tv Meet the Press MSNBC July 13, 2014 11:00am-12:01pm PDT
temptation comes in many heart-pounding forms. but only one letter. "f". the performance marque from lexus. next on "meet the press," the middle east in turmoil. is a high stakes crisis for president obama. from war in gaza to the threat from iran, this morning i'll ask former u.s. mideast enjoy martin indyk what a potential ground invasion for gaza means for the future. my exclusive interview in vienna, with iran's foreign minister. his tough words for israel and resistance to u.s. demands in crucial nuclear talks. he insists iran will not dismantle nuclear capacity because it has no interest in making the bomb. back home the politics of the immigration crisis. can the president find agreement with republicans to stop the flow of illegal immigrants.
>> announcer: from nbc news in washington, this is "meet the press" with david gregory. >> good morning. israel is stepping up its attacks on gaza despite international pressure for a cease fire. for the first time, evidence of a potential ground invasion as israel briefly send commandos into gaza and warned some residents to evacuate their homes. palestinian authorities saying more than 170 people have been killed. in israel air raid sirens as far north as tel aviv are sounding as hamas continues to launch rockets into the country causing damage and injuries but no deaths. i'm joined by martin indyk in his first television interview since stepping down last month as the obama administration mideast envoy. he served as u.s. -- america's ambassador to israel during the clinton administration. nice to see you. thanks for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> so what is next? what's the calculation? is it a ground invasion to stop the hamas rocket fire? >> i think prime minister netanyahu is extremely reluctant
to go in on the ground, doesn't see how that is -- can really serve israel's purposes. what he wants is an end to the rocket fire, and he's looking for ways to pressure hamas to do that, pushing now civilians out of the northern parts of gaza so as to try to put pressure on hamas from the civilian population and give him room to try to clean up the rocket firing launches, but he's a very cautious man when it comes to using force, and i think he's very reluctant to go in, and in a sense hamas knows that, and so the bluff of mobilizing all of these tanks is not working in terms of getting hamas to stop the firing. >> the backdrop here is a horrible breakdown in the peace process that you were in the middle of and tried to advance at the behest of secretary kerry and president obama, and now you have an unraveled situation that unravels further. what does american leadership
have to look like now? is it to press for a cease-fire? >> is it to constrain israel? >> it's to press for a cease-fire. i don't think there's a problem on the israeli side. they will agree to a cease-fire. the problem is how do you get hamas to agree to a cease-fire? they're looking for something they can claim as a victory and they're looking for somebody to pay for the salaries of hamas people in gaza because they've been cut off from their natural sources of nephews by the egyptians. so the whole question is how do you leverage hamas? i think president obama and secretary kerry want very much a cease-fire and are willing to do what they can to achieve that, but until hamas decides it's going to call off the rocket fire, it's hard to see how this comes to an end. >> there's probably agreement among israel, even the palestinian leadership, it's important for people to understand, president abbas, egypt as well, that they would like hamas to go, and then maybe there's chance for peace between israel and the palestinians. what does that take to get that to happen? >> i think you're right, that
this is a strange confluence of agreement that hamas is the problem for egypt, palestinian authority under mahmoud abbas, and israel, but to actually change things, take control away from hamas in gaza would require a major ground operation by israel, clean out hamas with its 20,000 militia and all of those rockets, and then perhaps have u.n. come in and take control and hand over to the palestinian authority. that kind of stirring up of the status quo with all of the costs involved is something that, notwithstanding a confluence of interests, none of the parties are prepared to -- >> in less than a minute now you said a fundamental lack of trust and even just bad blood between the palestinians and the israeli leaders caused the peace process to break down. what did you mean? >> well, i think beyond that what we can see is all of those factors were operating, but
essentially what we discovered was that secretary kerry strongly believed that the status quo was unsustainable. he's being proven right yet again today. but what we discovered was that the status quo was actually sustainable for the two leaders more than for us, and that's why we really couldn't achieve a break through, and that's what we're seeing at the moment again, that maintaining the status quo is less costly in terms of political risk and in this case loss of life than really shaking it up and making peace, and the problem with that situation is it becomes a chronic situation there in which a preference for the status quo leaves a vacuum that's filled by extremists and violence, and then the parties try to clamp some stability back on, but there's no fundamental break through to the kind of risky, costly decisions necessary to achieve peace. we're ready to do that when they're ready, but we can't do it without them being ready for
it. >> martin indyk, thank you so much for your perspective this morning. very interesting you think they will be restrained on the part of an israeli ground invasion potentially into gaza. martin, thank you so much. i want to turn to more foreign policy challenges facing president obama. israel on the brink as we've discussed with hamas. isis terrorists control large parts of iraq and syria. and the threat from iran, is it pursuing nuclear weapons? this morning secretary of state john kerry arrived in vienna to take part in high level talks. i travelled to vienna for a wide ranging interview with iran's foreign minister javad zarif who has extensive experience on the world stage. i started by asking the foreign minister why iran is determined to keep its extensive nuclear a capacity if it claims it doesn't want a nuclear bomb? >> actually i think what we have said should give confidence to people that we're not looking for nuclear weapons.
we have said that our entire nuclear energy program can fit in a very clear and well-defined picture, that is, we want to produce fuel for our own nuclear react, nuclear power react, and we have a contract that provides for that reactor but that contract ex triers in seven, eight years. >> but reupping that is not a problem as the americans have told you, right? >> well, actually, it's more complicated than you think. the united states built the reactor for us in the 1950s, and for the past 20 years we've been searching all over the world for fuel for that reactor, and the united states has not only not provided the fuel itself, but has prevented others from providing fuel to iran to the point that a few years ago, three, four years ago, we had to
announce that if you're not giving us 20% fuel for the american-built reactor in tehran, we have to produce it ourselves. they thought we couldn't do it, but we did it, and now that reactor is running on iranian fuel. we want to be able to work with the international community. we want to ensure that nobody is concerned about iran's nuclear -- >> so to that point, if that's what you want to do, it's important our audience understands, we talk about centrifuges and nuclear power. centrifuges is how you enrich urani uranium. enriching uranium is the key component of making a nuclear weapon if it's done at a certain speed and then it's weaponized. if you want to say to the international community, we don't want a nuclear weapon, are you prepared to dismantle a good portion of the nuclear capacity, the number of centrifuges, you now have? >> i don't think it would do the job. as somebody who has worked all his life for nonproliferation, i can tell you that the best way
to ensure that iran will never break away, will never break out is to allow an internationally monitored nuclear program because we have the technology. we have the know-how, we have the equipment. so the only way realistically to deal with this is to have a genuinely peaceful program that can be work ed in transparent fashion without the need for imposing arbitrary restrictions. >> but, minister, with respect, the international community is divided about a lot of things. they're actually not divided about one thing. they think iran is up to no good and wants to build a nuclear weapon. so why not say definitively that you will eliminate the bulk of your capacity, the bulk of your centrifuges to say to the world, we really won't fight, we really won't build a weapon. >> first of all, let's define international community. the day i went to the meeting of 5 plus 1 in new york, they said we represent the international
community and i told them, i'm coming to you from chairing a meeting of 130 countries where iran is the chairman and they support us. they believe -- actually 180-some members of the npt believe and they repeatedly said it in 1990 and in 2010 that countries' choices of their fuel cycle should be respected. so it's not the international community. it's a few countries who have concerns, and we are talking to them in order to address those concerns, but those concerns, there are international criteria in order to address those concerns, and we have given them opportunities to find resolutions, realistic resolutions, in order to address those concerns. one of those is to phase as the leader pointed out, that we don't need this capacity tomorrow. we can produce this capacity over a length of time, and we are prepared to work with 5 plus 1, with members of the 5 plus 1,
with others in order to make sure that the confidence is created. >> but you won't commit to a specific number of centrifuges. another way of saying is you won't commit to dismantling the bulk of your capacity. >> no, i will commit to everything and anything that would provide credible assurances to the international community that iran is not seeking nuclear weapons because we are not. we don't see any benefit in iran developing a nuclear weapon. >> how could you not see a benefit? i mean, you're a shia state surrounded by sunni states, many of whom are your enemies. you know full well the deterrent factor that a nuclear country like pakistan can wield in the international community. you can have more of the influence regionally. cynics would say why wouldn't you want a nuclear weapon? >> actually, all these calculations are wrong. in fact, we need to go out of our way in order to convince our
neighbors that we want to live in peace and tranquility with them because the politics of geography, the fact that we're bigger, the fact that we're stronger, the fact that we're more populist, the fact that we have a better technology, the fact that our human resources is by far more developed than most of our neighbors, all of these provide us with inherent areas of strength that we don't need to augment with other capabilities, and that is why -- that is why nobody considers our neighbors in pakistan as a stronger force in the region than iran simply because they have nuclear weapons. in fact, i believe nuclear weapons reduces countries' influence in our region. it doesn't help anybody. the fact that everybody in the international community believes that mutual assured destruction, that is the way the united
states, russia, and others seek peace and security, through having the possibility of destroying each other 100 times over is simply mad, and that is why i do not believe that you need to inculcate this mentality that nuclear weapons make anybody safe. have they made pakistan safe? have they made israel safe? have they made the united states safe? have they made russia safe? all these countries are septemberible. 9/11 proved that no amount of military power makes you safe. we need to live in a different paradigm and that's what we're calling for. >> let me ask you about a couple areas. let's talk about the war in gaza. iran has supported hamas in the past. rockets that are being fired into israel, israel believes were actually provided by iran. how do you see the situation playing out? >> well, it is extremely regrettable that people are being killed.
hundreds of innocent men, women, and children have been slaughtered, almost 100 people have been killed, over 500 have been wounded in gaza, and the united states is not taking any action. we know that all the weapons that are used by israel in order to attack civilians in gaza have been provided by the united states, and we don't see any move by the united states to condemn that. >> what about hamas firing rockets into israel. >> to use the security council in order to put an end to this. we call for an immediate end to all these activities. >> you condemn hamas? >> we do not condemn people who are defending themselves. we believe that actions that are putting civilians in jeopardy in gaza, that have placed restrictions on civilians to get access to medicine, to food, have tried to starve the civilians in gaza, need to be vehemently condemned by the
international community. the united states and the rest of the members of the security council have a moral and legal responsibility to put an end to this, and we regret the fact they haven't taken any action in order to address this. >> well, more of my exclusive interview later in the program as foreign minister za riff talks about iran's influence in iraq and the threat from isis terrorists as well in that region. but now i want to turn to the politics of the immigration crisis, a big story over the last couple weeks here in washington. thousands of unaccompanied children continue to cross the u.s. border. the president pressuring congress now to help him fix the problem, requesting $3.7 billion in emergency funds. i've got two key members of congress to talk about this. first here with me the republican congressman mike rogers from michigan, chair of the house intelligence committee. chairman, it's good to have you here. what is working with the president here look like to find a solution? >> obviously, when this happened certainly appear that is most of the parties have gone to their mutual corners, if you will, and we've got to get through that.
but more importantly, the president has tools in his toolbox that he can do immediately to stop this. so dianne feinstein, the co-author of the bill that allowed for these folks who are not from mexico or canada that bring minors into the country, not be deported right away, there's circumstances, and she believes as the co-author that would allow them to immediately and responsibly get these children back to their home countries, and that's where the president needs to start. so he needs to re-engage. get folks who are doing administrative work on the border, they need to make sure they send a very clear signal. here is the interesting thing, this is a bipartisan issue. hillary clinton says if you want to stop this, you need to start sending these kids back to let people know don't put them in the criminal pipeline to come into america. certainly dianne feinstein thinks there's a way for the president -- >> the majority of them have to go back home is your point. >> think about what we're doing. this isn't a walk in the park to get from el salvador or honduras into the united states. these are criminal gangs. these are organized criminal gangs.
these kids are subject to sexual exploitation. they're subject to drug exposure. some of them are being recruited or pressed into gangs along the way. we're losing these kids along the way. and imagine the experience -- >> but doesn't that raise the point of why just turn them away? do you not have to come up with a process that can more safely return them? >> we can safely get them home. the problem is by encouraging the behavior that you see and not stopping this attitude -- >> but who is encouraging the bea hafer? is it unfair to say the president is encouraging -- >> the policy on the border is certainly encouraging this behavior. if i believe i can pay a criminal gang, think of that, to take my children through some very dangerous circumstances to get to the united states and then they're going to open up with loving arms and keep those kids, you're encouraging that behavior. and right now -- >> but that goes back to the 2008 law, right? doesn't -- >> no, i disagree. even dianne feinstein, democrat from california, said that's just not right. that's a wrong interpretation of his authority to get those kids back home safely and humanely.
but think about it, now all our command energy is on this. all the border folks are trying to figure this out and how to put them around the rest of the country. that time and energy is better spent trying to get them back home and it's better for the children. you don't want kids exposed to this sex trafficking and drug use and again some of those kids are being recruited for gang use, press gang type activities in these criminal organizations all on that route up to the united states. >> do you lament -- you're going to be leaving politics. do you lament the republican party's stand on immigration reform, on an unwillingness to come together to find some path to -- a path to citizenship for those illegal immigrants here, to somehow fix some of these problems? >> to say this is a republican problem -- >> it's a republican political problem for sure in elected politics, is it not? >> but the democrats have the same problem. and so i think there's a way to move forward on this that's responsible. most americans -- i mean it's off the charts say secure the
borders first. think of this, this is a problem that we talk about and it certainly has serious consequences. by the way, the public health security problem is now growing. we're going to have the highest number of measles cases than we have in over a decade and 97% of those cases have been imported. but secondly on this, you have -- so you have a national security problem, a public health problem. we have from ten countries of interest, afghans, pakistanis, saudis, other places, sudan, somalia, iraq, iran, we know that those individuals are using the southern border to infiltrate the united states. that is a serious national security issue, and why all our focus has been on this, guess what? they're taking advantage of that opportunity. >> we'll watch that as well. chairman rogers, always good to have your views. thanks so much for being here. let me turn to the democrats here. democratic congressman joaquin castro of texas joins me now. congressman, you're from texas, you were your governor, governor perry has been in the news a lot. two years ago he wrote the
administration and says we have an influx of illegal immigrants trying to get into the border. why didn't the administration do a better job of heading this off before it got to this point? >> the fact is, david, that the administration has been trying to work with congress to pass an immigration reform bill for over two years, and so it's been folks in congress, and specifically in the house of representatives, who have not moved forward on a bill that would have helped us prevent some of the things we're seeing on the border now. >> but you've got democrats saying now additional money, changes to the law is not what they want. there are democrats who are feeling pressure from immigration reform folks on the left saying, you can't deport these people, that is not the humane thing to do. >> well, that's because that 2008 law passed under george w. bush was passed for a reason because the problems with sex trafficking are real, and also, david, because many people believe that these kids should have a chance to make their case for asylum. so i think we've got to be careful when we consider
completely doing away with that law. >> so you don't support what the president is saying here, which is the majority -- even the children, need to be deported? >> well, i think that -- those are the decisions for an immigration judge to make, not for the president or myself or any member of congress. that's the decision the judge will make, but the point is that these folks need to be given a chance to go to court and argue their case, and i think it also raises a question of who we consider to be a refugee in america in the 21st century, and that's a very tough question for us, and it tugs at our conscien conscience. >> in less than a minute, even democrats have said this is a katrina moment for president obama. it wasn't handled well, hasn't been handled competently. do you agree? >> no. the fact is this was not the president's last opportunity to get to the border. i think you will see him go down
there. i think that it's important for him to get down there at some point, and, you know, to let people know that he personally is attending to the situation. jeh johnson has been down there five or six times. he's keeping the president apprised of everything, but also, david, to say thank you to the people of texas who have offered food, clothing, shelter, everything that they can to these kids to be helpful. >> all right. congressman castro, we'll leave it there. thank you so much for your time. >> thank you. coming up next, our political round table debates this already scorching political summer in washington. we've been talking about the issues, foreign policy troubles, this immigration debate, even the republicans suing the president. >> he's been president for 5 1/2 years. when is he going to take responsibility for something? >> best thing you can say for him this year is they haven't shut down the government so far. >> announcer: "meet the press" is brought to you by boeing, where the drive to build something better inspires us
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coming up here, our political round table, plus a summer of opportunity for cleveland, ohio. first, the gop picks the city for its 2016 convention, and then lebron james announces he'll be coming home. our "meeting america" series on the city's renaissance. >> announcer: "meet the press" is brought to you by the morgan stanley institute for sustainable investing. avo: waves don't care what age you are.
convention. in "meeting america" kevin tibbles asks how cleveland is beating the odds snp. >> lbj. >> reporter: happy days appear to be here again for a rust belt city once the butt of america's jokes. the triumphant return of lebron james is just the latest sign brawny, blue collar cleveland is fighting back. the steel mills once again flex their muscles. global giant ars lor mittel has 2,000 employees and is hiring more. mike trains them. >> i saw my dad coming down here and ever since i was little, i wanted to work through her. provided for my family. put five of us through college. >> reporter: you can't build a city without beer says patrick conway. he along with his brother own
great lakes lakes breweriingbre. they are also expanding. locating next to lake erie's fresh water made sense. >> this is our yosemite. in over 90% of beer is water or in the case of bud light, 99%. >> reporter: restaurants and bars line streets that just a few years ago were derelict and dangerous. it is a cleveland in renaissance driven by health care and manufacturing, the republican convention will visit in 2016. >> republican party felt that why don't we be part of a city that's on the upswing. >> reporter: still, there is a ways to go. the slavic village neighborhood was devastated by the foreclosure crisis and many of the scars remain. but here, too, new building and hope. are you glad you fought for this community? >> absolutely. >> christian tobin and her family stuck it out. >> everyone goes through something negative in their life. it's what you do in that adversity that makes you or
breaks you. >> reporter: as for the prodigal son's return to the cavaliers, the time has come to kiss and make up. >> it's like a bad breakup, an ex is an ex for a reason, but, you know, cleveland is forgiving because whatever is best for the cavs, whatever is best for cleveland, that's what we're going to do. >> reporter: the king is back, lo long live the king, and his town. for "meet the press," kevin tibbles. >> and the round table is here. rick santorum, 2012 republican presidential candidate, former senator from pennsylvania. jennifer granholm, former democratic governor of michigan. kim strassel from "the wall street journal" and for the first time on the program we'd like to welcome stephen henderson editor of the detroit free press, winner of the pulitzer prize this year. rick santorum, if you're a candidate in 2016 and you go to the convention in cleveland, do you praise lebron for making a good political move here? >> look, i'm a pittsburgher.
cleveland and pittsburgh, very tough rivalry, like sibling rivalries but when you're brother does well, you really are excited, and i'm so excited for cleveland. it's a great blue collar town. good move for him. >> good legacy move or does he look bad? >> i think the fact he said i'm going to go back there and talk about hard work and contribute to my community, those are all very positive things. a lot of good mojo going for cleveland. >> stephen -- >> going home. that's something i did. i worked in washington for five years and went home to detroit where my work could matter more. >> the prodigal son is the prodigal son. >> an unfair someone at bud light, which is my favorite. >> long interview. you aired it. >> jennifer granholm, let me ask you about the challenges the president is facing. he loses the shot at getting immigration reform and now this border crisis and getting a lot of heat from even those in his own party that he's not engaged
enough. he's not on the border looking at it. >> it's ridiculous to think a photo-op is going to result in policy. what's going to result in policy is the republicans in the house actually giving him what he's asking for, which is really what everybody is asking for. they want a quick due process. they want to be able to deport those who are appropriate quickly. they want to be able to make sure people are treated humanely on the border so we don't look like the poster child of some third world country refugee camp. we want to make sure there's a message sent to central america. and they want the border secure. all five of those things democrats and republicans want. so there should be no reason -- >> then what's holding it up, kim stras snel. >> the president here -- people are talking about the photo-op. the mistakes were made earlier in this in that he has really set back the cause of immigration reform in this way. the republicans, and it's been a bit of a phony excuse saying the border is not secure, so this presidential action on daca, the deferred action, it has inspired
a lot of people to run up to the border now and it's given republicans an additional reason to say this is why we can't do reform. now, they bear responsibility for not taking a vote on this as well. but if the president really cares about immigration reform, some of his executive actions in the past have really helped deter this. >> it seems to me, rick santorum, part of this is what kind of country do we want to be? you have a lot of tension about the circumstances for some, especially children are going through to get here and why they want to be here versus, you know, people in communities on the border and beyond saying we just can't absorb all these folks? >> first off, i disagree with kim. the border is not secure. it's obviously not secure. the idea that the republicans have a phony thing that the border is not secure. it's not phony. >> people are not coming up here to sneak over. the kids are saying take me into detention. >> that's because we have a president who said, hey, if you come, you're going to be able to stay because we're not going to enforce the law -- >> no, he did not say that. he did not say that.
>> stephen, answer that point because they obviously push back hard on that. >> i think what the president was saying is for people who know no other country than this one, this should be home, and you should not be sent away. that's not the same as inviting -- >> you're saying no other country. these are people who came here illegally so they obviously knew no other country -- >> and children -- >> they didn't say decades. they said if they're here. once they get here, they're going to be here and then there will be those children who know no other country. that was the message that was sent. obviously the message was sent because -- >> don't you think the bigger picture -- >> can i -- >> isn't the bigger picture about a country, the sons and daughters of imgrapts sitting around this table saying to other people who want no more or less than what your family had, the opportunity to be a part of the greatest nation on earth and we're saying to them with our broader policy that we aren't going to welcome that -- >> first off, we are accepting more legal immigrants --
>> from some countries. >> it's from the very countries that people have been coming from because most of immigration is tied to people who are already here. >> let me get into -- just as the president wants some action on this with congress, we've got the specter of congress suing the president, talk of impeach am, that boehner struck down. but this is becoming a huge fund-raising opportunity on both sides, kim strassel. to what end are we seeing all this? >> there's been a lot of talk about whether or not john boehner didn't do this to gin up his base this fall, but i think that that's actually unfair. if you look at the suit they're putting together, there's actually been a lot of attention and focus doing in a very legally specific way because there's a huge belief among republicans that, in fact, the president has been exceeding his authority. so they're going to do this in a narrow way. they're going to look at this particular question of the employer mandate and the fact that the law very clearly said it had to go into effect at a certain time and the president has unilaterally changed that. there's a lot of substance
behind this. politics is second. >> if a republican president were taking these steps on the affordable care act, democrats would be crying foul. >> except for george bush took these very steps when he passed medicare part d and took some time to implement pieces of it. nobody raised it by then. this case is complete hogwash. it is -- >> that's a legal term, right? >> a legal scholar at yale says it's the legal equivalent of birtherism. it's not going to fly. but the reality is does anybody see the irony in the fact that john boehner's house voted last year 264-161 to actually delay the very provision that he's suing to have the president enforce right now? there is a bit of irony in this. >> rick, can you answer for me kind of where you see this year in republican presidential politics? i ask this as a piece of that debate. the party on immigration, the party debating itself over foreign policy, national
security policy, and then these kinds of grassroots issues on health care and the like. >> yeah, this is -- i talked about it across the country. we're a very divided party right now and i don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. we're having really good debates within the party about our position on national security, our position on immigration, a whole lot of other things. what we need though is a positive vision. one of the reasons i wrote "blue collar conservatives" just recently was to provide a positive way forward for the conservative movement because right now we're arguing about a lot of things that not, in my opinion, core to where the american public's concerns are and the american public's concerns are lower income americans aren't rising, aren't seeing the opportunities, and that's what we have to focus on. >> one of the issues is the president's leadership. this question of iran and its nuclear weapons. even if there is a deal, kim, there's going to be a tough sell to congress to say, okay, we think we got a deal with iran, we should ease up on the sanctions. it doesn't seem like either party is very willing to let the
president get that deal. >> this has been a good example of bipartisan in congress. both in the senate and in the house. democrats and republicans, they don't want to go backward. they want tougher sanctions. >> does it resonate at home for you, this idea of the threat from iran and whether they have a nuclear weapon? >> absolutely. i think anyone on the globe thinks that we don't need more nuclear states in general and we certainly don't need this state which has shown itself to be irresponsible. the interview you had earlier today shows how irrational the think something. >> do you believe them? you've been -- you worked on these issues long and hard in congress. >> we were in the green room watching your interview and democrats, republicans, all laughing -- >> not at you. >> well. no, we were laughing at him saying he must have the toughest job going out there bald face irrational lying. nobody on either side of the aisle believes these are trustworthy partners.
>> the republicans have an internal debate as we've seen -- >> they do. >> with the missive that rick perry just lobbed against rand paul on friday calling him an isolationist. they have to resolve their own internal -- >> i'm with rick perry on that. >> break out the popcorn as we watch what happens. >> it's a legitimate debate. i know where the republicans are going to come down. >> we'll take a break. coming up, the terrorist threat from the group known as isis. more of my interview with iran's foreign minister. why he says that that terrorist group must be driven from iraq and syria coming up. shut down in america. there's no reason we can't manufacture in the united states. here at timbuk2, we make more than 70,000 custom bags a year, right here in san francisco. we knew we needed to grow internationally, and syria coming up.
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broader middle east, particularly whether the u.s. and iran are now unlikely allies in iraq. let me ask you about iraq. how will iran use its influence there? news nuri al maliki have to go? >> we believe that's a question and the decision the iraqis will have to make. >> but nobody believes you don't have tremendous influence -- >> we do have tremendous influence because we have followed correct policies. we have followed the choices of the people in afghanistan, in iraq, in the rest of the region, and that is why we exercise great influence there. not because we have military power, not because we try to control people, but because we try to respect people. and my advice to the united states would be do the same, try to respect the iranians, try to respect the iraqis, try to respect people in our region and it works much better for your interests and for the future. so that respect requires us to do two things. first of all, now there is a very dangerous terrorist in iraq
which does not target only the shia population in iraq but targets every member of the iraqi -- >> you're talking about isis. >> so-called islamic state of iraq and syria. it has killed more sunnis in syria than it has killed shias and it is putting more sunnis in jeopardy in iraq than it has put shias. so we need to address that very serious problem which is going to be a major security problem, not just for iraq, but for saudi arabia, for syria, for turkey, for everybody. >> for iran as well. >> for iran as well. >> which begs the question, does iran feel that it is in common cause with the united states for the future of iraq? would you like to see it stay together? do you think it will break apart? >> i believe iraq, it is in the interest of everybody, and i mean everybody, in the interest of stability in our region to keep territorial integrity of iraq, to keep iraq one.
all attempts to break out are short-sighted and will harm even those who are trying to do it. notice the interests of not only iran but the united states and all other -- >> how do iran and the united states come together to defeat isis? >> we need to agree on principles. principles are we need to respect the choices of the iraqi people. we need to use whatever influence that we have in iraq as well as in afghanistan, for instance, in order to convince various forces inside the country that the best way to move forward is through inclue sift, is through working together and that is the cause we have made to every element of iraqi society. we are in contact with various people inside iraq. we have been in contact before this very horrific incident of the attack by isis, and we continue to call on all forces in iraq to work together to form an inclusive government that represents and respects the
wishes of the iraqi people. now, whoever the iraqi politic, the iraqi parliament is come up with as the speaker of the parliament iran will respect as a neighboring country with influence. our advice to them is not to pick this man over this person, but our advice to them is to pick a government that can represent the entire iraq and that can bring peace and stability to the region. >> 170,000 people have been killed in syria, a third of them civilians. why does iran continue to support the assad regime? >> the question is why the united states continues to support forces like isis that are wrecking havoc in this region. this is the problem. the united states and some of its -- >> is that fair to say that the united states is supporting isis? >> no, no, the united states is supporting those who are trying to dismantle syria, to destroy
syria using these tactics. you cannot pick and choose. this is the reality -- >> isn't that what iran is doing? >> this is the reality of the situation in syria. we have called from the very beginning to respect the will of the syrian people, to allow the syrian people to determine their future, to allow the syrian people to use political processes in order to obtain the objective. >> but, minister, this is the force of assad's fist. it's not the will of the people, is it? >> no, it's not. the number of syrians who turned out to vote in lebanon were not worried about assad's fist. the problem is we're not supporting any individual or any specific group. what we are saying is why don't the united states abandon this idea of putting preconditions on the syrian people about who they should decide to govern them? let the syrian people, let a political process form, let the syrian people have the will and have the chance to determine their own future. you want this for yourself.
have the respect -- that's i think in our region that's the key word. have the respect to allow people to make their own decisions. don't make our decisions for us. let us make our own decisions and we will have a much more secure and better world. >> let me come back to where we began with a final question on the nuclear talks. you've said repeatedly it's so important for the west and america to respect iran. it seems like a big issue for america and the west is trust of iran. and there's several points that seem to go to that mistrust. efforts to conceal nuclear facilities by iran, inspectors sill haven't gotten access to a facility near tehran. iran has studied how long it would take to actually produce a weapon, so that mindset has been there. and president rouhani has written in his book, talking three years ago, about how in the past he would negotiate with the west to buy time so that iran could further develop its nuclear program. if you take those things
together, can you understand how people feel like there's something going on here that iran doesn't want the world to see. >> well, if i may, first of all, all of these did not happen in vacuum. why did iran need to conceal its program? because the minute -- everything we did was lawful, but the minute we made it public, the united states would try to prevent our access to various facilities, to various -- even to fuel for its own built reactor, the united states prevented it. nobody can question we own uranium enrichment facilities outside of iran but we haven't been able to get a gram. you're talking about the facility -- when the united states talk about bombing iranian facilities out of existence, what do you expect iran to do? iran would create a facility that is not susceptible to being bombed. that is what any rational
country would do. it's not that we want to build nuclear weapons in that facility. it's our program, you're threatening -- not you, the united states government and israel is threatening to attack it, to use bunker busters to destroy it, so we need to take it to a place that can cannot be destroyed. so you talk about other facilities. if you are a cancer patient in iran raid yo ice tops for treatment. you cannot get it. you can get one dose after going through several different procedures and you continue do that now because all the banks have been bullied by the united states not to take money. you have to buy a single dose to radio isotopes to treat a cancer patient. you put a country with the human resources with scientists, most
of american -- of iranian scientists working in the united states are among the best. we have the intellectual capacity. a country with all of this with the wealth, with the resources, you deprive it of the ability to gain access to international markets and then you expect it to simply sit and die quietly. it won't happen. what we need to do is to establish a new paradigm. that new paradigm is to provide incent ti incentives for iran to stick to our strategic doctrine that we do not need nuclear weapons but we cannot be deprived of the science and technology that the rest of the world has. i can assure you, i can assure you that within the next 11 days we can reach an agreement that would put all the consent, all the consents that are serious -- if you want not to be allayed of
your concern, then you will never be allayed, but if you want to address these concerns, then all he's concerns can be addressed. if we're talking about even a hypothetical breakout, we can extend this breakout to over three to four years, not to three to four months but in reality to three to four years in every aspect of our nuclear program so that it will not be even conceivable for people to go for a bomb. we are prepared to do all of that but in a realistic framework and we have presented ideas about it. we are engaged in very serious discussions with our partners in 5 plus 1. i hope that they are working on the basis of realities and not on the basis of illusions. >> we'll leave it there. foreign minister, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> the foreign minister of iran, my exclusive interview in vienna. jeffrey goldberg is here, national correspondent for "the atlantic." a lot of our audience may not
have heard foreign minister zarif in that kind of detail. >> it's a breathtaking interview. breathtakingly audacious. let's take syria as one example. his government, the iranian government, is the prime supporter of the assad ra seem which used chemical weapons and barrel bombs to murder among others thousands of children, innocent children. more than 9,000 children have been murdered by the assad regime. so, i mean, put aside everything else, just that alone -- >> and the iraq issue stood out to you as well. >> this is one of the cosmic jokes of this -- of what he's say something for years the iranian government was directly responsible for killing probably 1,500 american soldiers in iraq. now all they want is for america to come back and kill iran's sunni enemies. so, i mean, there's an audacity to many of the things he said. >> so this whole debate about iran nuclear weapons, they have nuclear capacity, they say they don't want a weapon. we talked about the politics of
selling this to preside. >> this is a country that destabilizes the entire region. let's not forget, this country is considered the prime sponsor, state sponsor of terrorism in the world by the obama state department. so do you want the prime state sponsor of terrorism in the world to have nuclear weapons? obviously -- >> and you think they want the weapons. >> they have spent billions and billions on devilling international continental ballistic missiles. there's only one reason to have missiles and these to put nuclear warheads on them. we know from every intelligence agency around the world, they obviously are trying to get to the point where they can reach the nuclear threshold and break out if they want. that's why these negotiations are so important. >> and they may not work here in the end. >> what we know is that because of the pressure of the obama administration and congress and the international community, the iranians agreed to go to negotiations. what we don't know is whether
the supreme leader, the guy he works for, would ever agree to dismantle those programs. >> and that's the key issue. you cover the region widely. so thanks for that reality check this morning. a note here, you can also see an extended version of the interview with foreign minister zarif on our website metthepress.com. i ask about internet freedom or the lack there in iran. we're back in 60 seconds with a big question that will drive the political conversation in washington this week. owner, ite owner, ite one thing i've learned is my philosophy is real simple american express open forum is an on-line community, that helps our members connect and share ideas to make smart business decisions. if you mess up, fess up. be your partners best partner. we built it for our members, but it's open for everyone. there's not one way to do something. no details too small. american express open forum. this is what membership is. this is what membership does.
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finally from us, the week's big question if politics. the politicings of immigration. the president's ka tree know moment or a republican duge. >> i think the president not going to the border is the same thing as george bush flying over new orleans. i think you have to be there, you have to pay attention, you have to care. >> is that just a photo-op or something more meaningful? >> you have to get the substance of the question. give us your poor, your tired, your huddled masses. >> what does america stand for. the politics still tough for the gop. >> people are trying to separate this out from comprehensive immigration reform. >> this is now a problem for the president on the left. >> i do think it is the gop's katrina moment because they -- >> congressman cass tros disagree was the president's approach. >> i don't know that he does. i think everybody agrees in the same principles apply but i think the gop failing to do what the president is asking and
failing on immigration is a problem for them. >> we have to go. thank you to all of you. you can weigh in on our facebook page. that's all for today. we'll be back next week. if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." you don't sleep at night. you are worried about, you know, what's going to happen next, if it's going to be anything around your area. >> new fears in the crisis in the middle east. thousands are leaving their homes in gaza after israeli forces warned of air strikes. sirens are going off in israel's cities to warn of incoming rockets from gaza. we'll have live reports from that region. this is a scene that repeats itself every day, every hour along the rio grande. after this group comes in, they can expect to see another one very soon. >> a desperate journey. a steady stream of undocumented immigrants is putting resources along the border to the test. we'll have a