse of It would probably bring the ware Disadvantage: We have no knowledge about whovictorious from such shambles;ould well befilled with hatred of the US. The radicals havethe guns. It Bight ensure Tehran's rapid accomrnodatlon

up Iran to friendly state influence. We could tell allallies, as well as Israel, Turkey, Pakistan,Brazil and Argentina that Western influence mustparamount position during this critical period in Iran. remove all restrictions In Our only proviso would be the request thatitems which could iornedlately affect the conductwar be avoided. (In fact, in the short term, fewreally reverse the course of the war.) teppreclude Iran turning to or needing thediminished isolation might encourage the emergencemoderatesreater policy role. encouragement for Iranian perpetuation of the war.

Go after Iran's radical allies. While direct US assault against Iran could bring about the very thing we wish to. Soviet domination of Iran, direct attack on Iran's radical allies, Syria and Libya, would probably sober Iran and weaken Its support from those quarters. It wouldlear blow to the "radical entente." Qadhafi In particularey figure.

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have every reason In the world to want to see Qadhafi collapse. Bold US policies leading to his downfall would have Chilling effect on Iran and shake its confidence that the correlation of radical forces was with then. (Pressure on Syria would have less effect and could ideally only come front;Is hardly interestedonfrontation with Syria at this point.) This "indirect strategy" would demonstrate US resolve against radicalism without directly pushing Iran In the wrong direction. Unlike Iran, we have nothing to lose in Libya and everything to gain.

flattening down the hatches in Turkey and Pakistan. Assuming that we may be headingajor Soviet gain In Iran, we may need to greatly step up our ties with Turkey and Pakistan. Turkey is at the heart of US ability to respond to any future Soviet military action against Iran. Both countries would be profoundly affected by an Iranian lurch in the Soviet direction. Turkey and Pakistan are the next two states high on thet for neutralization. Turkeyven more important than Pakistan because of its NATO ties, control of the Bosphorus and contiguous border with the Soviet Union. These states must be reassured that we are deeply committed to their support even If we cannotegative course of events in Iran,

f.

the Message Through to Tehran. Most analysts believe that nearly all elements in Iran are convinced that the USmplacably hostile to the Iranian regime. In the ugly atmosphere generated by Iranian terrorism and the war, the US has felt it inappropriate to address words of reconciliation to Iran in general. There is room for such broad, public statementegular basis to ensure Iranianwe are not dedicated to the overthrow of the Islamic Republic or the collapse of Iran. Thistself helps play against the barrage of propaganda from the top,Iranian leadership which wishes to portray the US as the implacable enemy. The hostage crisis is far past and anti-American mob scenes are less exhilarating for the Iranian public than they were in the heady days of the new Republic.

Massive reassurance to Iran of US intentions. Mere words may not be enough to change the tide of moderate opinion and beliefran about the US. We could reemphasUe this issue strongly if coupled with demonstrations of goodwill through withdrawal of the Sixth Fleet from the vicinity of the Persian Gulf and placing the US military presence in the Gulf on very low

profile. Disadvantage: We might persuade Iranian radicals that >tt had given up, or -ere paper tigers, or both. Our Arab allies might lose confidence. On the other hand, such gestures could be quickly revoked if Iran itself were not forthcoming or if the danger level rose. In any case, there are major benefitseries of positive gestures toward Iran Indicating basic goodwill--even If not immediately reciprocated by Iran. The non-radicals will get the message.

Bargaining with the USSR. We have little leverage here. However, tne USSR in its public statements constantly stress that the USent on placing Pershing missiles in Israel, Pakistan and Turkey. In theory these are bargaining chips which could be given away- at no costxchange for some understanding' over Iran. The main problemhat we can hardly warn the Soviets against establishing better ties with

Graham E. Fuller

The risk of perpetuating the war is there. But the Western card is easily undertaken and can be coupled with other US positive gestures discussed above. We need not rule outthose against Iranian allies like Qadhafl. Diminished political, economic, and military Isolation could have much positive effecthaky Tehran regime-especially

MEMORANDUM FOR:

SUBJECT:

of Central Intelligence Deputy Director of Central Intelligence

olicy on Iran

May 85

A/IA

iiii -

Outside

oward Teicher, NSC

ock Covey, NSC/ME

ichard w. Murphy, Asst. Sec. NEA

ames A. Placke, Deputy Asst. Sec. NEA

eter Rodman, Director of Policy Planning, State

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