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tv   U.S.- Iranian Relations in the Cold War  CSPAN  October 25, 2015 8:50am-10:01am EDT

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the case is, whether a majority rule, a state legislature can now take her life and liberty without due process and the court rules no. it is a wonderful decision. or 601895, 10 hours a day a week. he took his case all the way to the supreme court. randy barnett, professor of constitutional law, and author of the book, "restoring the lost constitution peer co- constitution." and paul kens.
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landmark cases on c-span, c-span3, and c-span radio. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] next, the book looks at and impact onip u.s. policy in the cold war. this event is a little over a half hour. [applause] >> thank you for being here. thank you roham for coming for this talk. irish everyone to read this book if you want to understand the u.s. iranian relationship today. let me first ask you, what
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inspired you to write this? roham: first of all, can i just say thank you to the nixon foundation for the kind invitation to come. they've taken such good care of me. i absolutely love it. i look at my office in london and it is mostly raining. to be here is a real pleasure. this book was a labor of love basically. i come from an iranian family, i was born very shortly after the fall of the shah. the shah was always discussed and debated in my family. i gravitated towards that. it became the time when many of the documents from the nixon administration were available,
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and my curiosity got the better of me and i started to read these documents. i was surprised. the image that came out of those documents of next and, of the relationship between these men was so different to what i heard, to the orthodox view in academia, i got hooked. i spent the next 3-4 years living with these three men and studying them to understand them. >> all of our audiences and money with the background of president and an henry kissinger. but what is the shah's background? roham: he ascended the throne in 1941 in the midst of the second world war. he was not born a prince. his father came to power in iran
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in 1921. he'd been a military officer. he became the crown prince of iran after his father was crowned in 1925. he ascended the throne in possibly the most difficult circumstances you can imagine. his country was under occupation of the allied powers. the soviet union occupy the north of iran. so, he barely managed to ascend the throne for the monarchy was touch and go, whether it would survive. he was only 21 years old at the time. the first american president he met was franklin roosevelt. it is an incredible life story. he becomes a major political figure of the 20th century, somebody who play the role in world affairs throughout the 1950's, 1960's, and 1970's until his death in 1981. >> victim by talking of the second world war and the don of
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the cold war, and how the allies had occupied. can you talk about the context of iran during that time, what was happening? roham: iran was the first battleground of the cold war. the first issue was iran. stalin had occupied the north of iran, and despite its commitment to leave iran after the end of the war, the soviet union did withdraw. it created a cold war crisis, drawing in the night it states truman administration. this was a formative experience
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for the shaw, for a generation of iranians who realize that the policy of neutrality was not enough to defend iran. iran had to look to a third power to preserve its independence and sovereignty against the imperial ambitions. in the 1930's iran had looked to germany to play that role. a whole generation of iranian states look to the united states as a country that had no imperial ambitions, no history of colonialism in the region. they hoped an alliance with the superpower on the other side of the world would help defend and protect them from the soviet union with whom iran shared 1500
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kilometer border. >> there is a debate about this policy, balancing between powers who wanted to exploit iran's oil interests. can you touch on that end where the shah and other leaders come into the picture? roham: the last in iran was active. the communist party was the first political party and iran. they had a military network and was supported by the soviet union.
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at the same time, the iranian national speakers, whether they were republican or monarchist, or liberal, or conservative, they looked to the united states as a country that would be able to support the cause of liberty in iran. there were some who thought that allying with the united states unnecessarily antagonize the soviet union. there were others who thought that the strategy that you mentioned, the balancing strategy, effectively it surrendered iran sovereignty to these great powers. the substance of that policy was giving one concession to britain to balance what they gave to the russians. the position was that famously
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he said this is like a man who has had one arm cut off, cutting off the are there arm to have balance -- cutting off the other arm to have balance. he looked to the united states and placed great faith in president truman to help iran resist british influence and british imperialism. during the oil crisis of the 1950's he hoped the united states would back iran's claims to sovereignty and control of its own oil. that worked for a while but unfortunately as iran became more and more unstable, u.s.-backed its ally. >> how does the shaw emerge in 1953 out of this crisis? roham: in 1953, a huge trauma for iran. after a three-year battle
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between britain and iran for control over iranian oil, iran is able to nationalize the oil industry. iranian oil belongs to the iranians. it comes at a price. britain and the united states worked together covertly to reza, becausemmed they were afraid he would stay in power, not only to iran, but through the empire. theynited states because thought a continuation of the government with the to instability and a communist takeover in iran. the role of outside power in the the of mohammed reza and
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installation of the shah as an absolute ruler rather than a constitutional monarch undermines the legitimacy in iran, and undermines the well of that it existed for the united states in iran prior to 1953. it is something that the shah never manages to escape, no matter how much the substance of the iran/united states relationship changes over the years, the popular perception of the shah as a dictator installed by the united states is powerful and difficult for him to shake. the figure of mohammad truedegh as the nationalist rather than mohammed reza.
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it is the substance of the relationship was not like that at all, and the relationship between the u.s. and iranian roles. mr. movroydis: in the policy of the eisenhower-kennedy, johnson administration, you brought up that he was thought of as a puppet. hewas the the shah that said was treated as a concubine rather than a wife. can you characterize policy during that time? in the 1950's and 1960's, early 1960's, iran was a cold war liability for the united states. not a country that could contribute to american strategies of containment. iran's place that in the cold war was to act as a homework against soviet -- act
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rk against soviet penetration into the gulf. they wanted to keep the the shah in power and maintain a pro-american government in iran. if you read documents from kennedy and johnson, the debate is about how can we ensure that, preserve this government, what is the most effective way of doing that? under eisenhower the policy is supplying iran with arms and economic aid to maintain stability. during the kennedy administration it is pushing the shah to modernize and reform in the hope of preventing a popular revolution. the shah is not an asset, he is a liability in that view. far as his ambitions for iran are concerned, his ideas of iran
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being a great power, exercising influence throughout the region -- none of that is taken seriously by the administrations. consistently, his argument to various american presidents is -- well, iran needs more money, arms, iran faces threats from the soviet union, and allies in the arab world. more often than not the response from the eisenhower, kennedy, or johnson administrations was you should worry less about the soviet union and worry about the internal problems in your country. get your house in order rather than worrying about a soviet invasion of iran. they say that even with all of the power in the world you will not be able to stop them, that will be up to the united states to do that. arabia,oydis: saudi
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that is iran's largest rival to the south of the persian gulf. in the 1960's, especially after what the shah called his white revolution of image emerges of iran as a modernizing country and the shah as a modernizing monarch. it is something of a contradiction. you cannot at the same time claim to the wearing the mantle 2500rus the great and years of monarchy and be a radical reformer who is thoroughly modern. they don't sit well with each other. washe 1960's, the shah perceived, especially in washing 10, as being -- especially in washington, as being on the right side of history. even during the reign of king
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it was seen as a conservative monarchy unwilling to conform. were destined for the dustbin of history. they could not have gotten that more wrong. in 1979, and the house is still rolling saudi arabia. at the time, there was the 'srception that the shah reforms would allow iran to weather the storm, and the saudi reluctance to reform made their monarchy brittle and a bad bet. this is something that was reiterated to the united states to convince them to back in iran as the power in the region. mr. movroydis: nixon comes back to power in 1969, but he meets president inice 1953. can you describe the first meeting?
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-- alvandi: december december 1950 three. five or six months after the coup. from his notes of those meetings, and the reports he gave to president eisenhower when he returned to washington, the impression that you get of the shah is of a very timid and shy character, and that the real power in tehran is in the hands of the prime minister, general zahedi, the military officer who .ed the coup effort he said he did send something in him. that he did sense we would be hearing more about this man. they seem to get along very
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well. on a personal level. there seemed to be a good rapport between them. they would each maintain that thetionship throughout 1950's, 1960's -- even when nixon was out of office. mr. movroydis: in april 1967? change in policy between the two men? with a more politically mature? mr. alvandi: i don't know that they had changed so much. the shah was more confident in moreate 1960's, older and experienced. in iran itself had developed quite a lot. he was more safe on his throne. was the really changed cold war. the context in which they were meeting. the united states was in the vietnam war. frustrateds quite and disillusioned at what he
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perceived as an abdication of american leadership in the cold war. he worried about the decline of american. what that would mean for iran. he was quite hopeful that a man nike nexen could -- like nixo could resurrect american leadership. their meeting in tehran is quite extraordinary. advisers told him not to meet with them, they were worried he would be seen as taking sides in american domestic policy. what if you part humphrey or another democratic candidate won the election? will it be the consequences for the u.s.-iranian relationship? he insisted that he would meet nixon, his friend. they have a wide-ranging discussion for two hours, discussing everything from africa to vietnam.
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you can imagine these grand geopolitical thinkers, well-versed and well-informed, very good on substance, discussing issues. it is a very revealing moment on, ithe shah says to nix am tired of the harvard boys telling me how to run my country. the kennedyg about administration, johnson administration, and those still in the white house. it must have been music to .ichard nixon's ears he is effusive in his praise for the shah. he comes back to the united states and makes a complementary speech about the shah. that lays the groundwork for the kind of relationship that will exist once richard nixon assumes the presidency. he assumesis: after
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the presidency, president nexen watches an astronaut splashdown in the south pacific. on july 25, 1969 he goes to guam foreignounces his first policy, articulates it. reporters,nly news no television coverage, but he react to take you way to the vision on november 3, 19 69 when he rallied support for his policy in vietnam called the silent majority speech. troopsre any american were committed to vietnam, a leader of an american country expressed this to me. when i was traveling in asia as a private citizen, he said, when you were trying to assist another nation defend its freedom, u.s. policy should help them fight the war, but not to fight the war for them.
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in accordance with this wise down in guamid three principles for future american policy. first, the united states will keep all of its treaty commitments. second, we shall provide a shield if the nuclear power threatens the freedom of a nation allied with us, or a nation who survival we consider vital to our security. in cases involving other types of aggression we should furnish military economic assistance when requested in accordance to our treaty commitments, but we should look are responsible for providing the manpower for its defense. after announcing this policy, the leaders of the philippines, thailand, other nations that might be threatened with communist aggression welcomed the new direction in american policy.
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defense of freedom is everybody's business, not just america's business. it is particularly the responsibility of the people whose freedom is threatened. in the previous administration, we americanized the war in vietnam. in this administration, we are vietnamizing the search for peace. mr. movroydis: he is talking about vietnam and southeast asia, but what does it mean in the context of american cold war policy during the nixon administration? mr. alvandi: i can almost hear the shah saying those words. he would frequently tell nixon, unlike the other countries we don't want to fight until the last american. of aixon doctrine was part comprehensive foreign policy
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strategy. it was one half of the strategy, the other half being detente. the administration was to redirect american resources and attention away from what they perceived as needless engagements, unnecessary commitments, toward .he issues that mattered they meant relations between the great powers, china, the soviet union, and the united states. how to achieve that? the united states would have to pick and choose where in the world it confronted the soviet adversary, rather than allowing the soviet union to determine where the battles would be fought. a very difficult thing to do. if you are a global superpower, you have global interests. even the most obscure conflict in a faraway place takes on important global significance.
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how do you do that? they resolved the dilemma with nhe nexen doctrine -- the nixo doctrine. that america's partners in the regions would be given resources, arms, and support to confront the soviet union and the local allies in the region without direct american military intervention. 'sis was music to the shah ears paid this was the role he wanted for iran. ofegional power with support the united states, able to contribute to american strategies of containment, to be an asset rather than a liability in the cold war. president's and and hendry kissinger reevaluated the cold war policy. evaluated all of
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the different american strategy options. a couple of bullets on the screen. role of protector ourselves, packing iran as the chosen instrument, keeper of the stability in the gulf, promoting saudi arabian cooperative would he, and actively promoting a regional security pact. they may determine a determined course of action. to promote core operation as the mainstay of the regional system, but recognizing iran is a power in the goal. .- in the gulf and to develop a working relationship with political entities in the lower gulf. come to thisxon conclusion? mr. alvandi: it took at least 2 years.
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in part, it reflected the realities, political realities, of the persian gulf. been withdrawn. the united states was unable to take on that role because of the vietnam war. the only country in the region that had the will and resources to be able to maintain regional stability was iran, which was a close ally of the united states. option was saudi arabia, but they did not have the military capability to play that role, nor were they particularly willing to play that role. they did not want to open themselves to accusations from the arab nationalists of being a sort of proxy for the united hades, whereas the shah no such qualms and was happy to take on that role. that that is not a
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sufficient explanation, because the johnson administration, in 1968, faced this same dilemma and came to a different conclusion to the one you listed. date decided to continue with the policy of balancing iran and saudi arabia. they said a balance of power between iran and saudi arabia was the best way to maintain . this was the famous twin balancing policy. pay lip service to the saudis, but everyone knows the reality is that the shah has assumed the mantle of regional primacy. why? is conclusion i've come to it had a lot to do with the personal relationship between rezard nixon and mohammed
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shah. i would say there was a trust is steam between the two men. that gave richard nixon the confidence that he could put the shah in that role. mr. movroydis: you talked about the saudi arabian reluctance to cozy up to the united states. how did supporting iranian primacy fit in with the objectives? the ultimate diminish soviet influence in the middle east. in the minds of richard nixon and kissinger, most of the foreign-policy establishments at the time, this was one of the year of a global cold war.
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that is not how the actors in the region saw it. as adid not see themselves theater in the global cold war, they are fighting their own battles for their own reasons, sometimes for very local issues. approach to the region, and his portfolio with issue, -- ofsraeli the era of-israeli issue, was a more regional approach to solve more of an issue to try to gain traction and momentum. that is not something think was of great interest to richard nixon or kissinger and unless it had a consequence for the global cold war. the 2, whereas their policies in the arab-israeli
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issue under rogers had a regional approach, in the gulf it is the cold war approach. the shah understands this and uses the language of the cold war and the threat of the soviet union to get what he wants from washington. himself as an asset to the united states in strategies of containment. now, ultimately he succeeds. failed.rs' plan that shows you which approach had more traction in washington, which probably applies as much today as it did then. where you stand depends on where you sit sort of thing. the shah did that very well. mr. movroydis: on may 30, 1972, tripwing president nixon's to moscow with the
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anti-ballistic missile treaty was rectified, and the detente became in washington, richard nixon returns and goes to tehran on may 30. that doctrine of iran's privacy was ratified during the meeting in tehran. detente have made iran more vulnerable to the russians? had 2 meetingsey in tehran on the way back from moscow. one of the first things that that says to the shah is iran should not see detente as something that weakens iran. the united states will not sell out in iran to the soviet union as a grand bargain. has anticipated this.
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ofhad his own strategy dealing with the soviet union and communist world. he had normalized relations with the soviet union in 1962, is trading oil and gas with the soviet union and the communist countries of eastern europe. his strategy is to deal with the detente by making iran indispensable to the communist bloc, by supplying them with oil. one of the countries that iran had the closest relationship with in the 1970's was romania. oil was extraordinary. it would reach diminish iranian the escalon pipeline through israel to the mediterranean sea, thenhe red shipped to romania, where the oil would be refined in romanian refineries and sold throughout
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the communist bloc. tos was a way for the shah integrate himself to the east and west, and to buy an insurance policy against detente. detente was also an opportunity for a country like iran, a metal power like iran. a relaxation of tensions -- a metal power like iran, a relaxation of tensions allows iran to assert itself on the global stage, reducing the iraners in place on flexing its muscles. when tensions are high, the smallest action from iran could have drastic consequences. for example a conflict between iran and iraq could escalate the between a superpower confrontation the between the
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united states and the soviet union. when the tensions are low a country like iran can take more risks and assert themselves more strongly. the shah did a very good job of responding to detente and taking advantage of it. mr. movroydis: you write of an interesting exchange between president nexen and the shah pretty says on the same meeting says protectxon me. what does he mean? mr. alvandi: he looks at the shah and says "protects me." this must have been the best day 's life.hah the president of the united states went to tehran to ask him to protect him. interests of the western world in this vital and strategic theater. help to maintain stability in the gulf.
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keep oil flowing through the strait. that was also iran's interest. their economy depended on the ability to produce and export oil to global markets. the shah was happy to play that role. in fact, that is the policy that hasn't changed, even after the revolution. it is a consistent and iranian interest in policy. remembered the first time i read that document, it was extraordinary. have of thosed we meetings are henry kissinger's meetings. only these three men were privy to what was said in the meetings. the shah when not allow any other official to be president when he met with heads of state, another way of him to control
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the flow of information. henryends on how honest is being in those minutes. mr. movroydis: let's turn to iraq for a moment. i client of moscow on the persian gulf. 's father signed a treaty in tehran that gave a waterway, off of the persian gulf, gave the iraqi sovereignty of it. why did the current shah, the the treatyo abdicate and get the waterway back? why was it so significant for the shah to take at least a portion of it back from the iraqis? mr. alvandi: crucially important. the largest oil refinery that had been built either british was located there.
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it was absolutely vital. who ever controlled the waterway throughed the lanes which iranian oil was shipped into the persian gulf and into global markets. you can see that iraq has a very small coastline on the persian gulf. a tiny opening to export oil. it goes all the way into the arabian sea. it is also very important for the border. having a waterway as a order is a bad idea. view that know about waterways, they shift, they are not fixed.
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a change in the seasons or over time. very recently british sailors were arrested by the iranians for wondering onto the wrong side. it is a very important waterway. they had given this concession iraqe iraqis, and that would have sovereignty over the entire waterway. the standard practice, internationally, was to have the border in the middle of the waterway, which was the deepest navigable channel. iraqiss something the were not willing to concede. in 1969 whensis
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matters come to a head and the shah uses resolute military force. waterway flying the iranian flag with a full military escort. the iraqis do not put up any resistance, establishing iranian sovereignty on their half. 1975 in antified in agreement between saddam hussein and the shah. mr. movroydis: another sticking point is the status of the kurds in the mountainous regions. covertlythe shah supports the kurds and their war ininst the united arab front iraq. why does he do that? mr. alvandi: iranian intervention in iraq is not new.
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to the 16th century. in the 1970's the goal was to paralyze the iraqi army and keep , the iraqitionalists government, fighting the kurds in the north of iraq, rather than making trouble for iran in the south in the persian gulf. the support for the iraqi kurds .egins in the early 1960's they begin a covert operation to support the iraqi kurds. the iranian border was the only one that would be able to access kurdish territories. there's no other way to physically get in there. and the iranians are very
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sensitive because they have their own kurdish population, and the last thing that the shah was an independent kurdistan in northern iran. -- in a northern iraq, which for iran. problems he supported the kurds enough to keep them fighting against the iraqis, but never enough for them to triumph and achieve independence. it was a strategy he played throughout the 1960's into the early 1970's. of course, the kurds, and their leader, was kind of an epic man on horseback -- a heroic figure. they are not fooled and understand exactly what the shah is doing. they start to flirt with the idea of making some kind of peace and deal with the iraqis to end the war and help them
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achieve their objectives. nervous.s the shah how can he keep the war going and maintain the stalemate that paralyzes the iraqis. he has to provide him with a guarantee. i an insurance policy that iran will not sell the amount. only one country can give that kind of guarantee, the united states. andshah asks nixon kissinger to come into the covert war in iraq. with cia to provide money and arms to the kurds, and more importantly to establish contact with the iraqi kurds and express sympathy for their goals. a breakld represent with the policies of all previous administrations who had
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resisted getting drawn into the war of iraq. thewar is fighting -- united states is fighting another war in the jungles of southeast asia, no one wants to get in want in a obscure conflict in a place most americans had never heard of. the entire foreign-policy establishment in washington advises the white house to say no, to resist getting involved. interestingly, richard nixon and kissinger overruled them and to become involved in the war in 1973 during the meetings in tehran. there a cold: was war context to their involvement? mr. alvandi: absolutely. the argument that the shah makes is that the iraqis are backed by the soviet union. if the kurds and the boss of the
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arab nationalists in iraq come to terms, it will be a domination of iraq. that is way to prevent by the united states becoming involved in the war. here's the question i find interesting. and his the president national security advisor trust the advice of the shah over the advice of the secretary of state, the director of the cia, the director of defense? why do they place so much faith ?n the wisdom of the shah my argument is it has to do with the relationship, the unique relationship that exists between richard nixon, kissinger, and the shah. the united states did not have an iraq policy. they had an iran policy. richard nixon's policy was to support the shah. needs toah says this
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get done, it gets done. that is how the policy evolved. if that relationship had not been there, the kurds' appeals for help to the united states would have been ignored by the nixon administration as they had been by the previous administrations. it answered 1975. n 1970 five. as much as they want to keep the conflict hidden, it escalates over time. one reason is the increase in oil prices after the october war iraq73, giving iran and resources to prosecute the war, escalating the war to the point that if iranian forces across the iraqi border dressed as kurds.
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crossed into iraq and engaged with iraqi forces. the shah is worried that this will lead to a full scale war between iraq and iran. american allies in watergate, the theory was in airan would find itself position where they would confront in without the united states and the support. choice, either he escalated the war or makes a deal. .e makes a deal he meets with saddam hussein on the sidelines of the algiers opec summit, and they issue a communique in which it is in 1975. which irane in essentially agrees to seal its border with iraq, cut off supplies to the kurds.
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in exchange saddam hussein makes the two terrio concessions that the shah had been demanding. mr. movroydis: so, the shah comes out more powerful as a result of the war and iran gets everything they want at the end of things. you write that iran has ambitions of becoming a greater power in the region, perhaps even a nuclear power. when you talk about enron's nuclear ambitions during that time? mr. alvandi: the iranian nuclear program begins under the shah. it was modest in the 1950's under the eisenhower peacestration's atoms for program they built a small reactor in tehran. in the 1960's, with all of the oil money, the shah makes the decision that iran will join the
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nuclear club and be one of the few countries that can produce electricity from nuclear power. in the 1970's this was considered the height of exclusive it was very . only the most advanced economies in the world had this technology. they do not necessarily want nuclear weapons. he thought that if iran develop .uclear weapons nonetheless, he was of the view that iran should have the scientific base and access to the tech knowledge he to develop
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nuclear weapons if one of its adversaries did so. had a bombsuddenly one day, iran should be able to respond. changed,ve dramatically, since the 1970's. iran no longer has conventional superiority over its neighbors that it did back then. his neighbors are very feeble compared to israel who is armed with the latest technologies and weapons. i'm sure the calculation is different now, but the ambitions are similar. iran is a country with a long , with a memory of empire, greatness, and that is something that is really central to the iranian view of their place in the world. of course, at the same time, the to similar to not
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china or russia, iran sees themselves as a picture of history. or of history. they see themselves as a victim of colonialism and imperialism, but they have a memory of their empire and greatness. in these two things in a way reinforce each other. wasthe shah, the challenge -- how can iran's ambitions the integrated within an american world order? necessarily have to conflict with one another? is there a way the united states can accommodate an ambitious iran'snd k -- and can ambitions reinforce american interests? the shah found a way to do that, and it worked as long as those three men were in power.
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it falls apart after the revolution, but whether that is possible today, i'm very skeptical. i do see a great deal of continuity. mr. movroydis: thank you very much, roham. butave time for questions, first let's give a round of applause. [applause] mr. movroydis: we are going to take a few questions. i would like to ask a question. relationship, post-exile, what was it like? mr. alvandi: funny that you ask. i've been looking at the papers. the relationship did not end with the fall of the shah, watergate, and nixon's resignation. exile,e shah went into worked veryssinger
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hard to secure a place for him. in fact, if they -- kissinger secured a safe haven for nixon ina safe haven for the shah mexico and the bahamas. they visited him when he was in mexico. toon drove from california see him. in 1981, in cairo, one of the few heads of state to attend the shah's funeral was president nixon, who made a point of being there. he was highly critical of president carter when he arrived in cairo. he referred to carter's policies as a black page. next question? luke. my name is
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why is there so much hatred in the current iranian regime toward israel? -- i've heard they said if they had a nuclear bomb they would destroy israel yesterday. what provoked that? mr. alvandi: i think it is a very cynical, instrumental policy. iran is a country in a region and a minority. it is a shiite and persian country surrounded by sunni arab states who have a historically antagonistic relationship with iran. if you wanted to make a case for iranian leadership, you need an issue which is going to allow you to rally support. the issue of israel is one that iranians use of effectively to
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rally support. that strategy has collapsed because of the arab spring, the support for the outside regime in syria has undermined support in the arab world, but it is a cynical policy. the same government that professes to hate israel was happy to do arms with them in the 1980's. it is quite happy to engage in a cold war with israel, as long as it is not actual iranians doing any fighting. it is an instrumental policy. anyone leftthere's who really believes in it, to be honest. mr. movroydis: next question. history.s. has a long -- ofe is administration one administration standing
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behind a foreign leader in support of u.s. national policy, and over time, that leader -- possibly corruption or internal insurgency fighting against them -- and the future administration withdraws that support. and we end up being replaced like government that is very hostile to the united states. vietnam, iran, the philippines, egypt -- there are several. what would be your thought to how do we keep -- stop repeating this pattern? mr. alvandi: well, it reminds me 's i remember during the shah first state visit to washington during nixon's president here at a number of demands. he was asking for this and that. , itinger said to him, look
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is much easier for the imperial ruler of iran to make policy and for us in the united states. the united states is a democracy. it is subject to all of the vagaries and domestic politics. it seems like there is an election year here every year. that makes it very difficult to have a consistent, long-term foreign policy based on national interest. there is really only one way of doing that, to do everything in secret. which is what the nixon administration did. most of the achievements and foreign policy was done in secrecy. that has its own pitfalls. you fail to build public support for your policies, and it can backfire badly. how do you resolve that dilemma?
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it is very difficult. i think the only real way to do than to appeal, rather trying to appeal to people's worst instincts as a leader, is to treat people intelligently and speak in substance to people. is something that has been completely lost in politics. it is rare that you see a political leader that has enough perspective for people to be able to discuss the substance of policy, rather than small --ndbites and vagaries of these are the good guys and these are the bad guys. mr. movroydis: back row, to your right. -- at the other presidential library in california, they had the gop debate. they all had an opinion of what they would do with the iran
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deal, whether they would rip it up or make a first phone call. two you have thoughts in regard to that, and the new president that might come in, and the whole iran deal? mr. alvandi: i did watch it. [laughter] mr. alvandi: it was a mixed performance, let's put it that way. foreign policy is often about making the best at a bad situation and choosing the least worst option. i think the deal with iran is our least worst option. the alternatives are so much worse that it is worth giving this a try and seeing if it works. no one can say with 100% confidence this will work and turn out as we expect, especially since this is a deal with 10 or 15 years horizon.
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trying to predict what will happen in one year is hard, but in 10 or 15 years -- is a region that is ripe with instability. every country in the region seems to be imploding in civil war or conflict. iran seems to be the one country that is fairly stable, with the rouhani government elected in 2013, which is somewhat seems to want to reintegrate into the international system and world economy. it seems it would be foolish to rip that up and add more fuel to the fire in the region. of course, that doesn't mean that you fully yourself -- that yourself in the intentions of iran or the intentions of the iranian government, domestically or globally, but it is the least worst option and worth trying.
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question? the iranians and iraqis were at war for eight or 10 years. iranians are the helping the iraqis. how did they go from such to the coalition between the two? mr. alvandi: that animosity waseen iran and iraq between two regimes. at the popular level, there was never any real animosity the between iranians and iraqis. theourse, what happened was 2003 war in iraq. the overflow of saddam's government allowed a shia government to come to power in iraq. many of the people in the government had long-standing relationships with iran.
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the relationship between the two countries improved dramatically because of that. since then, it has been a mixed picture. some of the things iran has done in iraq have an very distraught to. some of the things have been very constructive at times. that is the nature of foreign policy. the back and forth of it. question isbigger whether it is realistic to imagine a world in which iran -- no influence influence in iraq, where they had 100 years of influence and common cultural links. that is not a realistic strategy. actually, as far as the united states are concerned, iran and
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the united states have common interests in fighting prices and maintaining stability. the question is if iran will encourage a direction in iraq that is inclusive of the sunnis or if it will be a winner take all strategy. that remains to be seen. mr. movroydis: we have time for one more question. before that, i want to let everybody know that roham will be in the front lobby, signing copies of his books that are for sale. last question. >> i want to ask the question that the german in the back -- that the gentleman in the back asked about the current iran deal. i was 20 when the iranian revolution came about. by the way, be happy about all of the rain in london. over here it is a problem that we do not have it.
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he seemed, it is all to be there is an underlying thread of wanting to get back and work with iran. whether it is the reagan administration, arming them, or today's deal. what is it about as wanting to take another run at iraq to see what we can do to make friends under this freight going on. death to america -- what is it about that? it is a fundamental reality that iran is a very economically,try politically, historically, and culturally. it is not a country that can be ignored. , since the hostage crisis, understandably has been to contain iran and isolate iran. consequences.has it hasn't worked very well.
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in a way it creates more problems than it solves. every administration, over time, flirts with the idea, with maybe we can engage with them, talk with them, maybe it is possible to have some kind of deal. we became close during the clinton administration. there is a meaningful detente between the government that was in iran, a reformist government, and the clinton administration. any attempt at detente and a change in the status quo will upset vested interests. there are many other countries, domestic players, in both the united states and iran that benefit from the status quo and will fight to the nail to prevent it from happening. with the current engagement effort, to be honest, i am
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amazed it has gotten this far. wheree are at the point the u.s. secretary of state and iranian foreign minister regularly talk to each other, and where american diplomats and iranians negotiate and come to agreements. y of is very extraordinar 30-something years of never talking to each other. in the long-run there has to be a relationship tween the united states and iran. they are 2 important countries with significant interests in an important region. when that happens, when the conditions will be right for that to happen, i do not think anyone can for tell with confidence. m.. movroydis: thank you, roha thank you. [applause]
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mr. movroydis: in the front lobby you can ask further questions. the books are for sale, pick one up. [applause] ♪ [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] stay in the wings and do not come out in the front often. .his is unusual for me i want to thank you for your friendship, boyle said word, and planning this wonderful evening for me. i will remember it always. and thanks to the young people for all this.
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>> she traveled more widely than any first lady before her. she was a chief supporter to her husband, richard nixon, and a behind-the-scenes lyrical advisor. nixon on "first ladies: influence and image." looking at the women who fulfilled the role of first lady, from martha washington to michelle obama on american history tv on c-span 3. monday, on the communicators, the republican representative from tennessee, the vice chair of the energy and commerce database talks about and cyber security administration. she is joined by the technology reporter for "the washington journal." >> they have come to realize it
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