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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  September 30, 2017 12:00am-1:01am PDT

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>> rose: welcome to the program. tonight an hour on the u.s.-iranian relationship. we talked to iran's foreign minister javazarif. >> we believe that if iran accepted certain increased monitoring of its activities, certain greater transparency, it did not need to go through extra limitations. and the united states and some others believed we needed some period of confidence building, and this was a subject of great negotiations, so we agreed to ten years of limitations for iran's enrichment activities. we agreed to keeping our at 300 kilograms and reducing our
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centrifuges. >> rose: after that you can enrich as much as you want. >> yeah, but iran will be bound by very strict monitoring mechanisms. we agreed to implement -- let me tell you something, the deal is based on lack of trust. no part of this is built on confidence. >> rose: iran for the hour next. >> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by the following: >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose.
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>> rose: tonight a conversation with iran's foreign minister javad zarif, the man who negotiated iran's nuclear deal with the united states directly with john kerry. we spoke about iran, neighbors, terrorism, nuclear weapons and the u.s.-iranian relationship. there is an excerpt from my queks last night with mike morell and nick burns in which they talked about some of the accusations against iran. let me turn to iran because they also suffered some rhetorical assault from the president. he said not only was the teal an embarrassment but called iran a corrupt regime and a rogue nation. why is he doing that? what was that necessary? >> let me tee up the problem and let my diplomat friend solve it
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for us here. >> rose: i'll sit back and listen. >> there's two buckets. one is the iranian nuclear weapons program. the second is iranian misbehavior, maligned behavior in the region, their conducting terrorism, support of terrorists, support of insurgents, desire for regional influence, desire israel be wiped off the face of the planet, that set of issues. this first issue, i believe the jcpoa, the nuclear deal, has put that issue in a box for the next 10 to 15 years. it's not perfect but it's pretty darn good because it's put them in a box for ten to 15 years. as far as i know, the iranians are living up to almost the entirety of the agreement. there's just a handful of small issues where they are not in compliance but those are minor
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issues. so the president has to make a decision about how to handle the first one and he also needs to make a decision on how to handle the second one. how do we disincentivize, deter the iranians from this misbehavior in the region. that's the second thing he has to decide to do, and that has to be done against the following backdrop, which is the most interesting internal politics inside iran in a long time. there is a real struggle internally playing out publicly between the hard liners and i call the centrists,. >> rose: rouhani. ouhani a centrist, supreme leader is a hard liner, and it's a struggle whether iran will remain a revolutionary nation or a normal nation, and it was fought publicly -- >> rose: i asked the foreign minister of iran that very question kissinger once posed do they want to be nation or a movement and he said we want to
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be both. >> well, you can't be both. both can't co-exist at the same time. this debate played out publicly on the debate stage between rouhani and his very conservative candidate for president. the iranian people voted and spoke overwhelmingly they wanted to go in a certain direction. so the question is, in trying to manage the nuclear issue, because the president will have to make a decision on it very, very soon, in managing this regional misbehavior, how do you do that in a way that isn't strengthen the hardliners and weaken the centrists. nick will tell us how to do that. >> rose: before you do that, i want to make sure everybody at home when you talk about supporting terrorism, the charges against iran, they're supporting -- they're heavily involved against the saudis with both having client organization in yemen, that's one -- >> so -- >> rose: go ahead. so iran -- >> rose: is doing what? iran itself conducts terrorism around the world
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against israeli and jewish targets and against the targets of its neighbors. >> rose: how does it do that? what is it doing? it's one thing to say -- i'm asking because -- >> the attempted -- >> rose: assassinating their -- >> of the saudi ambassador in the united states several years ago. >> rose: an action not carried out because it was interrupted. >> it was interrupted. >> rose: right. there was an attack in europe several years ago that the iranians were involved in. so they're the only -- i think it's fair to say they're the only state in the world that still practices terrorism as a state tool of craft. two, they provide support to hezbollah, hamas and others. hezbollah could not exist without the support it gets from iran, two. support fo insurgents in the region trying to overthrow sunni arab regimes in yemen, bahrain, eastern provinces of
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saudi arabia. their support for people like president assad is a whole other issue. that's what i mean by the regional misbehavior. >> rose: go ahead. to use mike's construct of these two big problems, i think president trump is right to try to push the iranians back on the big struggle for power in the middle east and he's wrong, president trump, to try to writingle out of the iran nuclear deal. why? there's a big sunni-shia struggle for power. >> rose: we went to riyadh and said we support the saudis that represent the sunnis. >> president trump was right to do that. >> rose: why was he right? i thought president obama's tactic was different, saying we're not full scale behind the saudis, but to recognize iran had legitimacy and get them to
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talk to us. isn't that what president obama wanted to do, mike? wanted the saudis to talk to the iranians? >> yes, but it's hard to do that when the iranians are launching military offensives through the houthi rebels in yemen, trying to establish a contiguous line from baghdad to damascus to lebanon. it's as if the great shia power iran is punching a big hole in the sunni world, challenging the power of the sunni states. this is an extensional issue for the -- existential issue for the gulf areas and as we all know israeli relations with those countries are best ever because they have a common enemy. so i think president trump has been right and despite my deep respect and support for president obama, i think he was as effective on this. we've got to be sending military aid and acting politically in such a way that we try to isolate the iranians on this -- >> rose: well we made a big deal with the saudis to sell
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them military. over $100 billion. >> we were right to do that. on the other hand -- as you know i was the point person in iran for the george w. bush from 2005 to 2008 -- we spent time sanctioning iranians, never got to the negotiating table, i think it would be a great mistake for prurp to walk away. >> rose: the viewpoint from jarred jarred, took place at the asia society wednesday night here in new york and here is that conversation. thank you very much. it's a pleasure to be here. as he said, i'm trustee here and consider it a remarkable institution that has done a lot to further our understanding and came to know this place through our friendship with the rockefeller who loved the saudi relationship very much. it's nice to talk to the foreign minister beginning when he was
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ambassador to the nations and continue hearing in fact we talked here in the last two or three weeks. so mr. foreign minister, pleasure to see you again. >> good to be with you and with this distinguished audience here. >> rose: you have witnessed the events at the united nations last week. the president called iran a corrupt kick tatership, -- dictatorship, a rogue nation, said the deal with you was embarrassment. said it had no ambition, unmoved by threats and would be a pity if the iran agreement was destroyed by a rogue newcomer to the world of politics, rouhani said, and would hamper american credibility. so i want to talk about your meeting first with the american secretary of state rex tillerson. what did you talk about? what was the tone and substance
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of that conversation? >> well, it was a civilized meeting. ( laughter ) i think, after that speech, secretary tillerson set the bar to be very low, just not throwing shoes at each other was -- ( laughter ) so that's -- we certainly achieved that. we didn't throw shoes at each other. everybody in the group -- and it wasn't a bilateral meeting because people need to be reminded this was not a bilateral deal. this was a multi-lateral agreement, and the meeting took place in the consultation room of the security council, where we started this process four years ago, as was just mentioned with secretary kelly, and it was a good reminder to everybody that this deal is not a treaty,
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it's not a bilateral agreement or a multi-lateral agreement which needs ratification by u.s. senate, but it is, in fact, a security council resolution, and we were sitting in the informal consultation room of the security council where these resolutions were worked out usually. this one was not worked out in that room. it was worked out during two years of tedious negotiations in vienna and, prior to that, ten years of basically posturing. i'm sorry to see that we are going back to the posturing, pre-negotiation posture. everybody in the room reminded secretary tillerson that this was a good deal, a good deal is not a perfect deal because there is no perfect deal. no deal can be perfect because perfect for one side of the deal would be disaster for the other side. >> rose: it is not a zero-sum deal. >> it can't be a zero-sum deal. it has to be a positive sum deal, and we decided to define
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the objective in the beginning of the process in a way that was amenable to a solution, and by that we decided not to resolve all of our differences. we decided to stick to it. unfortunately, the u.s. position was reiterated by secretary tillerson, about what -- >> rose: did secretary tillerson say, in fact, if certain things did not happen, if it was not modified or renegotiated the united states would leave the deal? >> no, he didn't. this administration leaves people guessing. ( laughter ) i think unpredictability may be an attribute in foreign policy, but unreliability certainly isn't. >> rose: let me ask you a couple of things about the deal. one, the notion there's misunderstanding about this -- i don't want to spend a lot of time on this but i want to understand it from your perspective -- there is no sunset clause in this deal.
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>> no. >> rose: what is the significance of the ten-year limitation? >> well, you see, we believed that if iran accepted certain increased monitoring of its activities, certain greater transparency, it did not need to go through extra limitations. the united states and some others believed we needed some period of confidence building, and this was the subject of great negotiations. so we agreed to ten years of limitations for iran's -- >> rose: enrichment programs. -- enrichment activities. we agreed to keeping our stockpile at 300 kilograms, we agreed to reducing our centrifuges, but -- >> rose: and after what you can enrich as much as you want? >> yeah, but iran will be bound by very strict monitoring mechanisms. we agreed to implement -- let me tell you something, the deal is
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based on lack of trust. no part of this deal is built on confidence or trust. >> rose: it's trust but verify -- >> no, it's don't trust and verify. because neither side trusted the other side, and i have to be blunt with you, this was the case. we did not trust the united states, and the united states obviously did not trust us. so everything in the deal is based on reciprocity and measures taken on both side. so if congress behaves, in six years from now, eight years from the signing of the deal or the agreement, we will be ratifying the additional protocol, additional protocol is the most intrusive inspection regime that is available in h the international community. iran is now implementing additional protocol because we are not confident about behavior by the u.s. we will become a party, an
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official party to the additional protocol in six years' time, provided that the united states takes care of its responsibilities, and that would mean iran would be permanently -- because additional protocol does not have a withdrawal clause. you cannot withdraw from the additional protocol. so once we ratify it, it means iran will be under the most intrusive inspection regime that is available, but then iran will become a normal mpt member. a normal mpt member would be obliged to not pursue nuclear weapons and iran would be obliged not to pursue nuclear weapons in addition to the fact that we do not consider nuclear weapons not to be in our national security interest. >> rose: you evidently have made a number of statements, and your president, hoping that the united states will not say it is
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not in their interest, and you obviously do not want them to withdraw because you believe this is a good deal for both sides. >> well, as i said, it's not a perfect deal. it leaves a lot to be desired from our perspective especially in the implementation of the deal -- >> rose: what happens if the united states government decides to withdraw? >> well, this would be the basis for iran to make a decision to withdraw, but that would depend on a number of factors that would play, including how you react to this, and then, as you know, iran is not a monolith, so i cannot predict what would happen in the political, although president trump likes to try to put it in another way, but as you have witnessed during our election days, a very lively debate going on in the public sphere in iran, broadcast on
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television even between presidential candidates -- >> rose: what did president rouhani mean when he said iran is inclined toward moderation? >> well, just listen to the two speechers, and you will understand from the tone of the two speeches that iran is inclined toward mod ration. we believe that prudence, respect for international law, respect for the rights of your citizens, respect for the interests of everybody trying to reach, as you pointed out, nonzero sum games, nonzero sum deals where the interest of everybody is preserved are the ways for sustainable, international life these days. we live in a different environment. our world has become intertwined. you cannot have security at the expense of insecurity of others, you cannot have prosperity while others live in poverty. so these are all elements of
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iran's moderation policy. >> rose: but many people around the world, not just america, do not see a moderation policy. they think that iran, after the signing of the deal, has been aggressive in the non-nuclear arrangement details of policy between iran and the rest of the world, aggressive in terms of your engagement around the world in syria, in yemen, in lebanon, and that, therefore, it violates the spirit because the spirit of the deal was that, coming out of this relationship between iran and the six countries would be perhaps a progress toward making other kinds of arrangements that would bring iran into the community of nations even more. that was the idea. that spirit, they believe, has been violated. >> first of all, the united states is not in compliance with the letter of the deal, stated by president trump before the general assembly, which was not
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a campaign rally but a u.n., the highest global institution, was a violation of paragraphs 26, 28, 29 of the letter of these paragraphs, not the spirit. let's think of the regional situation. who has been on the right side in our region? let's go back. >> rose: depends on what you're talking to the saudis or the iranians. >> i'm talking to you. ( laughter ) from 1980 to 1988, who supported saddam, who fought saddam? >> rose: iranians fought saddam and united states supported saddam. >> in 1990, when saddam invaded kuwait, who supported kuwait? when the taliban took over afghanistan, who supported the legitimate government of afghanistan? who supported -- >> rose: that's an interesting -- >> who supported the taliban. >> rose: people now believe
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iran is supporting the taliban against the established government. >> no, they're not. we're not. >> rose: in no way is iran involved in supporting the taliban in afghanistan hoping that it will somehow be to your benefit if the taliban -- >> come on. the taliban killed 11 iranian diplomats. we almost went to war with the taliban when the u.s. allies recognized the taliban as a legitimate government of afghanistan. but i'm not finished. in 2003, who was the first country to recognize the government of iraq, the governing council of iraq and who did everything to undermine that government? in 2001, who was behind the establishment of a new democratic government in afghanistan and who continued to support the taliban? from 2003 to 2011, who was behind every move to undermine the iraqi government -- >> rose: who overthrew the
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government of the taliban? >> who overthrew the government of the taliban? taliban? the afghans with the support of iran and the united states. but your allies, the ones who are accusing us, were recognizing the taliban, were providing -- >> rose: but -- hold on. then who was behind i.s.i.s. in syria and iraq? who supported financially i.s.i.s. -- >> rose: who supported i.s.i.s. in iraq? >> your allies. they -- now they are exposing one another, after this persian gulf crisis between three of your -- four or five of your allies, they are accusing each other. they are exposing each other who supported more of the terrorists, all of them did. >> rose: who supported the hezbollah in syria from outside, from lebanon to join the syrian government in defending is this.
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>> charlie, but who prevented damascus, baghdad from falling into the hands of i.s.i.s.? >> rose: i think president putin might say he did mortgages, we did. we went to the support of the kurds. >> rose: i heard you -- you hear me but you continue to repeat the same allegation. >> rose: and you continue to repeat the same points. >> no, but i'm making an historical point. i'm asking you -- i'm challenging anybody who can say, anybody other than iran went to irbid to prevent i.s.i.s. from taking over. all the peshmergas were putting stuff on trucks and leaving irbid as i.s.i.s. was moving.
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president al air bane called us- >> rose: i assume you're in favor of president urbane and what he would like to do. >> we believe that's a very serious mistake and people as friends of the kurds, we will remain eternal friends of the kurds, but we believe that was a major strategic mistake. we are the ones who helped them, but we believe that's a steeblgic mistake. it will have connotationings and consequences that will not be limited to iraqi kurdistan. >> rose: it's important to hear you say this because i know how passionately you believe it on behalf you ever country and, in many cases, you lay a case and an argument for where iran has come to the support of people who we have been friends with or opposed to, but it is, among other people french president macron has said, you
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know, perhaps we should be having a conversation about new protocol that would look at these cases in which there is disagreement about eastern's engagement, whether it is yemen, whether it is syria or whether it is lebanon or whether it is afghanistan. now, are you open to looking at questions of how iran is engaged in its behavior to these other countries? >> well, we've always been an active participant in peacekeeping and peacemaking efforts. you want me to go back to history? ask jim duan dubbins who represd the united states in 2001 bomb cnference to establish a new government, asked him who saved the day and he'll tell you yours truly. >> rose: being you? yeah. ( laughter ) >> rose: can we make one historical point i learned backstage, when saddam was
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invading kuwait, he wanted iran to join him? >> yes, he did. >> rose: and suggested that if he was successful that iran and kuwait. >> and iraq. >> rose: -- and iraq would share the spoils of all the -- >> yes, and he sent all his fighter jets to iran to prove his sincerity, but we didn't take the bait. >> rose: you joined the coalition against him. >> we didn't join the coalition against him but we helped kuwait. we were the first country to condemn iraqi invasion of kuwait even before the gcc did. these are important historical facts for people to remember. >> rose: characterize the relationship with the united states today. >> do i need to? ( laughter ) >> rose: yes, please. well, i think the united states is making a strategic mistake of sending a message to the world that it is not reliable as a negotiating party, that the united states will take -- i mean, in any deal, in
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order to reach a deal, you give concessions and take concessions from the other side, and no deal will be sustainable if you take the concessions and pocket them and then you ask for more after you conclude the deal. nobody else will come and negotiate with the united states. the united states will become known as an unreliable partner, even for others. now, i believe even europeans are saying if the united states were to break the deal, nobody else would trust them. i think the united states has to prove itself that it is a reliable party. >> rose: if the united states withdraws from the deal, what will iran do? yo have suggested the united states will suffer credibility issues, but what will iran do? >> we will make the appropriate decision based on the circumstances. >> rose: okay. there will be -- you see, i told you, iran is not a monolith. i will not make a decision for iran, nor will anybody else. we will have a debate in iran
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about the consequences. we will have a variety of views. even today, there are people in iran who believe that the united states has been less than compliant with other aspects of the deal and, therefore, iran should not stay committed to the deal. that's an argument that's being made by, in my view, a minority in iran. but that argument will gain greater momentum and greater support where the united states -- had the united states decided to leave the deal. >> rose: i want to ask one question since you said iran is not a monolith and we coknow about that. which sides are winning in iran? president rouhani was reelected. >> yeah. >> rose: does that mean that moderates on the ascendancy and would you describe him as a moderate in terms of iranian politics? >> well, i believe he had a platform, and that platform --
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and he tried to explain that platform, domestic and global agenda, received the vote of the population. it wasn't certain that he would win. >> rose: i know. he did. next election, we will see. people of iran -- >> rose: imagine the trend. where is iran going is my question. >> well, it depends. i'm asking you about the trend here in the united states. ( laughter ) you vote republican, democrat, trump -- it depends. >> rose: but we have the foreign minister who knows the players and we're asking you here as to -- >> i don't have a crystal ball. i know the players, you know the players in the u.s. if i ask you who will win the next presidential election in the u.s. will you tell me?
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who will win the 2018 congressional race, can you tell me? we're not that different. maybe we have the same process. maybe the president likes to think of iran as a dictatorship. be that as it may, this is a process. i don't know what will happen in iran. what is important, charlie, is that we derive our legitimacy and our power from our people, unlike your friends. we do not derive our rejet massey from the beautiful military equipment we get from the united states. ( applause ) >> rose: is the conflict between in eastern between sunni
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and shia between two countries who have different missions? >> i don't know. i think it's a conflict based on one side from our perspective making all the wrong choices. i wanted to tell you what those wrong choices were. the taliban in afghanistan, i.s.i.s. in iraq, nusra in syria, all the wrong choices. is it our fault we didn't make the wrong choices? we do not believe -- we do not have the illusion that we can exclude saudi arabia from this region. we believe that saudi arabia is an extremely important player in the region whose role needs to be respected, but we expect saudi arabia to also recognize that we are an important part of this region, and they can never exclude iran, as we will never try to exclude saudi arabia, saudi arabia has to abandon the illusion -- because once i sent
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the message -- i sent a message to the late saudi foreign minister, told him we are prepared to work with you so that we can accommodate each other in the region, and he told me the arab world is none of your business. i'm telling you the arab world is our business. we are in the region. we need to work together for security of this region and we are prepared to work together for the security of this region. >> rose: so what will happen in yemen? >> we -- i mean, again, in yemen, we tried, and i ask you to ask people who are in the know, we tried to put an end to this conflict before it started. when it started, we tried to use our influence in order to have a cease fire. we spent several days doing very difficult nuclear negotiations. instead of talking about the nuclear issue, we talked about how to end the situation in
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yemen. it wasn't iran which reneged on its promise, it was the other side. and in each and every attempt, the other side has torpedoed a possibility for a negotiated solution in yemen. let me be clear -- we believe that yemen requires a political solution. we believe that syria requires a political solution, we believe that none of these issues can be resolved militarily, and i make that a categorical statement, that we are prepared to use our -- >> rose: but will you acknowledge that you have a stronger presence either in terms of iran or in terms of hezbollah on the ground in syria than, say, saudi arabia does? >> no, i believe the saudis have -- i believe that they made the wrong choices. i'm repeating that. they make the wrong choices and that is why their presence is diminishing. >> rose: why is iran in yemen in the first mace? >> we're not in yemen. our solution for yemen is cease
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fire, humanitarian assistance, a yemeni dialogue and elections so that we can have an inclusive government in yemen. this has been the case we have insisted upon. same for syria. and this has been on the table four years, the solution for syria is cease fire, a nationally united government, constitutionally formed elections. >> rose: why do you think so many countries question what iran's ambitions are in the region? >> well, you see, i cannot judge why others are doing things, but it has become fashionable in washington to blame iran for everything, and it's your ticket. i remember people -- >> rose: we've referenced you other countries who are party to the nuclear deal who raised questions about iran's behavior. >> well, we're talking about policy. we're talking about human beings and countries, not animals that
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we talk about behavior. we talk about policy, and i believe iranian policy in the region is very clear. i think people have to bring themselves to the letter of mutual respect. just do not talk about the behavior of other countries. talk about their policies. talk about their practices and see who has -- who has done more to fight extremism. who has done more and more consistently to fight terrorism in the region? have we been on the side of terrorists in syria, afghanistan, in iraq? >> rose: i've asked you this before, so what do you say to the question posed by henry kissinger that iran that is to decide whether it wants to be a country or a movement? >> exactly what i told henry kissinger, we will make that decision when the united states makes that decision to be either a country or a cause. when are you prepared to make the decision that the united states is no longer a cause,
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then we will make a decision. this talk about being between a cause or a state is an iranian sepsychotomy. the united states has failed the to recognize the realities in the region. when president trump goes before thation general assembly and talks about iran as a deck tatership under the guise of democracy, he's forgetting the fact that in countries that are allies of the united states, the concept of ballot box doesn't exist. we're celebrating today as people, as women get a right to drive in some of your allies. >> rose: you suggested earlier iran would like to talk to anybody. what ought to be the conversation between the united states and iran about the future relationship between the two countries? >> i think prove your brotherhood then ask for
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inheritance. ( laughter ) the united states needs to prove that it is a reliable negotiating partner. we spent two years -- probably secretary kerry and i spent more time together than we spent with our wives negotiating this deal. so let's respect the deal we negotiated. i believe the deal has a lot of flaws, otherwise it wouldn't be a deal. i mean, if the deal was 100% in my favor, the united states would be out of its mind to accept it, and the same is true for iran. if you have a perfect deal, it has to be imposed by one side against the other. so if you're asking me about the united states -- >> rose: i'm asking you what's the path to the future? what's the path to a better relationship? because if you -- as you well know, one of the things that president obama was arguing with
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the saudis is that he wanted to see in the region more dialogue between and recognition of competing interests but dialogue within saudi arabia and iran. you will agree with that? >> and, charlie, who did what? after we agreed to the nuclear deal, a point was made by the then chairman of the gcc where saudi arabia is a prominent member that now that iran has done a deal with five + one, why would it engage in six plus one. i flew to qatar and told the gcc i'm ready. saudis rebuffed. then sent the foreign minister of kuwait in early 2017 to iran suggesting on behalf to have the gcc we engage in dialogue. our president went to kuwait and responded positively to that
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suggestion. ththe emir of kuwait asked our president to put it in writing and we did. then the crown prince of saudi arabia had an interview with an american news outlet saying we will never engage in dialogue again. so go and search for the problem where it lies. it's not i in iran. we are a country that is confident of its power, confident of its size, confident of its people. we don't purchase security from outside. we get our security from our own people. >> rose: suggesting that the saudis are purchasing their security from outside? >> i'm not suggesting. ( laughter ) >> rose: what is iran's attitude and what is its program having to do with the
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development an deployment of missiles which is mott part of -- not part of the nuclear deal? >> thank you for reminding us it's not part of the nuclear deal. but you see, you want to deal with missiles, you need to look at our history. >> rose: you argue they are for deterrence purposes. >> they are. >> rose: you can imagine other people don't necessarily assume they should accept at your face value your definition of what they're about. >> fine. what we need to do is look at the facts. last year, saudi arabia spent $67 billion on weapons. the united arab emirates, which is, what, less than a million, we are 80 million population, spent 14 billion -- these are my numbers -- and iran spent $6 billion on defense. are we supposed to defend 80 million iranians or are we
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not? these people, the iranian people were subjected to eight years of war. everybody supported saddam hussein. when saddam hussein was using chemical weapons against our civilians, nobody cared. i remember going to the president of the security council as a young diplomat, 25 years old, told him, mr. president, chemical weapons are being used against iran, and i'm saying it publicly. he told me, i'm not authorized to talk to you about this. our people were being bombed by missiles. we didn't have a single missile to defend ourselves or to use as a deterrent. aren't we obliged to our citizens to defend? from 1985 to 1988, there are six reports by the secretary general of the united nations saying chemical weapons were used against iran by iraq. find a single security council
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resolution condemning iraq for the use of chemical weapons, a single security council resolution. now people are telling me chemical weapons are the red line for them? nonsense! ask any iranian. no iranian believes chemical weapons are a red line for any western country because tolerated their use by iraqis against iranian civilians. >> rose: so when the government you supported in area was using chemical weapons, were you there strongly, strongly denouncing them for using those chemical weapons? >> we denounced the use -- >> rose: at the same time that the united states at that time was denouncing it and american journalists were pointing it out? >> we denounced the use of chemical weapons, regardless the victim or culprit. >> rose: but it was the government and the country that you were supporting that was using chemical weapons in syria, and many will argue that that government would not have survived without hezbollah -- >> can i respond?
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we asked for an international investigation. >> rose: but -- we asked -- >> rose: but was that to determine whether they were using them or not? >> no, to determine who had used them. >> rose: are you questioning now that the syrian government may not have used chemical weapons? >> what i say is that we asked -- we are in syria not to support anybody but to fight i.s.i.s. we asked the international community to examine the evidence. you see, we went -- >> rose: but -- charlie, let me explain this. we went through -- >> rose: we are friends, and you have to understand this. >> yeah. >> rose: that's why he's here with me an that's why he wanted me to do this interview. >> exactly. >> rose: just make sure that's understood. ( laughter ) >> doesn't look like it but it is. >> rose: it's true. and we hope it's beneficial to try to understand a full historical perspective. >> but let me tell you, we went through a war with iraq. the united states sent investigators to the war fronts
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to determine whether our allegations of the use of chemical weapons by the iraqis were accurate. that's what we asked. >> rose: okay. send a del images, send investigators. we helped disarm them from chemical weapons, we were very instrumental in doing that. >> rose: the deal between russia tan united states. >> we were instrumental in getting the deal, we were instrumental in implementing the deal. >> rose: a deal made -- by kerry and la lavrov. we encouraged that deal is that what would it take to convince you at the syrians were using chemical weapons? >> an international investigation. an on-sight international investigation. that's what we called for. >> rose: but as of this moment you do not know in your own mind whether the syrians were using -- when you -- >> we know chemical weapons -- >> rose: so your question was who was using them? >> that's the question. that's the question. that's the question that we have
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asked because we -- >> rose: is it more likely that the regime was using them? >> we have no proof that that is the case, but let me tell you -- >> rose: do you want to see -- let me tell you -- of course i do. of course, i do. and we are ready to engage anybody at the intelligence level to check the evidence. >> rose: a country has been destroyed by war in syria. >> unfortunately. >> rose: unfortunately. and we need to end that. >> rose: and that's a question here, because iran has been a part of that conflict in terms of who its supported both in terms of hezbollah -- >> would you have liked i.s.i.s. to be sitting in damascus? >> rose: but some will argue that what the government of iran wants is to have a clear shia crescent. >> is that the reason we supported qatar? is that the reason we oppose the cause -- >> rose: is that clear? is that the reason we oppose the coup in turkey? is that the reason we supported
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the sunni government of afghanistan. is that the reason we prevented i.s.i.s. from taking over ebid? are these your territories? come on. people create miniature -- people create a paper target that they can hunt. these are just wrong assumptions. >> rose: let me ask -- just answer one question -- why did we help prevent el bill from -- why did we oppose the takeover of qatar. >> rose: with respect, mr. foreign minister -- >> yes, sir. >> rose: no one doubts iran is d to i.s.i.s.
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on the question of afghanistan, you have the same interest as the united states. >> i certainly hope so. >> rose: to support the government in power against the taliban. >> i certainly hope so, but we never supported the deal during the taliban government. >> rose: this conversation is looking to areas where there might be opportunities pore the united states and iran and other countries as well to -- this has been a troubled region, the area of the middle east, and iran is saying that it has regional ambitions and wants regional influence and it believes it should have it because it's a great nation andates part of the community, correct? >> we don't have ambitions. we want to live in a secure region. we are a great country, a major country in this region. >> rose: the united states respects that. >> we have natural influence. i believe the united states not only doesn't respect that, it wants to neglect that, and that hahas been the reason why the
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united states has gotten itself into one quag mere after another in our region. >> rose: and are you prepared to say that all issues that may be raised by the united states or other countries who are signatories to the deal can be on the table in terms of -- >> no, that deal is over. i sat around the same table with john kerry where i insisted on a political solution, and he supported my statement. there were others who opposed it and that is why in none of the statements issued by the international syria support group you have the sirnl statement there is no military solution. you don't have it. >> rose: do you think the united states -- >> don't believe a word of what i say. read the statements. read the statements. >> rose: do you believe the united states thinks as a military solution -- >> no, the united states doesn't. there are others, your friends who believe it. so what i'm saying you ask me
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whether the united states wants this, i'm telling you i don't know. i'm not saying it doesn't. i say i talk to president putin. i know that president putin wants to find a peaceful solution to syria because it doesn't serve our interests, it doesn't serve their interests, but that the united states is prepared to do it, ask somebody who has talked to president trump recently, i have. > >> rose: nor have i. ( laughter ) we'll end on this note and take questions from this audience. you mentioned in an a.p. interview the possibility of exchange of prisoners. can you help us understand that? as you know, americans are concerned about americans in prison in iran. >> yeah, i know, and i'm concerned about both americans and -- >> rose: i know you are. -- and i'm concerned about the iranians in prison including a pregnant lady who has been in prison elsewhere outside the united states on an extradition request by the united states for
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a technical vie lags of sanctions that no longer exist eight years ago, and she is even not being granted bay to live with her husband as they expect their baby. >> rose: clearly the united states will argue about people they believe are held wrongfully in iran. my question goes to the positive side of this. what's the possibility? are there names exchanged? >> no. >> rose: why not? i don't know. unfortunately. >> rose: you're the foreign minister of iran. >> yes, but not the foreign minister of the united states. it takes two to tango. with the previous administration, we had extensive discussions and we were able to exchange some prisoners. not all our prisoners were released. i'm telling you, all american prisoners many iran were released. not all iranian prisoners in the
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united states were released. we still have some in the united states. we have some elsewhere, and we have not unfortunately been able to engage in an exchange. the government of iran has no authority over our judiciary, but we have authority under specific circumstances to negotiate. that opportunity has not been made to date. >> rose: but you hope it will be? >> i'm willing to look at it when it is. >> rose: before i close, i want to give you an opportunity, anything you want to say that you have not been able to say in terms of your vigorous defense of the government of iran. you have a long relationship here in mencht you have been in this country many times. you speak our language, you understand our culture, and we appreciate you being on this stage here at the asia society very much. you are my friend. i've enjoyed this long association, and i appreciate and i want to end by giving you
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an opportunity to say anything that you feel like i have not understood or you want to say -- >> no, i believe there is no reason that the international situation, our region would suffer under these circumstances. i believe through dialogue they can be -- there can be accommodation. i believe that the threats that we face in our region from extremism to water shortage, from sandstorms to people dying from cholera in yemen, requires all of us to work together. we have nothing against working with our neighbors to achieve greater security. we believe that security can only come from within, from within the countries and within the region. we believe that the best -- i
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mean, we can choose a lot of things, but we cannot choose our neighbors. we may have differences, we may have grievances, and, believe me, if you are suggesting we sit around the table and discuss regional issues, i'm sure the list of iranian drivenses would far exceed the list by the other side. but -- >> rose: and they should be on the table. >> yes, they should be on the table, and we have been prepared in the past to put them on the table. unfortunately, there are others who believe they can stay behind the cover of a small screen. i think that has not served anybody's purpose for the last 40 years. i don't think it will serve anybody. look at the situation in our region. we made the right choices. i'm not trying to boast because we live in a very dangerous neighborhood. >> rose: that's important.
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i believe it is important. i believe there is no reason we shouldn't talk to our neighbors. we should talk to our neighbors, an we have done everything possible. don't give them that small screen. >> rose: pleasure to see you. thank you for coming. ( applause ) >> rose: on behalf of the asia society, i thank foreign minister gave jav javad zarif fs conversation which i hope sen lightning to people trying to understand people who play a crucial role in finding a better world. thank you for joining us. see you next time. ( applause ) >> rose: for more about this program and earlier episodes, visit us online at pbs.org and charlierose.com.
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captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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>> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by: >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. >> you're watching pbs.
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hello and welcome to "kqed newsroom." i'm thuy vu. coming up on today's program, tensions continue to mount between north korea and the u.s. i'll talk with uc berkeley professor john yu about how technology is changing the rules for war. and the gop's proposal for tax reform. how will it affect the richest and the poorest californians? but first we look at a debate that's flared up again in the sports world. since last weekend, nfl players locked arms to protest president trump's criticism of athletes who kneel in protest during the national anthem. >> wouldn't you love to see one of these nfl owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say get that son of a [ bleep ] off the field right now? out. he's fired. >> professional athletes in er

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