tv Washington This Week CSPAN September 12, 2015 4:00pm-4:31pm EDT
to make nuclear weapons, what do you do about it? the basic choices are to continue the sanctions that have been in place but have not stop the growth of iran's nuclear abilities, despite the fact it has been hurting their economy and changing their cost-benefit calculation. do you try to pursue an agreement, which the george w. bush administration tried to do and what the obama administration achieved, or do you take military action? the generals who look at this, military experts, made it clear that military action would only set back iran's nuclear program for three to four years at most. then you would have to go back and deal with it. sanctions have not been totally effective in slowing their expansion. the reality is we have had needed to reach some sort of agreement with them to constrain their program. that is the choice we have if we want to stop them. host: can you give us a snapshot of north korea and where their nuclear program is? guest: north korea had a research reactor throughout the 1970's, 1980's. by the early 1990's, it had produced a small amount of plutonium separate from the spent fuel. a violation of its nuclear
non-proliferation treaty. that prevents countries from misusing peas full nuclear energy. north korea violated the treaty. there was an agreement in 1994 to freeze north korea's plutonium production in exchange for oil subsidies from japan, the united states, south korea. that deal fell through in the early 2000's, when north korea was complaining there were not getting their oil. they were pursuing a uranium enrichment program. there were further efforts from the george w. bush administration to halt and denuclearize north korea. they are known to have a program that will probably give them material for more weapons. they have ballistic missiles that can carry a nuclear warhead. their program is unconstrained, is growing slowly. the real threat with north korea is they could begin arming these ballistic missiles with nuclear
warheads, threatening japan and south korea. host: travis is waiting on our line for republicans. good morning. caller: good morning. i just wanted to say that this is really not a treaty, this is a surrender. the only thing missing is a white flag. and we are not even getting our prisoners back. no deal. guest: it is not a treaty. technically, this is an executive agreement. it is the united states, china, france, the united kingdom,
russia, germany, and the european union that negotiated this agreement with iran. they have pursued this agreement in order to get iran to comply with its nuclear nonproliferation treaty obligations and to comply with un security council resolutions passed since 2006, calling on iran to comply with his commitments and halt its program until such time there is a conference of agreements. congress, members of congress, said they wanted to weigh in. they wanted to have a say on this, even though this is not a treaty, technically speaking, that they have the legal authority to provide and consent on. that is what led to the process we have seen in the last few days. host: a process that officially ends september 17, when that 60 day clock ends. we go to pennsylvania.
line for independents. raymond, good morning. caller: good morning. i would like to jog people's memory. in the 1970's, pakistan was in pursuit of a nuclear weapon. there are also characterized as terrorists, backing terrorist organizations, and if they got a nuclear weapon, there may be a nuclear war or they would use it. they now have somewhere around 180, 200 potent warheads and delivery systems. pakistan, how they use them? no. the same rhetoric is being used on iran. i think it is all about israel. israel got their nuclear weapon and nothing was said. this country said nothing about it. they are the ones who are willing to use it at the drop of a hat. willing to use a nuclear weapon on anybody who opposes them in the middle east.
they are the wild card. they are the ones who should not have a nuclear weapon. host: and park storm on twitter has a similar line of questioning. why does the israeli government not have to submit to inspections or sign on to the npt? why the double standard? guest: let's back up and talk about who has nuclear weapons. i can talk about pakistan and israel in particular. there are nine countries today that have nuclear weapons. the u.s. and russia have the largest number combined. the u.s. and russia currently have about 1600 nuclear warheads each that can be delivered intercontinental distances. next is china and france. they have around 300 each. then there is the u.k. they have around 100.
then there are the countries that never joined the non-proliferation treaty but our states with nuclear weapons. those countries are india, pakistan, and israel, and as i said before, north korea withdrew from the nonproliferation treaty in 1993 because they were violating it. pakistan is a country that has pursued nuclear weapons outside nuclear proliferation system. they did so in response to india, which india conducted its first test in 1974. a slow moving arms race has been taking place there. there is a great deal of danger in involving pakistan's nuclear weapon, both in terms of the security of those weapons in pakistan, which has terrorist organizations operating on their soil. and there is a risk that could be conflict between india and pakistan that escalates into a nuclear conflict. israel is a country that was pursuing nuclear technology in the 1960's.
they used a reactor at the site called the mona temperatures plutonium around 1968, 1969. the united states has not acknowledged that israel has nuclear weapons, in part because of the diplomatic problems that the u.s. government felt that would create if we acknowledged it. whether we like it or not, the fact is the united states has not acknowledge the presence of nuclear weapons in israel. israel has not officially acknowledged the fact it has nuclear weapons. but because it never joined the nonproliferation treaty, it is not subject to the same kinds of safeguards against the misuse of civilian technology for military
purposes, like we see with iran, which has been a signatory and a member of the treaty since the beginning. so there are double standards in the global system. all sorts of areas. you could say this is one of them. israel is not a country that is willing to use its nuclear weapons lightly. i think none of the countries that possess nuclear weapons, except save north korea, think of it that way. but there is a risk these weapons can be used in a conflict. it is in everyone's interest that all of these countries reduce the role in sale of these weapons and military policy and reduce the numbers that exist and prevent new countries from having nuclear weapons like iran. host: we go to marie on our democrat line in new jersey. go ahead. caller: good morning. i am calling because i thought i have heard a few other media
people tell us that there were five other countries involved in this deal. and i think you already gave her the name of those countries. and that is why i was calling. but i also wanted to say that the republicans admire -- what was his name? i just lost it. the republican president. i just went blank on his name, but you know who i am speaking of, right? host: george w. bush? caller: no, prior to him. guest: reagan. caller: yes. they admire reagan very much. and i know there was a time reagan said he hoped he lived long enough to know there were no nuclear weapons anywhere in the world. so why can't they get forward with the same thing? the same idea. that nuclear weapons are not
good for any country to have, really. because of any that he ever drops one of them anywhere in the world, it would do complete damage throughout the world. it is not going to stay contained just in that country. it will go throughout the country and over time, they will be affected negatively by a drop of a nuclear weapon. i wish they would go back and think about what reagan said and maybe one day, we would have a world where there is no nuclear weapons in any country. that should be our goal. host: marie brings up the p5+1. can you run through the countries in the p5+1, and are any of the legislative bodies in those countries as opposed to this deal as we have seen the opposition on capitol hill this week? guest: the p5+1, the permanent
security council countries plus germany, all of these countries and are diplomatic legislations have been coordinated by the european union. that is the group pursuing these talks. it was the eu three, france, britain, and germany, that began talks in 2003, 2004, 2005 with iran. that the process has been going on that long. if i could, let's calm back to one of the points the viewer, caller, made. why are we talking about this, why is it so important? it is because nuclear weapons are very different from conventional weapons. the detonation of a nuclear weapon anywhere in the world would be a real game changer. the use would be catastrophic on a global scale. that is why every american
president, beginning with eisenhower, kennedy, reagan, who said in his inaugural, a nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought. to all other presidents, including barack obama, have made nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament a major goal of the united states. republicans and democrats. there have been different views on how to pursue those goals, especially recently. but that has been u.s. policy. it has to be because nuclear weapons represent one of the greatest threats to our planet. host: pat is on our line for republicans. good morning. caller: good morning. mr. kimball, as you said, iran has been in violation of the npt for the better part of a decade. why should we agree that if they did not hold onto their obligations under npt that they
will hold their obligations under this new report. i do not know if i should be concerned about this, but i heard iran's neighbors, if this deal goes through, they will develop their own weapons. so why shouldn't americans and people around the world be concerned this is the beginning of the end of the npt? guest: what is important about this agreement if it helps preserve the integrity of the nuclear nonproliferation system. the integrity of the safeguards system. what you run data over a decade ago was they pursued uranium enrichment technology from pakistan. they began secretly building a uranium enrichment facility. today, that facility has 20,000 centrifuge machines, about as
tall as our room here. they spin very fast, enrich uranium. if you enrich uranium enough, you can have nuclear bomb material over time. what iran did was they did not inform the iaea about their plans. that is why we think they violated the npt. the problem today is they now have 20,000 centrifuge machines. they are halfway to building a reactor that could produce enough plutonium for two bombs a year. so what do we do -- in my view, we have no chance but to engage with them and find a way to establish a limit that prevents them from getting nuclear bomb material they would make on a nuclear weapon. this agreement provides the eyes and ears on the ground, the monitoring system, that would give us ample time to respond to any violation promptly and decisively.
i do not trust them, but this is not about trust. trust would be to walk away from this agreement and hope a do not expand their nuclear capacity and actually build nuclear weapons. some policy situations, you are not presented with very good options. we have been in a situation here for over a decade, in which the options are not ideal. this is clearly the best possible outcome, i think, we can pursue now. host: our guest in the last 15 minutes of the segment is daryl kimball, executive director of the arms control association. armscontrol.com. @armscontrolnow. daryl kimball, also a peace fellow for his work in arms control.
he is taking your questions as we talked the iranian nuclear deal and nuclear nonproliferation efforts around the world. patrick is in new jersey, line for democrats. caller: thank you for taking my call. i wanted to bring extension to the extreme short-term memory of their conservative party. their guru, ronald reagan, actually did perform a deal with russia, which had well-known, numerous nuclear weapons. and his motto was "trust and verify," which is what obama is doing today. reagan also sold nuclear weapons to iran, saddam hussein, and osama bin laden.
this is a country that does not have established nuclear weapons. they may be working towards it, but they do not have it. ronald reagan made a deal. trust and verify. this is the exact same thing going on. why do they oppose it if they are ronald reagan conservatives? guest: you are right that ronald reagan did negotiate to ban major nuclear arms control agreements with the soviet union. the 1987 treaty that eliminated all intermediate range nuclear arms missiles. and he began negotiations on the strategic arms reduction treaty, which george h.w. bush finalized.
but there is one difference between those cold war era agreements between the u.s. and the soviet union and this agreement, which is that this is a multilateral agreement between the united states, its allies, and iran. and it is iran taking on all of the responsibilities. we are not giving up our nuclear weapons. what we are doing in this arrangement is if iran does the thing it is supposed to do, cut its uranium enrichment capacity by over half, reduce its enriched uranium stockpile, dismantle its reactor, allow the inspections we need to check for cheating, then the p5+1 will lift the un security council sanctions. and the u.s. and european union will waive some of their national sanctions on nuclear related activities. we are not giving up nuclear capacity. iran is taking on these additional accoutrements for an extended period of time. host: sandra wants to know more about the arms control association. guest: we formed when i was
still a young boy in the 1950's by some of the men who put together the arms control agreements from the 1960's into the 1970's. it has been our mission since then to provide information about these agreements. diplomacy to deal with the most dangerous weapons, which we define as nuclear, chemical, biological, and certain conventional arms. we publish "arms control today" on a monthly basis to provide a forum for ideas and solutions from a variety of perspectives. that is our mission. we also take policy positions on important issues like this one, the iran nuclear deal. host: rick, line for republicans. caller: good morning. i was watching that first day they were having the hearings in the house. the guy was reading the material
about the 1954 atomic energy act or whatever. he went through the reasons behind the secret deal or whatever you call it. at the end of that, he read about a former iaea guy and he said those things can be made available to be seen. i do not understand -- i guess that is one of the basis of what they are doing in the house -- but it seems really strange that this is such a secretive thing. one other thing, wendy sherman was talking about the levels of enrichment. the only thing that they could possibly increase was submarine fuel. what is up with that? host: this agreement is a 159 page agreement open to the public.
that was the basic agreement the p5+1 negotiated with iran. iran has a plan of action it has worked out with the iaea to resolve questions about its past military dimensions experiments. its nuclear weapons experiments from the past. they have just a few weeks to resolve those questions with the iaea. that involves these visits by the agency to certain sites and the procedures for which, are confidential. the un security council passed a resolution that governs how the sanctions relief will occur and when. everything is in the open, but for these confidential agreements between the iaea and iran. if members of congress want to understand how that works, they can go to a classified reefing, get a classified briefing in their basement of the capitol.
several members of congress have done that to get their questions answered. host: submarine fuel. guest: normal reactor grade enrichment means you enrich the uranium ore to about 3% to 5% of u235. which is the fish in a bowl type of uranium. if you want to produce a bomb, you need to enrich the detail to 90% or so. there are some reactors that run on higher levels of enrichment. there are some reactors around 20%. and there are some submarine reactors that run on a higher percentage also. some legislators have said one of the justifications for possible higher enrichment by iran may be for their nuclear
submarine program, which they do not have. this deal prohibits that and keeps iran from going past the 3% to 5% levels for at least 15 years. and i'd argue much more than that. that is one of the values of this agreement. it bars iran from enriching to higher levels closer to bomb grade. host: mavis is next. fort lauderdale, florida. good morning. caller: good morning. i would like to ask mr. kimball if he knows that the israeli prime minister has been to the other countries and addressed their congress in reference to stopping this deal? guest: to my knowledge, prime minister netanyahu has not gone to the parliaments of the other countries. he has met with the leaders of
these other countries involved in the negotiations. what he was clearly trying to do this year was to influence congressional opinion against the agreements. because he felt he had the ability to try to do that. there has not been the kind of debate in germany, france, or the u.k., russia, china certainly, that we have had here about the agreement, in part because all parts of the political spectrum in our three european allies have been in support of this. because they see this as the best possible outcome to prevent iran from getting a nuclear weapon. personally, i am puzzled about prime minister netanyahu's approach. it is not consistent with all of his military and security leaders. some of whom reluctantly think this is the best possible outcome to prevent iran from getting nuclear weapons.
whatever the disagreements were between prime minister netanyahu and president obama in the past, i think it is important they get over it. this deal is going forward. congress has not walked its implementation. it is in everyone's interest that this is implemented on schedule is the iranians do what they are supposed to. that takes compliance. that requires working together in harmony to make sure this work. host: cheshire, connecticut is next on our republican line. thomas. caller: thank you for taking my call. one of the problems with the arrangement is it is really not a treaty. if this were a treaty, it would be ratified by senate, like the inf treaty when reagan was president. reagan had leadership. i do not know if he was working against an opposing party at the
time, but he ratified the treaty against the soviet union. this is not a treaty. this is an executive order being imposed. that is the problem. when you cannot govern any more as a president, you start to impose things. i do not think the president has the leadership to really lead congress. through this process. he is basically putting out an executive order and saying that is the law of the land. i do not know how this is the type of thing that will prevent iran from building a bomb. he should want a treaty because that is permanent. the executive order expires when he leaves office. this cannot be seen as a permanent arrangement. host: thomas, cheshire, connecticut. a few minutes left with daryl kimball. i want to ask you about a headline in today's "new york times." "islamic state ordnance shows traces of chemical agents, u.s. says."
can you talk about the islamic state and concerns about them getting chemical weapons? guest: these headlines are really worrisome and troublesome. two years ago, the syrian government used nerve agents on its own people outside damascus during its terrible civil war. the syrian government has a large stockpile of chemical agents. the u.s. and russia strong-armed assad under the threat of military action. that material was removed by the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons. but now the islamic state has begun, in more rudimentary fashion, mustard agents, lacing that around its conventional munitions. now we are seeing injuries in
syria and perhaps other parts of the conflict in northern iraq involving mustard agents. this is a worrisome problem. there is uncertainty about how and where the daesh, the islamic state, is acquiring this. this is clearly yet another war crime on their part. and all countries involved, whether russia, the united states, should be condemning this. host: are they? guest: some are. the united states and russia agree there should be a formal investigation of the use of mustard agents by parties in the conflict. we will see what the results of that are. right now, we do not have
vladimir putin condemning this, we do not have iran publicly condemning this, though that would not make a lot of difference with daesh. host: let's see if we can get in one more call. luther has been waiting on the line for democrats. can you make it quick? caller: yes. a lot of good information. the one thing that needs to be said is that president rouhani has said he wants better relations with the west. and foreign minister zarif was educated in the united states. 70% of iranians are under 35. people keep talking about the revolutionary guard, the supreme leader. there is another group. they cannot talk about that in the deal, but it is the reality. when people think about the deal, it is a good deal, and if it does not work, they cheat, you get one day.
guest: those are very good points. this is a long-term agreement. it does not expire when president obama leaves office. if iran doesn't comply, there will be penalties, and the international community will be behind us. it means better relations between the u.s. and iranian people. it could perhaps help the pragmatists win out over the real hardliners in iran. that's not the reason for the deal, but that is one side benefit that we could perhaps leverage in the future to moderate iranian behavior in the future. that is another challenge beyond the nuclear program that iran has presented. host: it is