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tv   Inside Story 2019 Ep 99  Al Jazeera  April 9, 2019 8:32pm-9:01pm +03

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all. the egyptian president abdel fatah sisi is in washington for talks on the challenges facing in the middle east has been meeting with president trump in the oval office to discuss the conflicts in libya and syria along with the latest developments in israel and palestine the u.s. sees egypt as a key partner in pursuing stability in the region. the u.s. attorney general has told congress he will release every dotted version of the miller report within a week william barr is being pressured to publish a four report into russian interference in the election of president donald trump in two thousand and sixteen bar says some information will be blacked out because it's deemed to be too sensitive if those are the headlines on al-jazeera coming up next year it's inside story with martin denis stay with us.
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the u.s. and iran label each other's military forces as terrorists and raise the stakes in decades of hostility some of the objectives unlawful be the impact of the president who declarations this is inside story. hello and welcome to the program. now the islamic revolutionary guard in iran is both revered and feared. directly to the supreme leader and as well as enforcing power they control business is now it's been designated as a terrorist organization by the united states is the first time the u.s.
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has ever labeled a foreign government agency in this way and allows more to be imposed on iran but to kill the guard and its business connections the u.s. secretary of state says the iranian force poses a fundamental threat to u.s. security this is stuart step of read the world's leading state sponsor of terror the financial means to spread misery and death around the world businesses and banks around the world now have a clear duty to ensure that companies with which they conduct financial transactions are not connected to the energy c. in any material way it also gives the u.s. government additional tools to counter iranian backed terrorism. this designation is a direct response to an outlaw regime and should surprise no one when iran responded by calling u.s. troops in the middle east terrorist groups and threaten to produce more advanced
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nuclear centrifuges algis there is a mess ravi has more from tehran. it's become a familiar routine u.s. president donald trump's white house issue some new action against iran provoking a chorus of defiant responses from senior iranian leaders immediately after the united states designated the islamic revolutionary guard corps as a terrorist organization iran's government retaliated by doing the same to u.s. forces in the region specifically mentioning u.s. central command and saying that the united states was a state sponsor of terror iran's president hassan rouhani speaking at an annual event celebrating iran's nuclear program said his country was more united than ever against the united states who he characterized as being the world's top terrorist he also said attacking the i.r.g.c. would only make them more popular amongst iranians iran's parliament seem to echo that sentiment on tuesday when lawmakers proposed a bill to carry out measures against the united states and help strengthen the i.r.g.c.
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even more some lawmakers even showed up in parliament dressed in i are to see fatigues as a show of support iran speaker of parliament other larijani also said the move by the u.s. was a sign of an old grudge and a sign of quote stupidity since the i.r.g.c. has been on the front lines of the fight against the islamic state of iraq and the levant or i sold in iraq and syria now iran's supreme leader ayatollah ali khamenei who is the commander in chief of the i.r.g.c. said america's animosity towards the group is because the i.r.g.c. is a bulwark against u.s. interests and policies in the region referring to this latest announcement from the white house company said quote trump and idiots in the us administration think they are making progress but they are not they are on the decline he also said the i.r.g.c. has and will continue to be at the forefront of confronting iran's enemies both foreign and domestic both politically and militarily. inside story. while the islamic revolutionary guard corps is the most powerful of iran's armed forces
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the elite wing this founded in one thousand nine hundred seventy nine to protect the leadership following the. lucian which deposed the shah the size of the force is thought to be around one hundred fifty thousand ground naval and air force personnel as well as enforcing political power girl commanders have major business interests and control iran's ballistic missile program the u.s. accuses them of financing and training armed groups like hezbollah which is based in lebanon. thank. our allies introduce our guests now joining us from the iranian capital tehran is mohammad marandi dean of faculty of world studies at the university there trita parsi is a professor at georgetown university and he's joining us from washington d.c. and in london we have elie getter meyer deputy director of the middle east and north africa program and senior policy fellow at the european council on foreign
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relations trita can i start with you in the u.s. because i'm wondering if you can explain for for us exactly what the objective of the administration's policy of naming the revolutionary guards as a terrorist entity is. ostensibly the argument they're presenting of course is that this is part of the us as maximum pressure strategies of iran a belief that if they maximize pressure against iran eventually the iranians will capitulate and change all of the policies that might pump a.o. has pointed out that they would like to see a change and very few people would take the administration's claims about their objectives at face value what appears to be the real objective here is that by taking a measure like this the trumpet ministration is and trapping future administrations into what parents to become a permanent state of enmity between the united states and iran because any movement
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future administrations would like to do in a diplomatic direction whether it is to rejoin the j c p a way or just start new negotiations and try to get some form of an effort to reduce tensions with iran all of those efforts will become severely hampered by this decision this is reducing america's own maneuverability in the future and that appears to be the objective all right coming to you mohammed in tehran then the iranian authorities have responded in kind of exactly the same way ratcheting up the pressure there all those who are now pointing out that there is a real possibility with both sides indicating that the other is a terrorist group a real possibility of military conflict now. the the the new sanctions and the declaring of the guards a terrorist organization doesn't have any economic impact because the guards have already been sanctioned thoroughly there's nothing more they can do in fact some
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many here who believe that this is a sign of u.s. weakness and defeat that they are sanctioning something that's already been sanctioned it means that they really don't have much else to do so economically and politically it doesn't make a difference it does have a there are certain areas where there could be trouble for example in the persian gulf or in the indian ocean where the navies of the two sides regularly confront each other or for example drones flying over syria that could be an issue so yes it makes it more dangerous and also i agree with your previous guest said about preventing future administrations in the united states from moving towards rapprochement if for example the a.n.c. the afenifere african national congress and nelson mandela who were declared as terrorist by the united states only after president mandela's term in office as president south africa were the restrictions on him removed so that he could enter the united states so the it's
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a very complicated process removing all of these different sanctions and. actions taken by ministrations and congress in the senate early coming to you in london how do the europeans feel about this mohamed is suggesting that there's not going to be any great economic impact because the revolutionary guards are already laboring under a massive raft of sanctions do you think that this will turn the screw even tighter on the revolutionary guards in the business they control and the uranian economy more generally. well i have to agree the economic impact is going to be negligible . find any major european company that's willing at this point in time to do business that could remotely be viewed as connected to the irish given the immense amount of u.s. sanctions that already same place so in terms of its or europe or on trade i don't expect it to take a major heads now what this could potentially do is chill the appetite of new
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companies a new board members that were considering entering business deals with iran because this designation creates a new layer of criminal responsibility for folks that may be knowingly engaging in this sort of a business but again i can't forsee any major european company engaging in this type of business in any case now what it does do in terms of europe are wrong relations is add a new layer of political tension to the relationship in terms of trying to preserve the nuclear deal europe and iran are currently undertaking technical extensive technical work for this new payment mechanism to allow some degree of trade to flow between iran and europe and this new layer of tension from the united states really puts a question mark over the stuff in some ways because the europeans have been telling iran behind closed door listen let's hang on tight until the twenty twenty elections in the u.s. are more clear about where their action washington is headed perhaps there might be
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a democrat president that takes a different view on the chase if you're so hung on iran this argument for europe is going to be significantly impacted by this latest designation mohamed coming back to you so in certain courses around the world the revolutionary guard of being completely demonize how do we really use feel about the revolutionary guard we've heard there are an elite force they have a great deal of business interests in the country but we saw the supreme leader extolling them for their virtues of keeping many enemies out of iraq. well if you look at multiple polls that are carried out regularly both by iranian institutions and western institutions the most popular public figure in iran is the commander of the quotes brigade general some stolen money after him. foreign
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minister zarif is the most popular public figure in the country so i think that goes that tells a lot about how people feel of course it's a country of eighty million and you have eighty million different views but the very fact that the united states has antagonizes the revolutionary guard which made many sacrifices both during the imposed war which where the united states back saddam hussein and gave him chemical weapons and in for example just iraq next door helping prevent isis from reaching our borders or taking iraq this is the tag an ism of the united states towards the guards which which has a lot of public support because of that history only only makes them stronger it only makes them more popular and actually what's interesting is that these this deck this statement that made by the united states came at a time when the construction segment of the our part of the guards which builds infrastructure they are busy rescuing people in the provinces where we had
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floods and it puts brigade which is the armed. part of the old guard which works in iraq and syria against isis and al qaeda they too are in the provinces rescuing people and helping people deal with the flood as we speak so it's really extraordinary how how the timing was really bad for the united states really in hand i gars president rouhani today made it very strong say more right for the guards but rather lately now around the eyes i guess they can public figures together thank you ma'am it at. trita coming to you so from what many of you are saying today it sounds as though this this latest policy to come from the administration is a bit more of a form over substance this is part of should be seen as part of the campaign of maximum pressure against iran which ultimately is to achieve what is it to to
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weaken in iran so much economically that dissent and dissatisfaction is fermented what c. ultimate goal. i think the ultimate goal of the trumpet ministration when it comes to its maximum pressure is that they actually are seeking the disintegration of the iranian state i don't think that this is a regime change policy a regime change policy would mean that the united states would also then take responsibility for setting up the next regime in iran and i think donald trump himself is very much allergic to that idea not because of any particular moral concerns but because of a cost issue and because of the fear that it would become a replica what happened in iraq so instead the objective seems to have shifted towards regime collapse that is a much cheaper alternative and the united states is then not responsible for what happened after the regime collapses in fact it would prefer that no regime comes and replaces it the benefits from their perspective and from the perspective of
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these rallies and the saudis that are very much pushing for this is that with the regime collapse and the chaos that would ensue inside of iran iran's power would be consumed internally and as a result the balance of power in the region would shift dramatically away from iran into the benefit of the saudis and the israelis i think everything we're seeing right now is pointing in this direction because it's really difficult to explain these policies based on the official objectives that the trumpet ministration is putting forward for instance them saying that this is a step towards actually negotiating with iran it's simply ludicrous to believe that it is a possibility so ellie faced with this which seems to be a complete. obsession almost coming out of the white house and as we're seeing now with the other agencies of government in in the administration how on earth can the europeans missa gate the effects of what the u.s.
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administration is putting into place i mean how how measure of eighteenth are they to try to keep iran in gauged with the new clear deal and beyond that in terms of trying to keep the economy at least afloat. well the of france was the first government in europe to come out today with a statement exactly on this issue urging caution and calm on both sides to prevent an escalation i think european capitals. to the fact that now with the u.s. and iran recognizing parts of one another's respective armed forces as a terrorist organization could leave them across has all of major confrontation on this is only in iran but in other parts of the region either by a calculated move or miscalculation and there are hardliners everywhere across the region and indeed an interim that would welcome that actually and the europeans don't unlike the united states have an ocean separating them from the middle east
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and what's going on in iran so one of their number one priorities is to prevent regional instability even further in this region closer to home as part of that the number one priority for them is to keep iran and gauge in this nuclear agreement now it's becoming day by day are harder to do that but we are seeing pockets of optimism for example in this new financial payment mechanism that the europeans so i'm finally registered a few months ago there's a lot of technical work underway on that there are regular high level political meetings between the europeans and iranians and neither side is really shut the door to diplomacy despite the pressure coming from the united states and israel on europe to shut that door and join the maximum pressure campaign so i think what we can beso from the europeans is to keep at this some want norths position on iran
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and not to add for the fuel to the fire of what we're seeing in the region and urged through shuttle diplomacy behind closed doors with both tests on more shinton to really cool the situation down and treated coming to you washington tell us a bit about. the coordination of the various agencies in the administration to come up with this latest strand of maximum pressure policy because as far as we understood it the white house's pretty much it all and certainly with the intelligence community yes this is yet another example in which the trumpet ministration has completely disregarded and run over not just the intelligence community but also the pentagon who both of them which have objected to this decision was pushing back against it but were essentially set aside by bolton and those in the white house have been driving this policy and the reason why they have objected to this is precisely because they recognize that this decision actually
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does not serve u.s. national interest because it makes the united states less safe by increasing the likelihood of a confrontation with iran so and this is not a new position when these issues had come up earlier on when israel and other countries were pushing for this ten twelve years ago it was then back then as well the pentagon and the intelligence community as a push back against this decision and for at least twelve years they've managed to hold it off up until the trumpet instruction came in of course which seems to be much more sensitive to the advice given to them by netanyahu or n.b.s. in saudi arabia than the advice that they're given by their own intelligence community and mohammed in tehran when might pompei or the u.s. secretary of state says that this policy of maximum pressure against iran will continue until iran behaves like a normal nation what goes through the minds of the administration in tehran.
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i think the first thing that comes to mind is afghanistan and. the united states and the saudis helped create that the rise of the taliban support for saddam hussein and chemical weapons that they provided him that this invasion and destruction of iraq supporting extremists in syria the destruction of libya and of course the ongoing starvation that we see in yemen and all of this is very much linked to the united states and of course the ongoing misery that palace in this are enduring the iranians believe that it's extraordinarily hypocritical for the americans to make such statements about iran but i think what trump has done is not only has the united iranians more than before but also by antagonizing turkey to draw on turkey closer to iran by trying to impose their will upon iraq iraqi government and also by trump entering iraq without rocky permission they push iraq towards iran by antagonizing russia and the trade war with china they're drawing
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all these different countries closer to iran simultaneously in the united states looks very bad by making such a foolish foolish act whereas as your previous guest rightly pointed out when even members in people within a very extreme regime in washington are opposed to such a policy that shows how bad it is for the united states all right any coming back to you it's estimated that the revolutionary guard comprise what one hundred fifty thousand people at the moment but these new sanctions could affect many many more people couldn't they how many do you think. well according to a statement made by u.s. officials to reporters yesterday this could cover as many as eleven million people that have at some time or another been affiliated with the group now what's important for your viewers to know is that iran has mandatory conscription and that means many many young men have to join parts of the military including
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r.t.c. at some point or another and there's a real question mark about what's going to happen to these folks particularly those who are traveling abroad and those who are under current these as in the united states because one of the predictions is that there's going to be even more extreme vetting than we already have for applicants from iran so really there's a there's a big question mark over how exactly this is going to be implemented critically at a time when the u.s. treasury is currently swimming in a pool of sanctions on iran that keep increasing day by day you know on a weekly basis we're hearing more and more sanctions against iranian entities and the treasury has so much capacity to actually implement these but for sure this is a new challenge of exactly who's going to be covered and how. mohammed how would you assess the state of u.s.
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relations today following on from this trading of labels of terrorist organizations much worse than before. not much worse i i think that it is obviously worse than before but they were they were pretty bad again when you look at polls in that that have been taken recently in iran the dislike for the u.s. government is now almost universal and it's the highest that is been since polls have been taken by these institutions in iran for the last twenty twenty five years and on the other hand even the united states as a country for the first time in many years as a country. more people dislike the united states and they like the united states government aside so what trump is doing is that he's destroyed u.s.
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public diplomacy capabilities and the image of the united states and i think it goes far beyond iran's borders and again he i think he is isolating the united states not only when it comes to iran but also when it comes to many other countries and it draws them all together that the multiple trade wars even his statements with regards to mexico just last week he said he shut the border then he reversed his decision these sort of statements i think actually benefit iran a lot in the long term although it has caused a lot of difficulty economically for your audience but i think in the long term the united states has wrecked its position globally and in the eyes of the public and in the eyes of many governments with its behavior both towards iran and other countries all right thank you all very much indeed really interesting conversation mohammad marandi in terror on trita parsi in washington d.c. and l.a.
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jeta mayor in london thank you very much indeed and thank you as ever for watching the program if you want to see it again you can go to the website al-jazeera dot com if you want more discussion this f.a.'s book page facebook dot com for. sorry and that's the choice is fair of course i handle at a.j. inside story i'm feeling dennis from the whole team here into this but for now. we live in a time of war and tragedies crimes against humanity. activist repression. enforced disappearance arbitrary arrests. extrajudicial executions brutal torture the list goes on.
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