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tv   Washington Journal Trita Parsi Discusses U.S.- Iran Relations  CSPAN  May 28, 2017 8:32am-9:04am EDT

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crowd strike the the cyber security company gave for their interpretation of this mallware package that belonged to russian military intelligence. the gru. >> "washington journal" continues. host: with us is trita parsey the founder and president of the national iranian american council here to talk about a couple of issues. the reelection last weekend of president rue hani and the trip of president trump just wrapped up last night here in washington. but the first part of that trip was in saudi arabia as the elections were under way in iran. as the the week wraps up, you have the reelection of the president, the return of president trump and the speech he gave in reyad, how do you assess u.s.-iran relations? >> right now is moving in a more negative direction. it's been a very, very shaky
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relationship pretty negative relationship for the the last 37 years as i wrote in my previous book it's an institutionalized entity. both are built on the idea that they are going to be enemies. this is not something that is easy to change. however, in the past few years with the nuclear deal there were prospects for change. there were some positive movements. but in order to be able to undo 37 years of this and resolve the many remaining conflicts that exist between the two countries more time was needed. but what we're seeing is a return back to the type of hostility, isolation, sanctions and pressure policy that is we've seen before. host: do you think the president's first up there in saudi arabia the announcement of the arms sales to that country and the speech in reyad to saudi arabia and the gfl cooperation council that was gathered there was intentionally meant to fry to
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isolate iran? guest: well, the president made that very clear. that all countries have to the work to isolate iran. which incidently is a way of starting to undermine the nuclear deal. the nuclear deal specifically said that the united states is not going to the stand in the way of what tgs calling legitimate trade. if we're pursuing that policy that would undermine the nuclear deal and put the u.s. in violation. what was so sad, i have to say, is that the iranian people went and voted in very, very unfair elections. these are not free and fair elections by the standards that we would like to hold. t nevertheless, they went, 73% and vote ford the most moderate candidate on the ballot and it was a very strong signal that they wanted more interaction with the outside world. they wanted to pursue more engagement and they wanted to pursue a way through the diplomacy resolve conflicts in the rest of the world and the united states is a very
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important acter. the response they got that same day when president trump was in reyad and gave that speech was the united states clinching its fist and doubling down. i think iranians, the the ordinary people who want to resolve these issues and want to have a better relationship was very, very disappointed. host: you can join the conversation here looking at u.s.-iran relations. we're talking about the u.s.-iran relations in the wake of the election the follow hup to the president's trip as mentioned in that speech he did address iran. here's some of what he had to say. from lebanon to iraq, the yemen, iran funds arms and trains terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that
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spread destruction and chaos across the roirge. for decades iran has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror. it is a government that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing the destruction of israel, death to america, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this very room. ong iran's most tragic and destabilizing intraventions you've seen it in syria. bolstered by iran, assad has committed unspeakable crimes and the united states has taken firm action in response to the use of banned chemical keapses by the assawed -- weapon business the assad regime launching 59 missiles at the the syrian air baste from where
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that murderous attack originated. responsible nations must work together to end the humanitarian crisis in syria, eradicate isis, and restore stabblet to the region and as quickly as possible. the iranian regime's longest suffering victims are itsdz own people. iran has a rich history and culture but the people of iran have endured hardship and despair to their leaders' reckless pursuit of conflict and terror. until the iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace, all nations of conscience must work together to isolate, deny, funding for terrorism cannot do it. and pray for the day when the iranian people have the just and righteous government they so richly deserve.
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host: president trump last week in reyad. what did you hear in addition to calling on the isolation of iran? guest: he returned back to the idea of speaking to if the iranian people. i think he ended up not hearing what the iranian people said just the day before by reelecting rue hanie and giving him a mandate to continue. one of the promises or one of the slogans that he used to get elected is that he said he wanted to pursue more negotiations to resolve the remaybing problems. that essentially with you an open invitation to be able to resolve some of the many conflicts. and if we look black at it for the history of the last 37 years the obble time the united states has really managed to get the iranians to change their behavior was through the nuclear deal, through negotiations. everything else that we have tried has not been successful. one other thing to kind of make callers understand how that message was received in iran
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when he talks about the hardships of their suffering under their government. i think mr. trump may not be carrying the credibility there that he may want to because st a couple of months ago he proposed a targeted van were actually from iranians to study it. this was a huge blow and something that really upset the people over there because there's about a million american iranians this this country, a lot of people who go back and forth, that this has made it difficult for americans, americans of iranian dissent to maintain contact with family members. to speak in the way that he did and speak of the suffering of the iranian people i think a lot of people may have actually taken it as an insult because what he did with his muslim ban did not show any type of a
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positive intent. ost: we welcome your comments. let's go to connecticut. robert on the republican line. caller: i totally agree with happening right now. unfortunate, i'm a trump supporter but i'm a little bit disappointed from his decision over iran. and the problem happening right the the people. it is the government who they've been running for the last 37 years and the people are actually hostages over there. when they had the opportunity to go in there, mr. obama really messed up. he went to the wrong country and they decided to get rid of mo bark and they did gave seven
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days and when he had millions of people they got out on the street. if you've ever been there that government is a rough, rough government. in other words, it beats you up, they kill you, there's body looking at any -- jimmy carter, you remember. it's unfortunate. the the problem we have is the government of iran. host: a couple of years ago the green revolution there was seemingly taking hold. what happened to that? the caller talked about the government being the problem. guest: well, the green movement was first really brutally clamped down. we saw the images on our tv screen on how the revolutionly guards, the police forces were brutally beating up to the people. host: what happened with them? guest: they won in my view. they retreated, decided not to take the country tonight brink of civil war. they showed that responsibility and they waited.
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in 2013 when rue hanie was first elected it was interesting to see his entire campaign was based on reaching out for the people who voted for the green movement. that's how he got elected. the the two main leaders of the green move who are still in house arrest voted for him. he was the previous president who was also a big force behind the green movement. almost all of the artists and others who are all sympathetic to the green movement endorse huh hani. not because he is a perfect candidate but because they have seen how boycotting elections in other countries have actually led to more radical forces taking power. they've seen through elections, however imperfect, they have the ability to slowly but surely move the country in a more positive direction. instead of presidenting to see what's happening, have taken
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over and decided to go for the most moderate candidate on the ballot. this is quite interesting. the iranian people have voted overwhelmingly in favor of the most moderate anti-pop list candidate on the ballot. that's a different pattern than we're seeing. host: tell the viewers how this works. there's also religious leaders in that country that have a say over the executive decisions. why? guest: this is the most undemocratic feature of the system. they have a guardian council, 12 individuals who review all of the different people who want to announce their candidacy. this time around about 1600 people. only six people were allowed to run. and in the the past at least they gave some sort of a motivation. at this point they don't even
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bother. this is something that earlier on really raised question marks. why would people? for some time you saw election participation really drop down. but what happened then is that the more people are sitting out the elections, the easier it became for very radical hardlined candidates to win. so now you're seeing the opposite in which voter participation is very high, 7 % in this last election. they're going to vote for the most moderate candidate that can move things. host: we go to james in north hollywood, california. caller: thanks for take mig call. thanks for having your guest. i'm not an expert in this area. but i've been trying to pay attention. my question is about it seems to me to be like an imbalance of power in the middle east and
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ufpksing what the last caller brought up that the guest explained how almost tyrannical the iranian government is. what is driving that government? is it imbalance of power? what is the struggle between saudi arabia? why does trump g there and prop up saudi arabia who they're an acter in the area, too, that may or may not be treating their people fairly. what's the deal? what drives that imbalance of power? is my question ok? does it make sense? host: thanks. guest: i think the question makes a lot of sense. this is a question that people are not asking somehow. why is it that we have this degree of instability in the middle east that has been going on for so long? i write about this in my new book. that's one of the core reasons for this is that the legion has lacked in order since 2003. there was a u.s. sponsored order between 1991 and 2003. ts core was a dual containment
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policy. in order that was very much centered on egypt, israel, saudi arabia. that order the iranians opposed but it wasn't the iranians who destroyed it. it was the united states going into iraq, failing so miserably and not weakening itself to the extent that it has the ability to reestablish a new order. so the reason essentially has been orderless. this has unleashed a tremendous amount of rivalries. saudi arabia and iran for instance, who are two per hour houses. they are struggling to define a new order. the saudis are on the losings end and have been working very hard to get them and supported in this struggle. what i think the missed opportunity here though is that the nuclear deal was obviously centered oven making sure that the iranians would not be able to get a nuclear weapon but he
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also had a separate funk. by taking the nuclear issue off the table. by having a path wear to the a nuclear bomb and bringing them into a diplomatic process it opened up the the path for a regional security dialogue that was all inclusive, that could have included the iranians and saudis and everyone else, and that could have led to a different process in which a much more balance could have been created. it wouldn't be easy. but nor would it be easy by establishing an order by selling saudi arabia billions of billions of weapons. rest assured selling billions of dollars to the saudis is not going to stabilize the region. it's going to make it more unstable. host: one view, middle east crossroads trump boosts saudi arabiaie position. the imagery spoke for itself,
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dozens of muslim nations stood behind mr. trump and he's -- let's hear from kentucky. independent line. go ahead. caller: good morning. i'm an iranian american living in louisville, kentucky. i have been in this country for 25 years. i was serving in the war between iran and iraq and completely familiar with the issue. but recently when mr. trump was in saudi arabia and signing a weapon deal, the question that i have if the united states government or any entity in this country, they do have any evidence to show that those kind of activities that
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happened in the united states and in europe -- any iranian involved in this kind of plit cal activity, show it to the world. this is one i would like you to talk about. also, i want to say that all of those activities that we see is a result of all financed but the hope is like in saudi arabia, egypt, these are not financed by the iranians. when you look at the history of the iranian people and the iranian culture, in this past three years more than a thousand urineion received prnhmp d in this country. these are not the people they want to finance the terrorist activity. thank you. guest: i think the caller raised a very important issue. the united states is now doubling down on saudi arabia as some of these headlines said, taking the saudis' side in a regional rivalry in which a lot of people even within if
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foreign policy believe the united states doesn't really have a dog in that fight particularly ot a pleasant fight. the caller points to something really important. the vast majority of international terrorism that we're seeing, particularly the jihadi terrorism is inspired to a certain extent funded by wahabi. many coming out of saab. the core of isis is its faudies fighters. the previous administration made it public that the money that went to isis, that went to creet isis came out of saudi arabia. only days after president trump s in reyad and talks about fighting terrorism we had another fighter blow himself up at a concert in manchester killing scores of young people there dancing and having fun. if you take a look at the state
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department and terrorist groups the u.s. state department of terrorists, i believe it's two of them that are shia nature that have some connections to iran. the u.s. se the vast majority are with a has beenies with some degree of funding or yg logical support. if our objective is to fight terrorism we need to have a much, much firmer conversation with the saudis about this and stop the amount of funding coming out to these organizations instead of making the united states a party in this conflict. a rival between iran and saudi arabia. that is not to say that iran is a particularly positive acter or to argue that iranian isn't a right against them. but when it's comes to isis inspired individuals and groups killing people in the streets of paris, brussels, niece, manchester, sbern, et cetera,
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there is a very clear link. all of them are wo has beenies and all of them have a degree of radicalization or ideological financial support. >> president trump said the iranians have bolsters assawed. >> certainly would not agree with that. they have ensured his survival. that's an important issue that we saw that there was some progress. which unfortunately has been abandoned. we have to make a quick decision. do we believe that there is a military solution to syria or do we believe ultimately a solution can only come through? if it is the military solution well then 52 missiles or whatever are not going to make a difference. if it is going to be flows that gets to solve it we should start investing heavily and making sure the united states is a full partner. i don't believe there can be a solution without the united states fum involvement.
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and so far the trump administration has not shown too much interest in that process. >> we go to margaret in chicago, illinois. guest: thank you nor taking my call. i think the the most important thing is you need the money. the money that trump keeps bragging that he has lots of money. find out where it's coming from. follow the money. that's where it is. without the money you can't make it. host: we've got a little feed back. we'll let you go there and go to marty in hollywood, florida. go ahead. caller: could you explain the relationship between the otmon empire and iranian of today. could you expand on that? thank you. guest: i didn't quite hear. host: the government in power. i think we've kind of touched on it with the guardian council. let me ask you about the nuclear deal.
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president trump has through the campaign and into his presidency been very critical of the iranian nuclear deal. how is it viewed? iranian? >> the public by and large, well, overwhelmingly supported the deal early on. there is a tremendous disappointment. host: why? guest: they believed in far more sanctions relief and allow their economy to lift off. so far that has not happened. but the main reason is that the trump administration's language about the deal criticizing the deal has infused a certain amount of untremendous. they see many obstacles but the political risk on the u.s. side. meaning they're afraid that the united states may actually walk away from the deal and rei am pose sanctions and they don't ant to pay the price and having to leave again.
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that combined with the fact that there is a lot of primary sanctions that are not part of the deal that were not listen. it's turned out that they do have a significant chilling effect object ability of companies -- beyond chilling effect. what it shows is that the united states is very, very good at imposing sanctions. lifting sanctions, however, is something we have far less experience with. so that the process of lifting the sanctions turn out to be far more complex than any party had expected. and that's resultd in a situation in the people are very disappointed. even though that was seen as the biggest weakness that they had not done as well as people had hoped for. they fltnofment because they were endorsing everything he did but because they were terrified that iran would go back to the direction of those much more hard-lined policy.
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host: how long is the presidential term? guest: four years. host: let's hear from new york. good morning. caller: good morning. i have a couple of comments here. my first comment is let's not kid ourselves. we negotiated the iran deal with the conservative regime in power. he was not in power. second of all, i would like to point out that in order to negotiate this deal which you find to be a triumph in allowed 3.5 allowed 3.5 million syrian men women and children to be chased from their homes by your militias from iran. ok? the syrians which you admit were completely ingrasheyated in assad in syria by iran and then four days after the congress, the republican congress could do nothing to
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set aside the deal, the bombing of al epo started ceaselessly and an entire year until trump came into power. and just now they started negotiations. minor negotiations. while obama was talking about collusion against putin corery was running around chasing lapa to get a ceasefire. host: we'll get a response. guest: on the first point the caller is incorrect. he was in power when these negotiations took place. it was secret negotiation that is started in the july 2012 and those paved the way for the negotiations that really took off in august, 2013, rue hani was elected in june 2013. it was very much thanks to the rue hani government completely changing the negotiating team back. the negotiations suddenly took off in a faster pace.
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i believe in my new book there were all sides of this negotiation process. on the issue of syria this is an often misubbed point. thrgs a belief that i found absolutely no evidence for that had it not been for the ongoing negotiations, that had not concluded at the time with iran, the united states would have intervened in syria. i find no evidence of that. and i think we should keep in that obama's approach was very much about making sure that the united states would be less involved there because the belief was that the united states was over committed to the middle east and instead needed to commit itself more to what was going on in asia. as a result, the president wanted to leave afghanistan, make sure he could leave iraq as well as not getting himself, the united states, into any more unwinnable wars in the middle east. that's the thing that's far better explained as to why
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president obama decided not to intervene in syria rather than believing that it had anything to do with nuclear negotiations. >> our democrats line, ohio. caller: i have a question. why is the united states getting involved in a war that's been over there for so long that in many, many years you can turn around just like vietnam we were over there. i was there w from the very beginning to the very end. and we had no business getting into vietnam. just like we have no business to get over there. the deal was there. they have isis come over here to start bombing our people. killing our people. having people come over here and just blow up whatever they want to do just like they did over there in england. >> we'll get a response. guest: so i think ther
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guest: i think there are a lot of people who would agree that the united states involvement in the middle east, it is hard to explain the motivation of being involved. you saw that with the previous administration recognizing that and it put a tremendous amount of burden on the united states, without necessarily helping stability in the middle east. i think a lot of people who may have supported president trump may be disappointed now, mindful of the decisions to double down on saudi arabia and buying into what the saudi seven argument united states, which is they opted to come into the middle east, they will be in charge of upholding their order with their own treasury military. we have not seen those steps yet, but that is a direction saudi wants the united states to go and that does not seem to be jiving with a lot of folks who
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voted for trump, who wanted to see less involvement in the region and more focus on the united states. trita parsi is on twitter at tparsi. thank you for being with us. we will turn our focus to u.s. education policy. we will speak to michael stratford of politico. looking at how the 2018 budget may impact the department of education budget and u.s. education policy. ♪ tonight on afterwards, msnbc host examines how the criminal justice system is divided country in his book. he is interviewed by elizabeth hinton. is anseems like ferguson
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anchor in many ways in the book. i'm wondering how your experience eliminated what you are talking about going up in the bronx in the 1980's. >> the thing about ferguson that blew my mind, if you grow up in a city in the bronx, you have this conception of cities. in cities, there are these racial frictions. in cities, you have bad and good neighborhoods. all kinds of loaded ways in which police police communities, in which ways of the orders of different neighborhoods sit atop each other, overlap and create a sandpaper friction. all of that to me was tied deeply to the bronx, new york or cities because then i moved to chicago and dc-10 obvious things pertained. edison was like, it is just a municipality of 20,000 people. justrguson was like, it is
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a municipality of 20,000 people. you just drive through it. it looks like anywhere, it is lots,trip malls, parking houses, and the idea that what i experienced there was like the level of exploitation and level of racial oppression and friction, the level of the evasiveness of policing, the intensity of the humiliation, all of this in this place that was anonymous. that blew my mind. >> watch afterwards tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2's tv. >> "washington journal" continues. at u.s.xt, we will look education policy. joining us from new york is michael stratford, who covers politics for politico. , betsy devosford teyi


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