tv Ali Velshi on Target Al Jazeera September 2, 2015 10:30pm-11:01pm EDT
today after two years of negotiations the united states >> today, after two years of negotiations, the united states has achieved something that decades of animosity has not. a comprehensive long term deal with iran that will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon. >> america and iran two old enemies in the middle east have shaken hands. in the next 30 minutes i'm going to take you iran, i'll meet iranians of all stripes,
butchers, shopkeepers, to iran's youth. i was there just as negotiators put the final touches on what's become a historic deal, between iran and six nations including the united states. iran agreed to open its doors to inspectors, in return, europe and the united states agreed to lift oil and financial sanctions that have crippled iran's economy. after 20 months of bargain thing the deal is done. whether or not you support the deal there is now a deal, agreed upon by iran and the world's powers. the iranian street is alive with talk of what's to come but to really make sense of it all you have to go there. i had to be there to talk to people to understand their history and to listen to their stories. i had to go behind the deal.
♪ ♪ >> the first thoughts when i landed were about how everybody who i'd seen looked very different. you didn't have to have your head covered on the plane. but as soon as you got off that plane you were in iran. and you needed to put your headdress on. that's what they needed to do to get into the country and not get into trouble with the morality police in iran. when i drove in that first night and the sun came up that morning and we were in our hotel and we had a good view of tehran, the city that most came to mind was los angeles. this is a city and there are some mountains and it's relatively flat otherwise and it is spread out and there are freeways everywhere and they are trafficked, high rises apartment buildings commercial areas with low slung buildings for shopping. we sort of rolled with a team of five. there was our photographer, my producer, our handler. who is a representative of the
agenagency. there are a handful of agencies that handle you on behalf of the government. mostly they help you because it's a state when you are shooting for tv you get stopped all the time by various level of police, all the time. we had little i.d. cards that we carried that they had made for me. papers that said we had permission to shoot but it didn't matter. everybody asks, if it's okay. he came with us everywhere we went morning to night. there is a few levels of stories that you get. a story that you get with the cameras on, that's the least story you get. then you get a different story with the camera off but the government minder there. somehow there's a slightly more casual feel. then you get a different story when the minder has stopped recording or maybe walked away
with his phone and the cameras are off. and that story actually resembles ease. everything is being watched or recorded. you just don't worry about it. one guy we were taking a shot of his ca car dlerm dealership. he said no. i said what's wrong you aren't doing anything wrong. he said this is iran, we are scared of our own shadows. you have to offer it's almost like a game it's almost poetic, you are constantly building up the other person and taking yourself down a notch. these people are pi pious. they are religious and they are connected to it. i expected it to be this is a
state religion i should see this and feel this everywhere. i did not. so it's interesting because iran is the only theocracy in the world but the mosques they have tend to be smaller and some of them are just beautiful. they're mind boggling. people don't wear religion on their sleeves here. in iran they don't only worship that way, they allow us to be part of it. i look at that scene in that mosque and our photographer walking nonstop through it. and you can't help be taken by that, that there must be some good that comes out of this. and it does give you a different way of looking at the world. and that isn't to say that there are real problems there and that people see the world differently. but the basics are the same. catch up on what happened overnight with a full morning brief. get a first hand look with in-depth reports and investigations. start weekday mornings with al jazeera america.
>> follow correspondent roxana saberi on a personal journey. >> this is the first time in 20 years i've been back to my mother's homeland. >> a special in-depth look at japan. the legacy of the atomic bomb. controversial american military bases. and the country's evolving identity. the carpet bizare in tehran is in the southern part of the city. >> the carpet bazaar in tehran is in the southern part of the city. it's dusty, it's conservative, it's a little more religious. we were talking to these guys who have been in a business that is ancient for persia, you see the rug but there are weavers, diers, carpets everyone in the world would think were beautiful, before the sanctions
this one little shop that i was in this one little owner would ship a container full of these carpets to the united states every week and you'd buy them in fancy stores i suppose. and since the sanctions he sells no carmtsz to the unite carpets. his entire business -- being the economics guy that i am, i said this is a problem for you, if the sanctions are lifted the demands for your carpets will increase and the cost of your yr carpets will increase. he says no no, the cost of the carpets will come down. i'm thinking he's missing my point. he says no no, the cost of the carmtcarpets will be reduced, te profit margin will be reduced, he had thought the whole thing through, everyone in iran has
done that. based on what they buy what they sell what they make what will happen when sanctions are lifted, this is like they can taste it. like the ramadan for sanctions, they see the end of it and taste what their lives will be like at the end of it. for years now, essential on iran over it its controversial nucler program have done little to curb iran's nuclear ambitions. it took recent banking sanctions effectively booting iran outs of the banking system, my cash doesn't work nor do my credit
cards. iran was pulled off the swift system, a so it of 9,000 banks in most of the world's countries which allow for global trade through the transfer of money. because it's off the swift system iran, iranian banks an iranian people can't move money electronically around the world. not all trade with iran is prohibited under sanctions. imports of food and drugs are still allowed but the inability to wire money to pay for them effectively cuts iranians off from importing necessities like medicine. >> it was not major problem, bad for specific patients for example for children, children with leukemia, children with brain tumor we are major problems to treat them. >> it's hard to see the effects of sanctions up front. in iran's shops and bizarres,
shops are full of goods for sale and business is brisk. it looks the same with iran's ports. but business with the rest of the world has taken a big hit because iranian companies can't pay for imports coming in or receive payments for exports going out. shipping volume is measured in 20 foot container equivalence. back in 2010, this port the biggest in iran handled 20 eight foot equivalence. the reason for that is sanctions, the pain of sanctions is being felt across the export industries like autos. but iranian consumers also must contended with hyperinflation, that's devalued iran's currency to just a third of its value in 2010. >> iranians have decided to
close down iran's nuclear program which they spent a lot of money on, people have died for it. and in return what they want is lifting of sanctions. >> in the end the forced belt-tightening by iran's businesses and workers have pushed government negotiators to focus on lifting of sanctions. >> tehran is cool, it doesn't have humidity, i was pleased to have a tie, i do my work in a uniform as it were and this does not exist in iran. you'll go into government offices and meet with bank managers and no one has a tie. at one point the ayatollah khamenei indicated that dressing
like this was the uniform of the west. when the shah of iran had tried to do that in iran there was a real backlash of that when the islamic revolution came around in 1979. they were mostly fit, we didn't see a lot of big people in tehran for some reason. it became very popular after the revolution to have these sort of beards that were well kept and very closely shaved. i understand that that was a sign of being one of these people that fought in the revolution or supported the revolution. women would dress a certain way according to what they deemed to be islamic code. women all had their head covered in public. what women would have is a pony tail or bun, i guess i'm a poor person to illustrate this on. you would see the back of their head most of the front of it so about a quarter or an 8th of
their head would be covered. or people would be with a chodor, not faces covered in iran. there was some variation in women but even women who were lightly covered had every sense of fashion about them. there's a history of hostility between iran and the united states that spans decades. for americans that history dates to 1979. >> there was more chanting and shouting today. >> that's when radical students fired up by iran's islamic revolution stormed the u.s. embassy in tehran and took 52 americans hostage. their captivity lasted 444 days. but for iranians hostilities with the u.s. started a quarter-century earlier. that's when prime minister mohammed mosadeg led an elected
government at a time when iran was experimenting with democracy. yet at the height of the cold war the u.s. opposed masadeg because of his plans to nationalize iran's oil industry. up until then it was dominated by british leaders. >> his crime was he was saying that this money we gt from our oil is not really enough, we need a little more. >> at the time iran was only getting 16% of what the british said they were making on profits off oil sales. saudi arabia and venezuela were both getting 50%. in 1953 the cia orchestrated the removal of iran's democratically elected but nationalist prime minister putting the shah firmly in control. over time hatred for the shah and for the americans who supported him grew deep in some quarters. the cia occupied the second floor of this the former american embassy, a building the
iranians came to refer to as a den of spies. by 1979, iran was in the throes of an islamic revolution. popular protests led by iran's senior muz lic muslim clerics dd the shah, america had never faced off against a political force that used islam for motivation, protesters breached the walls of the american embassy in tehran. they justified their assault in part on iranian fears that u.s. might spout another coup and bring the shah back to power. hostilities grew worse over the decades. in the 1980s, they accused
iraq, the u.s.s. vincennes shot down killing 290 people. the u.s. never formally apologized for the attack. despite all the bad blood over the years most iranians we talked to say, they like americans, just not like american foreign policy. >> i like america, i like american muscle cars, i don't hate america, and my friends do. 57 years have passed since the revolution. the americans if they are 40 years or younger they have no memory of the shah's regime. they don't have a memory of americans doing bad things in iran. and now we have the nuclear negotiations. this is actually an opportunity for the west. >> and now that a deal with iran is in place, some hopes there is a new direction in this history
of hostility but it won't happen overnight. in 2 pou 3 i had a chance to 2003 i have a chance to work as a journalist in my father's native land of iran. one demonstrator was killed in the southern city. many of these women feel their voices haven't been heard. people ask me where are you from? should i really say america? i was in my home on january 31st when at 9:00 in the morning four men from the intelligence ministry came to my home. i would be taken to evan that evening. >> iranian american reporter roxana saberi jailed in tehran. >> i was jailed for several hours blindfolded, facing four men and i was in solitary confinement for several days.
>> the charges against her are baseless. she is subjected to a process that is arbitrary. >> we have been told that she will be freed today. >> i'm so happy to be back home in the land of the free. >> i went to iran to learn more about my father's native country and to learn the language. i learned to love the country. i definitely hope to go back some day.
why where ten years ago, we're were doing a story on the strait of hormuz. this has been a point of contention for decades. it is the choke point where the oil from the oil producing countries goes out to the world. every day about 17 million barrels of oil goes out there that point. at its narrowest, the distance between iran and oman, which is an arab yaw arabian country is .
people are asking us why are you going down there? we couldn't explain that, it was in our destiny, we were going down to the gulf. general business trade, things going out of iran, things coming into iran has dropped 27% because of the sanctions. it's very easy to explain, you can't pay for these things. how can you buy cars if you can't transfer money? the straight of hormuz, it's water, looks like any other water. iran considers itself a superpower in the middle east and it wants the world to give it the respect it thinks it deserves. and despite agreeing to curbs on its nuclear ambitions iran's regional influence is bound to
grow as sanctions are lifted and its economic isolation ends. >> it's time for american leaders, some european leaders to realize that iran is a major player, you just live with it the same way they live with russia the same way they live with china. why not live with iran? and if they decide to do that then they will encourage forces within iran that are willing and able to accommodate western interests. >> one thing that iran is eager to help the west with is confronting i.s.i.l. both iran and the u.s. back the iraqi government in the war against i.s.i.l. fighters. but in neighboring syria where i.s.i.l. also controls territory, iran and the u.s. work at cross-purposes. that's because they back opposing sides in syria's civil war. in fact, in almost every
contentious area and facing the middle east today, syria, israel yemen and the flow of oil to the world, iran and the u.s. are on opposite sides. nowhere is that more apparent than in the strait of hormuz, a narrow waterway that connects oil traffic from the waters of the gulf and the indian ocean, just ten miles separates iran from the peninsula on the other side. across the strait there are american military installations in arabian peninsula countries. iran considers this a threat and has said it will mine this strait. it has done before. america has escorted vessels through this strait and done it for other vessels too.
many ways of wielding power in the middle east. it also uses its soft power to win the hearts and minds of people living in the region. >> iran has a natural soft power in the hearts and minds of the shia populations in this part of the world and internationally. it's like the vatican for the catholics. >> voices inside iran say it's now willing to use its influence in cooperation to solve the myriad problems consuming the middle east today. >> today iran has emerged as a major player. the islamic revolution has had a lot of influence in many parts of the islamic world. there are a lot of different areas where iran can play a very prominent role. >> so we were really interested in talking to government officials and business owners and regular working people about
politics about the economy, i didn't -- i hadn't really scheduled to do a lot of cultural things. but everybody told me you have to go to this little area on thursday night. thursday night in the eastern world is like friday night in the western world. people had their cars and they were shiny and nice and they would be driving, windows open, music playing, young guys would be on a motorcycle, for better way of saying it, cruising for girls, i don't know. we would go to an art gallery opening and they were shows this exhibition about artists who were pushing the boundaries of graphite, drawing. and it occurred me you are pushing the boundaries of this particular strain of art, in a country that is built on not pushing the boundaries of anything. of listening to what the
authorities tell you you're supposed to do. you start to wonder who are these demons, who are these people who we don't know? that isn't to say that there are real problems there and that people see the world differently, but the basics are the same. in the course of all my travels one thing was made clear to me about iran: there isn't just one thing about iran. the country is as varied politically as it is culturally. jockeying for position against conservatives and moderates. does that sound familiar? when it comes to this nuclear agreement there's at least one things that all sides can agree on that will go down in history. president obama and president
rock 'nhassan rouhani. i'm ali velshi. thank you for joining us. >> securing the deal. a senate veteran gives the white house the final vote it needed to keep the iran nuclear agreement safe from a congressional challenge. tragedy and chaos. shocking images of the refugee crisis in europe. children drown crossing the mediterranean. while tensions escalate at a train station where hundreds remain stranded.