tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN April 1, 2015 6:00pm-8:01pm EDT
, but they do not know what we are all about. that undermines the trust that is reinforced by domestic medical dysfunction that was just talked about. richard: under george schultz one of the great secretaries of state. anyway, my point is, i think the situation calls -- not probably in this room, we have people who devoted their lives to security. and foreign policy, but as a country, look at the people coming up as potential presidents for the next cycle. almost none have foreign-policy experience. in a world in chaos, or as henry kissinger put it, a period of disorder, or a world awash in change, i think we have some serious self reflection.
dov zakheim: i don't know if david will agree, i think a point to david made previously goes to the heart of your concern. our foreign-policy is being run by a small group of people in the white house, most of whom have minimal foreign-policy experience. which is remarkable, because they've been doing it for six years, but it is if it has been six days. i think that regardless of who is elected, the real issue is, does the white house run foreign policy, or do we leave it to the professionals. people like your self and others who serve in treasury, state defense, commerce. we have a lot of international agencies, and young people are more interconnected with the world than any other generation. there is no inherent reason why we should be operating the way
we are today. the key is, do we rely on her -- our executive agencies to do what the law tells them to do, to the extent that a new administration, regardless of party will default back to , executive agencies, i think you'll see a very different american image around the world. and a lot more credibility. david: i had written two books now that have made the case. the white house apparatus is too big, the agencies have been allowed to atrophy, the role has become too centralized. it makes it impossible to do the job the agencies need to do. it also makes it impossible for the white house to do the strategic planning and implementation for all of it. that needs to be fixed and there are a variety of ways to do that, including cutting down the
size of the nsc from 400 to 200. back what it was at the beginning of this administration. henry kissinger nsc had 30. we are over 10 times that. but you guys were special. [laughter] having said that, that is not the full answer. there are two other issues. one is foreign-policy is made in the executive branch primarily by the president of the united states, at the behest of the president. there is no area in which the old maxim of a single man or woman is true. five out of six of the last presidents have had no foreign experience.
coming into office. the american people continue to live under the delusion that foreign-policy is something you could pick up. that it is secondary importance. if that has ever been demonstrated not to be the case, certainly the past few years have driven that message home, or should have. you have to elect people who understand this, who understand how the agencies work, who understand the issues, who are not going to do on the job training, and are effective leaders. people who are effective of managing big organizations. the united states government is the largest, most complicated organization on earth. the skill set least valued is management skill. this is the one city in the world where people tend to believe if you can articulate, that is the same as being able to get something done. that is not true. we need leaders who are also managers who have clear ideas,
and they have to be able to go and do the retail politics of foreign-policy as well as they do the global diplomacy and statesmanship. they have to go to the hill. they can't be aloof. they can't have teams that are aloof. they cannot maintain campaign mode. they have to engage. and they have to have willing partners. it is not a small thing. the congress of the united states is obstructionist. many of the people in congress do not have passports. they do not engage in these issues. they think penalizing be president on foreign-policy, when it weakens us, it happens. they do not believe in the principles of collaboration and
compromise that are essential to functioning democracy. that has to be fixed as well. you cannot fix it all at once. the place you can start to fix it is in the presidential election. you have to pick the right woman or man to be president in order to be able to begin this process of change. dov zakheim: if you want someone who is a manager, and my last in -- incarnation in the government, i was on management side. i saw the price we pay for people who did not know how to manage being in management positions. but, the managers out there are not senators, they are ceos. ceos who are in politics are called governors. sometimes you will get a senator who knows nothing about foreign-policy and is still pretty good. harry truman. you can have a governor who is pretty good, ronald reagan or bill clinton. it is a function of the individual.
if the individual can listen has a good staff, recognizes his or her shortcomings, you will be fine. if the individual has a management background, you will be better. if the individual is convinced hey, i am president and you are not. therefore i know it all and you do not. it does not matter what their background is. david: by the way, running a large agency like the u.s. state department counts. jacob: i figured that was coming. [laughter] two more questions. one for mike from cbs news hour. then go to wayne. mike: politics was in the title of this talk. first of all, an election campaign is usually not the best place to articulate complicated issues. you gentlemen have advised presidential campaign candidates. on the democratic side, and it
seems like the candidate is going to have to distance themselves from the current administration without repudiating it. on the republican side, how to run a effective critique without turning it into a rancid criticism, which is not just rancid, but may be couterproductive. david: i believe that it is highly likely, regardless who the democratic or republican candidate is in 2016, they will both in some degree run against the foreign-policy records of the last two presidents. both will seek to identify themselves as something different. as far as democratic candidates, i think they will be able to split the difference that you described their because they will be able to embrace the lot
of the president's domestic policies. they will be a list saying there was recoveries, progress made in climate. they will be able to say that there was a variety of gains made. they can embrace that wholeheartedly. i think foreign-policy, they may talk about some of the progress that gets made in climate. they may talk about the progress that might be made. there may be some victories to look at. they will make a mistake if they get too bogged down in the details of defending the obama and ministration foreign-policy. -- administrations foreign-policy. instead of focusing on the future, i believe that what the american people will look for is someone who will say, i have a different vision as to where we are going to go. i can provide a different character leadership.
i can demonstrate that i can deliver that character of leadership, and i can give you a few key ideas of how i will restore america to the traditional leadership role expected of the country both here and overseas. my final point, i think whoever is elected, will see as one of their central jobs, restoring america's leadership role in the world. in that respect you will see a lot of similarity in some of the rhetoric that is going to come out of both the democratic and republican candidates. dov zakheim: the obama administration is going to be a target rich environment both on domestic policy and foreign policy. i agree that will not be enough, there will have to be a positive vision. i think it will be harder for the democratic candidate to fight the bush election again,
because it will be 8, 9, 10, 14 years before. and so, it will be difficult. mr. obama has been fighting mr. bush from day one. the reaction gets more and more negative with the passage of time. i think the sense in the country that things are going wrong overseas means that unlike in the 2012 election when generally, mr. romney to not -- did not focus much on foreign-policy, here you will see national security as a major issue. probably as major as the 1980 election. who knows what will happen in the next 18 months, but i do not think it will be good. that will be a major issue. the question will be what do we do. either candidate, republican or
democrat will have to come up with a viable answer. i don't think claiming credit for climate change as a security issue, which by the way is a major element of the current national security strategy. climate change and the environment. those sorts of things. that will resonate with the american people when you see what is going on in the middle east and elsewhere. it just won't wash. i hope a democrat will oka's on -- focus on that. jacob: the next question is from wayne mary. the american foreign-policy council. wayne: i am struck with the panel discussion on iran and american politics that there has been no mention of a collective letter from the u.s. senators to the iranian government, and only a passing reference to the congressional invitation of the israeli prime minister to come and talk about iran.
the focus of your criticism has only been on exclusively on one end of pennsylvania avenue which i would be happy to join. if you are talking about alliances, i have rarely seen in my professional life, a set of actions by the congress which have attracted such overt public criticism from senior figures of our allies. i wonder if you would talk a little bit about a positive contribution, a role that you could approve of from the other end of pennsylvania avenue. dov zakheim: i thought i was pretty critical of mr. netanyahu. i have been critical in writing, i thought i was critical now. i'm certainly not a favorite over there. i think congress made a mistake. he could have retreated by the way. senators feinstein and durban had offered to speak separately to the democrats. he could have turned around and said i will do that.
he could have given separate speeches. he has offered no olive branch. which is not only way to make friends and influence people. on the letter, i think it is a reflection of frustration. massive and frustration. he goes to the point of david -- that david made. this president has no relationship with the hill on any issue. he is not a favorite of the democrats either. those who knew him when he was on the hill, knew him as a loner who did not ever become part of the club. if you know the hill, and i know you do, if people like you, you can get away with a lot. people do not like you, they will fall to for everything. -- fault you for everything. the classic example of that is ronald reagan and tip o'neill. reagan and o'neill clearly did not see the world the same way.
but they played golf together, they related, and when things had to get done, they somehow work it out. this president does not know how to do that. maybe he doesn't want to do that. i don't know. you have a degree of frustration. obviously the democrats will be more restrained than republicans. this letter was like a gut that had burst. perhaps a different way to handle congress, stroking people, being nice to people giving them the time of day could have resulted in something else. could have resulted in the president calling in cotton and maybe some others and saying, look, this is not the right way to go. if you had a relationship, he could've done that. david: you'll forgive me, but i think i was explicit. i said they were obstructionist, i said they were blocking
things. i said they were part of the problem. they are part of the problem. very few things illustrate this as clearly as the cotton letter. dov is rationalizing it. i don't think it is rationalizingable. i think the letter was ill considered and unconstructive. the kind of thing that ought to be repudiated by both sides. it wasn't. it was embraced by virtually all with a couple of exceptions. of republicans in the senate. in that respect i think it is a symptom of a disease that needs to be cured. the way to cure it is not lehman -- blame it on the president of the united states. who is leading on the republican side looking for solutions?
who is leading on the republican side, being constructive? i mean genuinely, not offering of fake solutions. who is taking the initiative on the hill to do that. most of the leadership has expressed one way or another they see their job as to stop the president. to abstract, to undermine. certainly the netanyahu invitation was another grotesque example of the abuse of the traditional role. i couldn't agree more with the sentiment of the question. much has to be done on capitol hill. one hopes in the 2016 cycle, what you will get from some republican presidential candidates, is a return to the traditional values that leaders in both parties have had particularly when it comes to foreign policy. about placing national interest first, and placing politics on the back burner.
whenever possible and wherever necessary. >> i agree the letter is hardly cause for celebration. don't you think, that when you have the president of the united states, and the bipartisan environment in washington, and consistently ignore the republicans. and if you look at the whole variety of issues, medical reform, immigration reform, the way he dealt with negotiations with the russians, the ignoring
of the new republican majority of congress. or at least people who are just elected. he took a position dealing with congress that everything that is not outright illegal is fair game. don't you think under the circumstances, the republicans are not just entitled to frustration, but they should not continue. if you will be an -- ignoring an important and equal ranch of the government, the branch will not be differential toward you, what is wrong with this approach? zakheim: i think it is grotesquely unconstructive. david: i think it is grotesquely unconstructive. we have reduced our self to be schoolyard, somehow saying two wrongs make a right. is obama good at embracing
congress? no. is the good at embracing other democrats -- no. is he good at embracing the rest of his administration, no. is he isolated. is he combative, yes. i think he is doing all of those things. you are conflating a bunch of things. health care reform, there was a big battle, people voted, he got his way. that was not forcing it down their throats. that was the legislative process working. there were other cases where he achieved victories. that is the legislative process working. he used legislative authority. republican presidents use executive authority. there is always a cry from the other side saying, oh my gosh, imperial presidency. no matter what they do. but they doing. because that is how washington works. just as obama has done wrong in terms of not reaching out, mitch mcconnell said my job is to stop obama. he did not say, my job is to
make america stronger. he did not say my job is to help the american people through more trade. he took the opposite side. he certainly has not been terribly constructive. some of the party has been worse. the tea party has talked about idiocy like impeachment. we all have to get a grip. the republicans have done a lousy job. the bush administration screwed up a lot of foreign policy. the obama administration has screwed up a lot of foreign-policy. we can either point fingers for the next 10 years and it can get worse, or we can try to reach out across the aisle, find areas of agreement, acknowledged its -- that dysfunction is not the way to go, and it actually begins us. i will tell you, i have said this before, dysfunction in washington is a much greater threat to american national
security than isis and every terrorist threat. unless we treat it that way, we will not be able to do the things that make the country strong trade whether it is producing defense budgets or producing coherent foreign-policy. >> that was a strong statement. zakheim: talk is talk, but i think it is a fair point that the first thing mitch mcconnell said as he is not going to close down the government. he said that in the face of a lot of people who want to do that. i saw no reciprocation from the white house, none. at the end of the day, look who made the offer to play golf. it was not to o'neill. these things have to come from the president. it is just the way it works. it is exactly the same part of
the system, you are talking about david, you are not seeing that. it doesn't help matters at all. did the republicans do many things that are egregious? absolutely. the real question is, who is supposed to to start this process? i do not see that happening. you could argue that mcconnell try to do that, and got nowhere. i don't see that happening until the next president comes around. i do very much hope that whoever the next president is, will recognize that you need to work with congress, rather than work against them. jacob: i'm going to take the last question the codes we may not in the late the council on foreign relations in many ways here. but i like that they end on time. we are going to end on time. my question to both of our
distinguished speakers is -- i will pull away from domestic strife, and assume all the way -- zoom all the way back to the middle east and asked -- we can talk about netanyahu and obama engaging, and that seems like a rather abstract tool right now. negotiation with palestinian is not on the table regardless. precisely because the situation is so inflamed. let's put aside these arms talks. let's talk about right now and get back to be first question, how close are we to an august 1914 moment in the middle east. that is why i'm saying forget , the iran deal, whether they sign it or not, this region is in upheaval. we have the saudi's mapping a hundred 50,000 troops -- amassing a hundred 50,000
troops. how close are we to the big countries, like saudi arabia, we know that these wars get triggered by proxy wars. you can get dragged into your proxy, how close are we really. what would trigger a wider, war of complete a people in the -- of people in the middle east yet? david? david: first of all, i don't know how i could get wider. egypt, israel, syria, iraq by extension lebanon, jordan all of the gulf states, iran and afghanistan are all involved in conflict right now. the turks have some role to play in all of that too. it is as white as it can get. -- wide as it can get. can it get worse and deeper? sure. libya is going to get worse. libya is going to become likely yemen as.
the egyptians will lead a fourth akin to this fourth, -- force into libya. , the reason egyptians signed up for this force was to get the license. that is going to make work. i think those countries are coming to the conclusion that the united states and its reluctance to put any boots on the ground is going to leave it up to them to put things up. we can breathe a sigh of relief and say, oh that is great. except we lose influence. also they may not approach this in terms of restraint in a way we think it ought to be approached. or in terms of implementing solutions. in ways we think is in the regions interests and that will promote long-term stability. i think we need to be careful into falling into the temptation
of saying, let them handle it. we do have interests that are too deep into the region. is it 1914? no, it's 2015. in other words, it will not become world war i. it is not going to become something else. could it last for 10 years? could it decimate the region? could it play havoc with world energy? could it have influence where it didn't have influence before? could it suck up resources so these places can never find jobs for these young men and women , that they will never be able to build their economies back up and produce a half-century from -- of unrest? could it spread to africa with boko haram signing up with isis? could it spread to other parts of the world including, for
example, pakistan with hundreds of nuclear warheads? yes, it could. first of all, we ought to comfort ourselves that we're in a comfortable position. we're not in a conferable situation. this situation is likely to deteriorate before it gets better. we need to have a long-term strategy. i have to tell you, this hasn't come up at any point in the discussion. there is no strategy where the united states does not have or maintain influence, where it does not have boots on the ground in system of these situations. the reason that iran has gained in iraq is precisely because they do and we don't. i'm not saying that that means another 200,000 troops. i'm saying advisors and special forces and the kind of things that send a message to others that you're serious. and you look at what we call or foilition in iraq and syria and
you've got a lot of countries effectively committing library brigades -- they're not doing anything serious because they don't think we're doing enough that's serious. leadership requires actually getting other people to follow and it requires an example and we're a long way from that. so i -- i don't worry about a world war. but i do worry about a protracted period of time that could destabilize a big chunk of the world and negatively impact u.s. interest and allied interest for decades. dov: my bottom line up front is pretty much the same. i don't think we can hope to have any influence unless we have some boots on the ground. i think that the president's reluctance manifest reluctance to keep troops in afghanistan. , now he's staying up to 2015 thank god for that for the end of this year, is simply not the
way to go. i think the best example is if you look at the timelines in iraq. mr. maliki becomes a real dictator after december 2010 when we pull out. it's arguable that had he not behaved the way he had, the sunnis would not be behaving the way they are. and so having that presence there and it's not a massive presence. i totally agree is very important. we're not in 1914. we're in probably 1912 to 1913, the balkan wars these kind of , wars that preceeded the big one. or you might say it's the spanish civil war where you have a proxy war between nazis and stallen. -- stalin. and it's not going to be a world war, but it will be a middle east wide war. and it will be like the 30 year's war. the 30 years war was a religious war. and however you want to dismiss it, it is between sunnis and
shiah. it's complicated by the fact that the iranians aren't shiah. they're persian who is look down on arabs and always have. so it's an ethnic thing and it's a religious thing and those things just don't go away quickly. so the real issue becomes how do you keep a lid on this? and you cannot keep a lid on it, a, if you simply are only thinking about withdrawing and b, if you set redlines not for anybody else but for yourself by saying, hey i'm not going to send any boots on the ground that is so unbelievably self-defeating. and what is amazing is that we're slowly being sucked in anyway. now we're providing support over tikrit. what happens when one of our pilots is shot down if god forbid that happens. then what? i'm hearing this middle east sucking sound all over. i mean, it's a briar patch.
[captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> the state department announced that secretary of state john kerry is staying in switzerland to continue negotiations with iran over the nuclear program. here on c-span we take you live to the world affairs council in washington dc, for a discussion on those negotiations. we will hear from a former deputy assistant stereo -- secretary of state for a run and the head of the national iranian american council. we will break away from this discussion at about 7:00 p.m. eastern time when senator robert menendez of new jersey, indicted on corruption charges, each with reporters after his remarks. then we will come back to the world affairs council for the discussion on iran. the event getting ready to start
momentarily. live coverage on c-span. again, live pictures from the world affairs council in washington dc waiting for a discussion to get going on the iranian negotiations over that country's nuclear program. we will hear from former deputy assistant secretary of state for iran, as well as the head of the national iranian american council. as we mentioned, at 7:00 eastern
time, senator robert menendez will be holding a briefing on his indictment today by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy to commit bribery and wire fraud. we will bring that to you live. we will interrupt this event to bring you that with senator menendez life and then bring you back here to the world of vessels -- council. prosecutors say he used his senate office to assist the business interests of a friend and donor in exchange for against. -- for gifts. also indicted was a florida ophthalmologist accused of bribing senator menendez.
welcome to the world affairs council foreign policy panel. we are delighted to have you here. excuse me, stephanie? it's not on. is there anything else i can use . thank you for pointing that out. thank you. good evening ladies and gentlemen. welcome to the world affairs council foreign policy panel. we are delighted you are here this evening. for a timely discussion on the
status of the koran and internet -- iran and international negotiations on the nuclear issues that face not only run but our world. i'm delighted tonight we are joined by the chairperson of the world affairs council of d.c., edie fraser, and the first female and 35 years to be chairperson of the world affairs council ordered direction -- directors. also please we have a number of board members and supporters here tonight. as well as distinguished panel. an opportunity earlier tonight to talk with ambassador lindbe rt. you have read the biographies i hope. i will not repeat verbatim what is on those biographies. what i would like to say is that the ambassador has received the highest award of valor that the
u.s. department of state can give. he was one of the brave americans who had come in his own words, an extended stay in iran when the ayatollah came in to change the management of the hotel to run. welcome to ambassador limbert someone who has distinguished place that he has earned throughout the world. [applause] our second guest is pinchhitting. he just arrived back from switzerland. not intend to be here tonight but he is the policy director for the national iranian american council. we are delighted that his voice
is part of this dialogue tonight. jamal, i shared with you that although i am an irishman, i have been to a run three times. -- iran three times. i was very proud when i went to the british embassy inside very light -- large sign that said welcome. embassy of the united kingdom and northern ireland. on the other side, there was an equally large brass plate that said bobby sands avenue. for those of you who know irish history, it was the iranian way of communicating a message to the british. although they may have owned the street. our next guest, the moderator is an extremely well-known washingtonian.
also a proud member of the national press club, the world's leading professional organization for journalists and a strategic partner of our world affairs council in easy. barbara, i heard you on national public radio, and throughout the day on multiple radio and tv programs. you are -- your depth of knowledge with regard to the nation and the region we are talking about tonight is superb. we are fortunate to have you as our moderator tonight. ladies and gentlemen, with that, i will turn it over to our moderator of the evening. barbara slavin. don't be shy when it comes to question time. the world affairs council is the leading institution dedicated to
global education, international affairs, and global communications. it is a place for learning to have been. i know with this panel and moderator tonight, we will learn a lot. we have a rare opportunity while the iron is hot, to get answers to some of the questions that i think all of the world is interested in with respect to the impact of the outcome of the negotiations in switzerland. barbara? [applause] barbara slavin: thank you very much and thank you for the gracious introduction. it is a pleasure to be back. we had a wonderful session with ytita and john a year and a half ago. one other members reached an interim agreement that put verifiable curbs on arrived --
on iran's nuclear program while they try to negotiate a comprehensive long-term agreement. doesn't you have been following the news know that it is not easy going. we are now into a full week in this latest round of talks in switzerland. there were hopes that perhaps the negotiators would meet eight march 31 deadline for a political framework or understanding that would govern taught until the real deadline june 30 of this year. negotiators are still hard at work in switzerland into the night. if you are on twitter or social media, you will see very many grumpy comments by my colleagues in the press corps, sitting around waiting. we are all waiting to find out whether they will succeed in coming up with a political framework. i will sketch very briefly where we are and then turned to our
eminence panelists. i think progress has clearly been made. they would not be still talking if they had not made progress. most of the concepts, the contours of the deal, have already been agreed to. but the devil is in the details, as they say. for a run, -- for iran, the key issue is sanctions. particularly, united nations sanctions. there are six resolutions, four of them have sanctions. these laid the basis for all of the economic penalties that were put on iran on its nuclear programs. also signify that iran is a prior in the eyes of the international community, which makes the iranians nervous. they are insisting rapid removal of u.s. penalties in return for accepting long-term restrictions
on their nuclear program. my understanding is that what is at stake now is at least a 15 year agreement, that would prevent iran from developing nuclear weapons through a variety of pathways. some aspects of the deal with -- with expire before 15 years, but money -- many would continue through 15 years. after that they would remain a member of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. they are obliged not to develop nuclear weapons. the issue of sanctions release is key. on other issues, they have made a lot of progress. we will talk about some of those with our speakers and in q and a. they are ryan's have agreed to remove centrifuges that they have -- the iranians have agreed to remove centrifuges that they had installed. they had agreed to limit the stockpile of low enriched uranium they hold onto whether
they would send it out of the country or somehow diluted into a different form. that is something still being discussed. they had agreed to modify a heavy water reactor under construction at a place called arak, which could produce plutonium. they have agreed not to do uranium at fordham -- fordo, and underground program. they are trying to give confidence that iran is not trying to sneak out or find a covert halfway to a bomb. overall this is a good package. we are in the endgame now. the final deadline is june 30 here it the iranians have not wanted to have a two-stage process.
they want to have one agreement which will be announced at one time. it is an analogy to the iran iraq war in the 90's. the leader of the revolution said he would accept a cease-fire that left hussein in place, but he compared it to drinking poison. the current supreme leader of iran wants to drink the poison in one go. we also have a fight in what kind of statement will come out at this round of talks, how specific will it be. the united states wants a more specific statement because they don't have to just worry about the other negotiating partners, they have to worry about the u.s. congress, which is reading heavily down president obama's neck. this has kept these individuals in switzerland for two or three nights in a row staying up all night.
we will see if it takes another day. i am going to start by asking john to talk about the calculations of the iranians to some extent, and also what he thinks congress is going to demand from the administration in order to stave off new legislation that could make it more complicated for the white house to negotiate a comprehensive agreement. deputy limbert: thank you barbara. thank you tony for that generous and gracious introduction. i have one question. when you were on avenue bobby sands, did you go to the bobby sands snack bar? located right around the corner from the british embassy. there is a certain irony in the name. barbara slavin: he died on a
hunger strike, i believe. deputy limbert: very good. i will speak briefly and then -- i know we have a lot of time for questions. there are always very good questions. put two questions up front. where are we and where are we going? where are we right now? double overtime right now. where are we going? that is the hard question. the iranian friends like to say there are only two possibilities. either we get to a deal, or we don't get to a deal. there are only really two outcomes. i think what we need to do tonight is take a breath, step back a little bit from talks about breakout triggers, snap
back, you and resolutions, centrifuges, subterfuges, all of that. look at something a little bigger. one question i would put out here is, why has this been so hard? why is this so difficult? it has been 18 months since the first agreement. well, one reason is, for better or worse, the two sides decided they were going to take on what is one of the hardest issues between us and the iranians. what makes it so hard? it is not the technical part. secretary moniz and mr. saleh could probably talk m.i.t. to each other and region agreement that i would not understand a word of.
but they could reach an agreement. if the issues were technical. but they are not technical. what we had instead are asymmetrical negotiations, in which the two sides are simply talking about different rings. -- things. the u.s. side talks about obligations and treaties and legal issues. the iranians are talking about justice, our rights, and national dignity. and the result has been frustration. each site in a situation like that, says we are not being listened to. i'm a historian by training. i can't resist talking about history. there is a history on this. this kind of mutual deftness --
deafness, 60 years ago think negotiations between the british and iranians over the status of the oil industry. the iranian side argued its rights to national dignity. they said, it is our oil and we have the right to control it. the other side argued contract and legalisms. as one british observer said, really, it seemed hardly fair the dignified and correct western statement sent -- statement should should be defeated by the antics of incomprehensible orientals. [laughter] that is where they were. that is how the sides saw each other. the result, as we know is the disgraceful history of august
1953. the cia and british sponsored coup that overthrew the government. which few americans know about and every iranian. it still casts a shadow over the meetings in luzon. like it or not, that shadow is there. i fear this sad history is repeating itself. as i tell my students, those who forget history are condemned to repeat sophomore year. [laughter] well, that is the bad news. let me end with good news. i know jamaal -- i want to hear what he has to say. the good news is, the u.s. and iran have come a very long way in the last two years. in a good way.
deal or no deal, we have finally realized that the last three decades of treating, accusations, insults, threats, and worse have accomplished nothing on either side. if all you can do is thump your chest after 30 years, the result is a sore chest. we are slowly and tentatively embarking on a better way. it is not the way of friendship. but it is the way of two states that neither like nor trust each other, and i emphasize that because we don't. but which have matters to talk about. when secretary kerry meets with foreign minister is a wreath -- zarif, they call the talks
positive and productive. this may sound ordinary to you but these words carried tremendous symbolic power. think about it. when was the last time any encounter between iran and the united states described as either positive or productive? you would have to go back over 36 years. before the islamic revolution. so tomorrow, the day after there will be a deal or there will not be a deal. two possibilities. but at least i will say this. our two countries have spotted a path out of that swamp of hostility, where we have been stuck for so long. the hard part of course, is
getting on that path and staying on it. thank you and i look forward to our discussion. barbara slavin: thank you john, that was well put. i would add in terms of these negotiations, and all that's always seemed that nuclear program as a method bargaining chip. this is their take it back into the international community. i think one of the reasons why these negotiations are so hard is that you can only play this card once. iran wants to make sure it gets the maximum in return and that it is not going to be cheated. one of the reasons why iran is worried about being cheated is because of the u.s. congress. they are deathly afraid they will agree to put these restrictions on the nuclear program, and then congress will impede a deal, will prevent the act, administration -- obama
administration from implementing video. if you could talk about the dynamics in congress and what you think john kerry and his negotiating team needs to come up with in luzon or even -- geneva, in order to stave off congressional opposition. jamal: thank you barbara. thank you to the world affairs council. barbara is one of the best analysts working on iran in decades. congress. the branch of government that we all can look towards for thoughtful and reasonable debate , who absolutely should be inserted into a negotiation that already includes seven countries, including the united states, russia, and iran -- and congress would definitely say a positive role if they injected themselves into this situation.
this is the argument that some in congress are trying to make. right now congress as an important role to bathe -- play. congress passed sanctions on iran. 2010, basically since obama came into office with the exception of his first year, congress has passed major sanctions every single year until recently when the interim agreement was struck. these are major sanctions. crippling sanctions, and that many in congress argue possibly over argue, are key to what brought iran to the table. there is much more nuanced debate that has to occur. what cannot be debated is that sanctions to provide a form of leverage in these talks. these sanctions have become what
the talks are about on our side. irani compromises on its nuclear program, we trade in method sanctions we piled on, and that is the deal. how do you convince congress to turn in the sanctions? if given a good deal, if given a deal that does what the sanctions were set out to accomplish, which was prevent iran from getting a nuclear weapon, it wasn't necessarily to address every single issue we have with iran. some sanctions tied to terrorism, some to human rights. these were supposed to be you -- nuclear sanctions. you would assume they would accept the argument what is wrong is at the table, we have to be prepared. that brings us to today. we are not even talking about
sanctions being lifted, at the outset of this deal. we are talking about getting the deal in which they are temporarily suspended temporarily suspended with waivers that congress built in, so the president can on a six-month basis wave the sanctions and you assume his successor does the same thing, and we repeat this, and eventually five-10 years down the line congress would take action. now we have letters coming out of congress, and legislation implying that is not going to happen. this inherently undermines any leverage the united states has. we are going to negotiations and saying you do the compromising on the nuclear side of things, and we will take care of congress.
it is not even going to be president obama, it is going to be his successor. this is a tough argument to make. it only exacerbates the lack of trust between the u.s. and iran. my sense is that from the beginning of these talks, it was almost taken for granted that congress was not going to let these sanctions -- there was going to have to be a way not just to deal with iran's hard-liners, which we know, part of their adages we can't deal with united states, and their political powers comes with the dispute with the united states, we have be mindful of the hard-liners in the united states who would never lift the sanctions. the deal being constructed takes that into account and attempts to ensure that if hard-liners in iran gain the upper hand, or if
congress tries to take action to kill this deal they will not be an interval part of this deal . the deal can survive even if congress screws things up. that is why it has been constructed the way it has. the deal would have time to demonstrate that it can work and the next president can convince congress to lift the sanctions. a lot is uncertain right now. there are still big issues. there are two key issues that are holding up the talks now. preventing the split up framework. the main one is you and sanctions. -- u.n. sanctions. instant of lifting sanctions there is talk about suspending the sanctions. iran has said since we are building that into the deal let's -- they want to lift the u.n. sanctions. the u.n. sanctions, they are far
more symbolic than practical. the practical effective sanctions have been the eu sanctions and the u.s. sanctions. lifting them is not necessarily going to provide iran with economic bill of its -- benefits. it is symbolic. he was a critic of the ahmadinejad government because when he was negotiating iran made concessions but they managed to keep the nuclear file out of the u.n. and prevent u.n. sanctions from being passed. if he can get a deal that lifts the u.n. sanctions that is a symbolic victory. we are in a position where we can get into it later, there is squabbling over how do we lifted the u.n. sanctions? we can't really do that with congress. congress is such a actor that is not willing to move at this time.
that is where we are. it is unfortunate because the united states could be asking for more if we could be credibly saying congress would do the president the honor of upholding an agreement the u.s. struck. we also know that regardless of what happens at the talks in the next couple of days congress employees to move forward with some form of legislation. congress will move forward with sanctions. new sanctions. sanctions that would violate the terms of the interim deal. would make it very difficult to use the remaining three months to cobble something together to salvage. if there is a deal, congress is going to move forward likely with legislation to try to shoehorn a congressional role into this process and give congress the veto over any deal.
just to close, the dynamics on capitol hill have changed. in recent weeks especially, the actions that the 47 senators who signed this letter to iran, and unprecedented moves saying to iran we are not going to honor what the united states negotiators get at the negotiating table, this combined with the controversial invitation to netanyahu that was viewed as a very partisan, politicized move, and without precedent, some of the other jockeying is creating a dynamic on capitol hill where this is no longer viewed as through the normal prism, where anything is pretty easy to pass sanctions. now this is being viewed as first of all, we have this deal
that has been working over the past 18 months. i think actually even more importantly this is viewed as another one of washington's political battles. republicans versus democrats. john boehner and mitch mcconnell against president obama. because of that, i think that it is likely that congress may pass legislation to insert themselves in this process, it is going to be difficult to ride -- override a presidential veto. in the near term, i think that the president will be able to continue to negotiate and stave off congressional action, and limit the damage this does to our negotiators at the table. in the long-term presents problems. eventually if we get this deal congress is going to be part of implementing it. if it falls into partisan politics it is hard to see a scenario will we get all of the
parties on board to implement it. barbara slavin: i'm going to open up to your questions now. i think you have to wait for a microphone. this is being filmed. who has the microphone? come to the stand. if you would lineup if you have questions say your name, and ask a question. >> good evening. i'm a teacher washington lee high school over in arlington. my students want to know, -- it is just for c-span. speak loudly. my questions, my students would ask this, what is in it for iran to negotiate this? especially with the brouhaha that congress has created especially those 47 senators. barbara slavin: if i could start
that, you can add what is in it for iran is that it gets relief from crippling sanctions which have collapsed the economy. it sees and easing of its pariah status. that is why iran is there. deputy limbert: i would agree substantially with the second. iran, we are talking self-image now. they do not enjoy being the polecat of the international community. does not enjoy being seen like north korea or libya back in the day. that is not the way it views itself. there is a political symbolic part of these -- of this that is very important. the economic part of it, it is arguable. i think the iranians themselves
have taken a view that the sanctions have hurt us economically, therefore we need to negotiate our way out of them . in a way that is easier than saying you know what has really hurt our economy, our own mismanagement. it is much easier to blame the outsider than it is to blame themselves. it sounds like you have a wonderful group of students. >> i do. deputy limbert: i am in the us. think of getting some of them to the naval academy. >> ok. we have one or two headed that way. >> good evening. i am from marymount university here with 20 students. i am just wondering if there is any effects of social media or information flow on this deal.
trita parsi: iran is one of the most plugged in societies in the middle east. iranians are among the first bloggers in the world. just a buildup of the last question iranians want to be connected. it is a society that is all about embracing neighbors, but social media sprang to the forefront of the iran debate in 2009 during the green movement. when i think, probably for the first time, it is debatable, you saw people on twitter using twitter as a form of organizing, but just getting the message out of what people were thinking and really getting around the censorship of the government and all these things.
what was interesting at the time was that we had sanctions in place that prevented u.s. companies and many foreign companies from actually enabling iranians to use their products. there was the famous incident in which there are questions among facebook and twitter, management folks, of they could use those services. iranians were using phones that were actually bought off the black market. they were sold through normal channels because of sanctions. the obama administration responded to that. this is been one of the areas where they have taken action to make sure that those sanctions weren't having this major unintended effect of blocking social media. now, you just go on any social media site you can see how much
anticipation there is for this deal. you can cut through the rhetoric and see iranians are waiting with baited breath for this thing. 80 million people trying to figure out if we have a deal or not. i think the social media thing is -- >> we break away from this discussion to take you live to new work, new jersey and a statement by robert menendez. senator menendez. thank you. -- senator mend and menendez: for nearly three years, i have lived under a justice department cloud
. today i'm outraged that this cloud has not been lifted. i am outraged that prosecutors at the justice department were tricked into starting this investigation three years ago with false allegations by those who have a political motive to silence me. i will not be silenced. cheers and applause] senator menendez: i am confident at the end of the day i will be vindicated. they will be exposed. this is a press conference. i appreciate if you would -- [cheers and applause] senator menendez: i began my
career fighting corruption in city government. i totally complained about illegal financial dealings in my city until the fbi investigated in the u.s. attorney filed corruption charges against the mayor and others. i was called to testify for the prosecution. i received death threats. i wore a bulletproof vast for a month. that is how i began my career. this is not how my career is going to end. [cheers] senator menendez: i have always conducted myself in accordance with a law. i have always stood up for what i believe is right. i fight for issues i believe then, the people i represent and the safety and security of this country every single day. that is who i am, i am proud of what i have accomplished. i am not going anywhere.
[cheers] senator menendez: i am angry and ready to fight. today contradicts my public service career, and my entire life. i am angry because prosecutors at the justice department don't know the difference between friendship and corruption, and have chosen to twist my duties as a senator and my friendship into something that is improper. they are dead wrong and i am confident they will be proven so. i am gratified to live in a country where prosecutors' mistakes can be corrected by courts and juries, and i ask my friends, colleagues, and the community to hold their judgment and remember all the other times when prosecutors got it wrong. people of this great state elected me to serve and represent their interests in the united states senate and that is what i have, and will continue
[cheers and applause] quite senator bob menendez indicted on federal charges today. we return and continue our coverage of a discussion on iran and its negotiations over that countries program. barbara slavin: assuming that obama will pull their chestnuts out of the fire even though it will not acknowledge it. otherwise, i don't understand it. it doesn't help that iran has backed off of the things that it agreed to earlier, which is not good either. my detailed question is, has there been any discussion of renewing diplomatic relations between the u.s. and iran if
this does go through? barbara slavin: do you want to take a stab at the israeli question? trita parsi: i will preface your questions. as far as congress is concerned i don't think this is necessarily a strategic move by a lot of folks who are opposing this deal. i don't know there is a next step. there has been an avoidance or push back on the notion if we blow up the deal we go to war. nobody has provided an alternative. the alternative that has been provided is a better deal. the better deal is what they are trying to hammer out right now. trying to oppose that deal, i don't know what the strategy would the if it fell apart. barbara slavin: as we know, the relationship between netanyahu and barack obama has been poor for a long time. the israelis were very upset in
2013 to find out the united states and iran had been talking through a back channel which was facilitated by oman. they thought this was a betrayal. they were not brought into these talks. of course the administration did that because they were worried about leaks. with all due respect my colleagues in the israeli press there was a summit in shepherdstown, west virginia on syria where an israeli newspaper got a hold of the draft agreement and leaked of the whole thing and blew up those talks. there was no peace agreement between israel and syria. for whatever reason, the obama administration kept negotiations quiet. the israelis were upset about the interim agreement.
after he went into effect they didn't seem to mind quite so much. what they envisioned is to keep that interim agreement in effect forever and keep sanctions on forever with limited relief for iran. it is unrealistic. the only reason the sanctions have worked as because they are multilateral. the europeans are not going to indefinitely maintain the sanctions and stop buying iranian oil. it is a delaying tactic. maybe netanyahu thinks he can prevent an agreement until another president comes in. for now i just see it as a way of exerting pressure to try to get everyone to squeeze the last possible concession out of iran. if and when there is a deal, we may see a change because i don't think israel can afford to be
estranged strange from the united states forever. for now they are playing hardball. john, do you want to add anything? deputy limbert: i would go to the second question, not that i know of. there was talk of the end of the bush administration of sending american diplomatic personnel to a u.s. interest section in the swiss embassy into ron -- in tehran. they have been the representative american interest there. since 19 eight -- since 1980 when relations were formally broken, there are no personnel there. the case of cuba is a large intersection with a large staff of diplomatic personnel who are also under swiss flags.
with iran we are not there yet. we're getting there with the cuba case. it's an interesting one. obviously the rule is, no entity goes on forever. at some time things change. we establish relations with the soviet union less than 20 years after the bolshevik revolution. with china, it took us longer. but not much. 20 years before nixon went to china. the possibility -- it is one of those possibilities, particularly if something productive comes out of these talks, which both sides see as positive. then they can say there is something in this for us. that can lead on. i would make one prediction.
once we get to that point where we are talking seriously we are going to ask themselves what was the fuss about? why did we waste so much time bashing the other side? but we are not there yet. >> i am from the naval research lab. it appears we have a binary choice, can we be engaged with saudi arabia and iran productively? we see the saudi's becoming more and more anxious, particularly with the engagement in human, -- in yemen. looking for u.s. support and what they are doing from a sunni perspective. we are engaged in a conflict with iran on the one hand and try to negotiate with them on the other. can we actually have a productive relationship on both
sides of that? which side should we be on? >> my personal view is we can have a productive relationship with both and the more relationships we have, the more options it gives us. so do have to necessarily rely on traditional allies. we have new channels. this makes the saudi's uncomfortable. the saudi's see the region in sectarian terms. they go back to 2003 when the bush and administration got rid of saddam hussein and changed the balance in the region, and gave iran influence in iraq that it had not had in 300 years. i think it is possible. it is not easy. that is one of the reasons you see the seeming inconsistency in u.s. policy where the united states is providing intelligence help, at the same time it is providing intelligence help to
the iraqi government and the iranians, and directly to recapture to create and mozilla -- mosul in iraq. deputy limbert: i practiced it i was in the foreign service for 34 years. i guess i was what you call a diplomat. my wife would laugh. no, there isn't any. diplomacy is making imperfect deals with dubious partners. [laughter] people you don't like or trust. at one point, the saudi's notice they have never broken relations with iran. they are not friends but they have never broken relations.
when necessary they will talk. they have a lot things to talk about. the persian gulf, the oil market. and they will. and they do. the other point is that, the historical irony in yemen people tell you it is a sectarian thing. they may forget that back in the 60's, the saudi's were supporting that the shiite royalists against the nasirists there. it is not always in sectarian terms. there are larger interests at play. i would say, be leery of those
who try to boil it down to one issue. sectarian, aaron versus person -- arab versus persian there are a lot of things that make diplomacy interesting but difficult at the same time. barbara slavin: in yemen it is also an effort by the former president to return to power but to get revenge on the saudi to have tried four times to eliminate him and failed here. iran plays a role, but the yemeni military also is a bigger role. this is from richard armitage, former deputy secretary of state , with a very salty tongue -- keep that the policy is the art of getting the other guy to get your way. and the french, but i'm not sure
which. >> my name is jim. i wasn't physically present at the beginning because i've been sitting listening to c-span radio. in addition to the shout out for c-span covering it of the world affairs council deserves a major set out for such an extraordinarily timely and substantive panel discussion. they found three people who really know what they are talking about. as opposed, unfortunately to some of my former colleagues in the congress. [laughter] some of whom i don't know if they know the difference between shia and sunni. 35 years is a relative blip in
the history of american iranian relations. which has been extraordinarily positive. in fact, that is probably why surveys have shown show a residual positive attitude towards the united states higher than the surrounding nations towards america and americans. it really is somewhat ironic, given the fact that the congress is so hostile. of course, i think we all understand is very short term politically inspired position on the part of a number of them. my request would be to look into the future. understanding that every nation in the middle east, is in a
politically, possibly economically unsustainable position. a possible exception of oman or morocco. essentially, none of this can last. where do you think we might be 10 years from now? what is your best prognosis? if you want, you can just tell us where you think we should be. if can't last, where we are today. council president parsi: thank you congressman. congressman moran actually helped pass legislation to lift sanctions on communications technology for iranians. and has been a great friend. in 10 years. since we are talking about the nuclear deal, we are looking at a deal that is going to last 10-15 years. and then, while the inspections
and those will stay in place the restrictions will go away. the limitations. i think that this deal is really a challenge to start to redefine the relationship between the u.s. and iran. in order for this to actually stick and the fill the promise that many of us see in this diplomatic and ever, there does have to be a change in the relationship between the u.s. and iran. and there has to be an integration of interest between the countries. i would hope that, going to the conversation about the role of the saudi's and regional power, i would hope there is some effort after this deal, to start figuring out positive approaches to the region. how do we have the actors in the region actually cooperating with one another, so that every move is not i when you lose. but actually things countries can do together.
first, putting together the enormous ruptures in the area. whether it is syria our yemen or iraq. how do you get the parties to do -- the table to resolve these issues. there are also other areas for collaboration to be explored. but i really think that the -- it is on everyone to figure out how to figure this out over the next 10 years. kindly figure out to get to a different place than we are today, where we don't have to worry about the next diplomatic disaster and trying to put band-aids over the situation. >> let me thank you for your kind words and could work. -- barbara slavin: let me -- deputy limbert: let me thank you for your kind words and good work.
as ambassador to switzerland iran became a big part of his portfolio. he didn't and -- outstanding job and was very helpful to me when i was back in the state department. this prediction is tough. my record of prediction on iran is terrible. [laughter] when we got out of tehran in 1981 i thought, five or 10 years down the line, tempers with cool. -- would cool. we would at least be able to talk to each other. we would not be friends, but we would at least talk. i was wrong. barbara slavin: there was iran contra, let's not forget your. deputy limbert: if that is the
way we will do it, that is not really not -- that also connect to the naval academy by the way. but i won't get into that. we didn't do it. here is what i would say. one is there is a dynamic going on inside iran that has nothing to do with us. but that will affect the relationship. that is this growing distance between the state and society. the society is progressing, it is active and creative and savvy, it is well educated. particularly the women. if you look at things coming out of iran, and then the state what can i say? just the opposite. it is rigid, inflexible and afraid. it overreacts. i don't know how long that situation can last.
i don't think it can. is it going to change tomorrow? probably not. as much as i would like to see that and my iranian friends would like to see that but over 10 years, i don't think the situation is tenable. i think there is change going on. we ought to stay out of it, because when we start mucking around in iranian internal politics, we usually get it wrong. iran contra is a good example. but it will affect us. it will affect our relationships. i think that changes -- change is coming. when and how, i'm not sure. barbara slavin: if i could just add, congressman. one thing we can do is promote u.s. iran exchanges so we can get to know each other again
after all of these years. they're all already 10,000 iranian students in the united states, which is a steady increase over the last few years. it is not the 50,000 who came every year when the shot was -- shah was in power. what i hope americans can go to iran as tourists and students. it is a gorgeous country, a lot to see. a beautiful country and fabulous food. we had a little bit of this honeymoon with china and 80's, when people wanted to go and were fascinated by it. if we can get this nuclear deal, and things to stabilize, i think you will see a lot more this kind of interchange back and forth. that would be very healthy. >> thank you all. barbara slavin: thank you for your service. >> sam thompson, he's to work at stake.
you have been hinting at -- i used to work at stake. you have been hinting that it is not the substance of video doesn't matter as much. it is the fact that israel and saudi arabia don't want a closer u.s. iran relationship. and the deal is symbolic of that. they are afraid of -- they would be opposed to the deal, even if it virtually shut down the uranium -- irani and program. i would like to get your reaction to that. one question i have is, saudi arabia has said according to the news media, they want the same deal that iran gets out of this. and that makes no sense to me. iran is in such a different situation than saudi arabia, i don't understand what they are talking about. can you shed light on that?
barbara slavin: i think there is something to what you say, but the substance is important. the administration talks about the four pathways to a bomb. and a one-year break out making sure they could not develop enough to make a nuclear weapon. those are the goals of the administration. i think the substance is very important. that is why they are fighting like crazy and the talks are going on and on. >> but even if those issues were resolved-- 6 barbara slavin: the israelis with -- everyone said they are making a lot of the thought that netanyahu in his speech did not entirely demand the total dismantling of the iranian program. he suggested very tiny nuclear program could remain.
i think there is some room there. but i think way he said has something there. there is a fear that the united states and iran will start talking to each other and find out they have things in common. that makes the 70's and israeli -- the saudi and israelis nervous. i have heard their former intelligence chief say, at least three times, if iran gets to keep the cycle we wanted to -- want it too. i don't believe it. the iranians have had a nuclear program starting with what we gave them under eisenhower since the 1950's. they have hundreds of physicists and nuclear engineers and a complete infrastructure they have developed.
the saudi's have none of that. they could get civilian nuclear plants, but they simply don't have the technical expertise. it would make no sense for them to have a fuel cycle. they could easily buy low enriched uranium much more easily than construction on their own soil. i think it is a threat they drive because they are upset about talks. barbara slavin: where -- deputy limbert: where to start. what is the deal? a deal is mutual agreement where i give up something and you do the same. what many of the critics -- you can criticize this aspect or that aspect, but it is not what i would call constructive criticism. most of it. what they are talking about is
not a deal, but a surrender. basically you put so much pressure on the other side that that site agrees to everything you want. in negotiation school, they tell you that kind of arrangement does not last. because the side that feels it has been forced or compelled into a deal, will get out of it at the first opportunity. another part of the israel business is interesting. i had an israeli friend tell me five or six years ago. he said, first of all, netanyahu has a problem because ahmadinejad is gone. and he was thinking that cap on getting -- kept on giving. [laughter]
as long as he said these outrageous things, then this just decide -- justified. it's too, if he is threatening to wipe the out, i would take it seriously. that my friend said, all of the talk about iran and presenting them as this great threat, the target of this is not iran. at the end of the day the israeli prime minister doesn't care much about iran. the real target is not iran. that gets you -- get to -- guess who? barack obama. our far right has allied with your far right and is using iran
as a weapon against the president. my first reaction was, that is too conspiratorial. that is before i started watching the activities of sheldon angels. now i'm not show sure -- so sure. ask me who the real target is, who are they getting at? it is an intriguing idea. i think maybe my friend was on to some. thing. council president parsi: i apologize for not being clear. i think it is very clear that netanyahu does not oppose a bad deal, he opposes any deal. the fact that he came to congress and dangled something that was just outside of reality was a convenient way to present something other than the truth. he does not want this deal.
he does not want any deal because this nuclear issue is an obstacle that has prevented other conversations from happening. it has become a symbol of disagreement be between the united states and iran. the substance batters -- matters, but the deal that has been outlined accomplishes what it set out to. there is no foreseeable scenario under which iran has massive inspections. every move is being watched for the iea all things are in place, and iran decides to irrationally break out and build weapons. it is not rational, it is not the iranian government way of operating. it just would not work. now that this is being solved, a lot of people and a lot of the interest who have benefited from the standoff and sanctions
policies that has managed to constrain and contain iran, has handicapped the balance of power against iran, now they are saying hold on. all of these other things we have problems with and we don't want to see this excuse for having no contact between the countries actually start to be lifted. then you start talking about status quo issues inside the region that some of these countries don't want to deal with. internal issues that may need to be dealt with and may have had maneuverability with the united states. those have to be addressed. a fear of change, clinging to the status quo. it might be painful at first but getting this deal in the long one -- ryan will be better for everyone in the region.
>> supposed karen develops a nuclear weapon. what are they going to do with it? is there any reason to think they would use it? if they did, the international retaliation would presumably lead to the end of the place completely. it would be destroyed by an international retaliatory act. isn't the purpose of it to prevent an invasion by the u.s. or israel? people in this country have been calling for an invasion of iran for years. barbara slavin: i will start. i think there are a lot of motivations for the nuclear program. it started under the eisenhower administration. and with early well-developed under the shah. that is when the head of the atomic organization went to
m.i.t.. and many other scientists. it had that beginning. after the resolution, that's revolution, the ayatollah stopped it. and it started up again because saddam hussein used chemical weapons against iran during the war. there was a tremendous fear he was developing nuclear weapons as well. and iran had to have nuclear capability to deter a nuclear attack on the country. i would mention that the precursor to some of those chemical weapons came from the united states, by the way. which is another thing that the iranians hold against us. they never -- retaliated with chemical weapons but they did start -- restart the nuclear program. they got help pakistan, the russians.
slowly they began to develop this indigenous capability. i think the main rationale was deter and prevent others from attacking. then it got caught up in national pride, and all of the some money. the opportunity cost of lost money, from sanctions of lost oil revenues -- $200 billion that iran has estimated have sunk into this. to give it all up is impossible. it would be such a lots of faith -- loss of face. it would make them look like idiots. there is the other aspect that iran does not trust the rest of the world to provide them with fuel for the rest of their facilities. after the revolution they had a stake in a company, and never got any uranium out of it.
they were cut off because of the revolution. there is a desire to have independence, and independent ability to produce their own fuel. finally, it is a bargaining chip. the biggest one-day have. he will play this card very carefully because they don't have anything better to trade or the concessions they want from the international community. deputy limbert: it's ironic that after the revolution they stopped the program. they executed one of the senior officials responsible for it. one of his crimes was to have misspent national treasure on this wasteful program. so there you are. it is interesting, if you go -- this town is iran obsessed.
[laughter] i can't tell you i'm sure you know this because you are here. but you could spend your whole life going to events around town and in the left, right, and center -- all the way from the foundation to the defense of democracy, rankings -- brookings institution, all these places. inevitably someone will get up and they, we know that iran is working to get a bomb and they are x number of months away from having highly enriched uranium. and then someone else will get up and say, how do you know that? usually the answers are in two categories. we know this because they are bad people.
and they say they don't want it and they lie a lot of the must want to. i'm not making this up. this is what you hear. the other, because if we were in that position than that is what we would do. we know the problem with that kind of reasoning. for me it comes down to this here. if you listen to what the leaders of the islamic republic say about what is the threat to their staying in power -- because that is what they want at the end of the day. they don't want to have to lose their palaces and nice cars and ends up in exile or prison. they don't want that. a want to stay in power. the threat that they see and talk about most is not a u.s.
invasion, it is not an israeli this or arab that, it is internal. it is the internal sedition. that is why they reacted so strongly to the green movement in 2009. that is a threat to them. if that is the threat to their survival why build a nuclear weapon? i nuclear weapon doesn't do much against crowds in the street. just as all of the f-4's and 14th we sold to the shah did not do him any good when faced with a movement in the street. if you ask from a survivability
point of view, it doesn't mean they might not do it, it does not help them face what is the main rent to their -- threat to the survival of the current regime. barbara slavin: i think this will probably be our last question. >> when the president was first elected, i think a lot was made of the idea of the potential for massive change between the relationship between the president and the supreme leader. i wondered how you would characterize that relationship today. where you see it going regardless of who the popularly elected president is, and what that means for relations. council president parsi: i think what is most important in answering this question is the fact that the supreme leader has full heartedly endorse this
negotiating process. and -- but the supreme leader tends to act as a juggler who tries to balance interest inside the country and to make sure, if somebody should make a mistake he is not held to blame. with these negotiations, he has put his own prestige on the line to a degree. he is preserving some level of deniability if it falls apart, and occasionally makes comments about not trusting the americans. but it is a remarkable about how much he has tampered down and put himself on the line to do that. i think that demonstrates a great deal of confidence in what rouhani is doing. i think it also highlights why getting this deal will be so important. the great comments, from my vantage point the deal is great
but we want to see this change dynamics inside of iran internally without u.s. interference, but enable moderate and reformist interests in iran to have more say in the power dynamics. and start to organize and start to mobilize so the next supreme leader is decided and it might be a more democratic situation. there is so much hinging on the talks. there is so much for the honey and the promise of a more moderate future or iran that hinges on this. it is a symbol for a lot of other issues that hopefully can be resolved. for now there is a great deal of confidence for the supreme leader and the president and his negotiations. barbara slavin: we have come to the and. we want to thank you all so much for coming. i hope we answered some of your questions and we will see what