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tv   Melissa Harris- Perry  MSNBC  January 16, 2016 7:00am-9:01am PST

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can help prevent shingles. i have a massive heart attack oright in my driveway.d the doctor put me on a bayer aspirin regimen. be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. go talk to your doctor. you're not indestructible anymore. good morning. we have a lot to get to this morning, but first, we are following breaking news out of tehran. iranian media and "new york times" are reporting that iran is releasing four american citizens from prison today. including a "washington post" correspondent who has been in prison in iran for more than 500 days. the reports are coming in as the united nations are expected to announce any moment now that the deal has officially taken effect.
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the u.n.'s nuclear agency expected to announce in svienna that iran has complied with the deal. which according to the deal will trigger the lifting of economic sanctions on iran. u.s. secretary of state john kerry just met with his iranian counterpart to discuss details of the implementation. nbc's chief foreign correspondent richard engel joins us now from vienna. richard, what more can you tell us about what's happening this morning? >> well, there are a lot of moving parts right now. it all seems to be coming together here in vienna and in tehran. today, the reason i'm here, the reasonp people have gathered in vienna is because we are expecting momentarily really the iaea, the international atomic energy association agency, to come out and declare that iran
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has abided by the deal, that it has abided by the nuclear agreement, and sanctions should be immediately lifted. including releasing tens of billions of dollars that have been frozen. that would allow iran to re-enter the international economy, allow it to sell oil and gas products, and as we are here, literally, waiting for that announcement, the podium is already set up. news has come just in the last hour or so from tehran, from official iranian news agencies and semiofficial iranian news agencies saying that the four iranian american prisoners that iran has been holding for various lengths of time, the most famous of them, "the washington post" journalist, jason rezaian, that those four have been released in, quote, a
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prisoner swap, according to one the iranian semiofficial news agencies. we've reached out to statement department. we have not been able to confirm it. we've reached out to the families and the rezaian family through a public relations agency just put out a statement moments ago saying they have heard the same reports we have but that they cannot confirm his release either at this stage. but a lot of diplomacy coming together right now. we're expecting that iaea statement, which would trigger the end of sanctions and at the same time we are hearing this report that these iranian americans have been released. this would be an enormous coup, diplomatic coup, for secretary kerry, the obama administration. they've been heavily criticized for signing this deal with iran without securing the release of the americans. >> richard, obviously, these reports about the release of
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these prisoners, particularly mr. rezaian, are the biggest news this morning, but i want to go back to those ballistic missile test. because that was the first moment there was a great deal of critique about this deal and about the idea that this day would come and the lifting of those sanctions. so just for folks who may not sort of be able to put all those pieces together, can you put those pieces together and remind us why those tests did not keep this day from happening? >> this has been 2 1/2 years in the works. it has taken 2 1/2 years of often private, often very personal relations and negotiations between secretary kerry and his counterpart zarif. they have developed quite a trusting relationship. it has been described as. now, there has been many different stages of this negotiation. the most important one took
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place in july. and said that iran, in order to qualify, had to do several different things in order to qualify for the end of the sanctions. it had to get rid of its enriched uranium and iran says, and we're expecting to hear the u.n. say this now, that it's been rep mooed. removed, it's removed the vast amount of its enriched uranium. it destroyed its centrifuges and it's made inoperative a heavywater nuclear reactor by pouring actually concrete into the core of the reactor. all those things are key. there are also other components that you were just talking about. about research and development of nuclear missiles. about its ability to maintain arms embargoes. about its ability to allow inspections to take place. those are all things the iaea says it will continue to monitor over the next 10 to 15 years.
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but the first concrete steps that would allow the sanctions to be drawn back were those three i just mentioned. getting rid of the heavywater reactor, which stops plutonium, moving the enriched uranium out of the country and dismantling or destroying the centrifuges. the rest are issues of trust and issues of monitoring. >> thank you to nbc's richard engel in vienna on this historic day. joining us now outside the white house is nbc news ron allen. ron what are you hearing from the white house this morning? >> well, melissa, no confirmation just yet, but obviously there seems to be something happening that's very significant. which is why i wouldn't instruct the white house to say anything about all these pieces are where they need to be. that would cause the release of
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some $50 billion in sanctions money to the its rannian government, hugely significant day for them. apparently have four american prisoners who have been in jail in iran for many, many years. and we're still not sure exactly who they are. we're hearing it's four dual nationalities iranian americans. there's also robert levenson who's been in custody since as far back as '07 or so. we do not believe he is of dual citizenship so he is perhaps not included in this operation if, in fact, it is going on. that's one big question a lot of people would have. if these prisoners are on their way, this nuclear deal about to happen, it's a very, very delicate time. obviously, there's been a lot of criticism of the obama administration for signing this deal without getting the release of these prisoners. first time the deal at all for that matter, as you well know. for the next however long, it's
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a delicate time while all these places move into place. if in fact it is all true and it's all happening, it is a huge day, a significant day, not just for the american prisoners and their family bus certa, but cer the obama administration as well. >> thank you ron allen at the white house. i want to now bring in cal perry, msnbc's senior editor of video and digital content. good morning, cal. talk to me a little bit about what we're hearing. obviously, we don't yet have confirmation, but this news coming out suggesting that we're looking at a swap. now, talk to me about this language of swap. is this really just language coming out of tehran that is really face-saving news, or is this an indication there has been an actual trade? >> we don't know. we're not independently able to confirm this yet. what i can tell you is what fars news agency, the official news
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agency in iran, is reporting. they are reporting that jason rezaian, as you know from "the washington post," has been released, as well as three other americans. i'll just sort of briefly let viewers know who they are. saud abi di ni, a former pasteur. amer heckmanny, brought up on charges of espionage. that was in 2011. and we're hearing a business man who was taken into custody in october of 2015. again, all that's coming from the iranian official news agency. the other thing that's interesting is that same agency has put up a picture of a podium that is the president's podium of iran, ro houny. we are expecting we will hear the iranian president make a national address today to the american people which will led us to believe the reports are true and this is going through. we'll wait to independently confirm that. obviously, a seminal and historic moment in iran as the iranian president now prepares
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to give a national address. >> now, connect this moment, this likely release of these four americans to the moment that we've just seen with the american naval ship. >> yeah, that's one of the most interesting pieces. it would have been a completely different situation if those sailors had been taken into custody a year ago by the revolutionary guard. there's simply no way we would have seen that level of coordination between in this case the u.s. 5th glefleet whics based out of bahrain and the guard on the island in the persian gulf. instead what we saw were u.s. service members being treated very well, on iranian state television, which obviously never would have happened, again, even six months ago. so there has been a drastic warming of relations. now as we look back at that moment of course, the obvious question is going to be did they not want to hold up this deal, and is that perhaps why it did
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go so smoothly with those u.s. service members? again, let's remind our viewers we found out yesterday it appears as though, according to u.s. officials telling jim miklaszewski, that it was a navigational error. is it possible they were released much quicker because this deal was going through this saturday? i think that's quite likely. >> i want to say thank you to cal perry. we're going to be keeping our eye on this story throughout the morn. joining me here in the studio today, nina turner, former ohio state senator, raul reyes. also a contributor to nbcnews.com. also caton dawson, national republican consultant and former south carolina gop chair. and john karlo parisuti, who is a republican strategist, former press secretary to president george hw bush and former white
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house aide to karl rove during the george w. bush administration. so nice to have you all here. i'm going to start with you, john karlo, because you were shaking your head in disbelieve, you know, this is a moment obviously, so let me just say, i think in a bipartisan way, we agree if this news is true, these americans coming home and being freed, is big news in a pure human way. >> absolutely no question. full stop right there. >> full stop. >> four americans are released from being hostages. we should all rejoice in this great news. >> right. >> the curious component of this to me is the term swap. that is how this deal is being explained. a swap implies that one side gives something, another side gives something. is this just in the context of the nuclear deal being ratified? or the iranians looking for something else from the united states? that's what i'd like to know. frankly, i'm going to reserve judgment until those facts become clear. >> well, john carlo mentioned
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the fars news, the iranian news agency, they're reporting it is, indeed, a true swap. that we are releasing six that the u.s. has held for violating the sanctions agreement. so that i guess would be the swap, six for the four. >> so in that case, right, part of it we're looking at here, and caton, this to me is going to go to the heart of whenever we start talking about the question of how this president is being characterized in the gop debates even as a two-term president who won't be there, right, you guys seem to be running against him. but it does seem to be a recognition that there will be some face-saving that is going to happen for both sort of international powers in the context of a big, you know, deal like this. you can't expect a nation like iran to say we got nothing in return. >> this -- i always have to look
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at through political eyes. this is wonderful pr for iran. from taking the soldiers to giving them back. we had a big weekend coming. all of this didn't happen by mistake. releasing the prisoners today. it's living proof they're watching the election. they're watching the republicans. they're watching hillary. this is like releasing something the day before thanksgiving or releasing something that you don't want people to hear. this is going to dominate the news, not the nuclear deal, not the fact that they mothballed, not the fact they said they were never building nuclear weapons and they released weapons grade uranium. i think it will be political but it is great news. they released some of our prisoners. it still doesn't go back to the core that republicans will never trust iran. it will be an issue. it will be there. they will start talking about it late this afternoon. >> never is a long time in the context of mideast politics. i guess in part what i'm wondering is will it be
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necessary to give credit where credit is due to a president who laid out a doctrine that has been plodding and slow and often criticized, even as it is showing results. >> well, professor, i think hell will freeze over before our gop colleagues will give the president credit but credit is due. i want to go back to the human side of this. whatever the swap, whatever the deal. those families are relieved that their loved ones are coming home and they don't care about the politics. this is about the flesh and blood of this. this is about my son, you know, my husband my, you know, whatever the relationships might be. they are finally coming home. yes, it is all politics. and we're dealing with men here, professor, back to your point, in terms it of who carries the big stick, who's going to make the biggest splash. but the president has had a position on this. to try to bring iran along slowly but creating the relationship that is necessary. and i think this is a good day
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for america. it's a good day for the family. for secretary kerry. but for the president of the united states. >> again, i just want to indicate that msnbc and nbc news has not yet independently confirmed this. we believe this to be. we're going to stay on this and stay on this story throughout the morning. lots more breaking news. when we come back, we're going to dig into a little bit more the politics of this week when we come back. it's a housewifes in control of the finances. actually, any wife, husband, or human person can use progressive's name your price tool to take control of their budget. and while the men do the hard work of making money, she can get all the car insurance options her little heart desires. or the women might do the hard work of making money. [ chuckling ] women don't have jobs. is this guy for real? modernizing car insurance with -- that's enough out of you! the name your price tool, only from progressive. where is your husband? the name your price tool, only from progressive. ugh! heartburn! no one burns on my watch! try alka-seltzer heartburn reliefchews.
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iranian media and "the new york times" are reporting that iran is releasing four american citizens from prison today. including a "washington post" correspondent who's been in prison in iran for more than 500 days. the reports are coming as the united nations is set to announce any minute that the international deal curbing
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iran's nuclear program has officially gone into effect. now, i want to bring in cal perry, msnbc's cal perry. >> i want to update viewers. to make it clear, no independent confirmation from nbc news as of yet. we're monitoring the iranian news agency fars agency. as you mentioned, that "the washington post" reporter jason rezaian has been released in tehran from evan prison. there are conflicting reports. they seem very surpriseded by this deal. all this happening while the u.s. secretary of state john kerry is meeting in vienna with his iranian counterpart. we're now hearing instead of lemazi i mentioned earlier this hour that he's not being released because his charges are economic, financial charges according to the iranian government.
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they're naming someone else who is being released. we're standing by, waiting to hear from iranian president rouhani. waiting to hear these details. the other issue here is what is the other side of this deal? it is being presented as a prisoner swap. there are a dozen or so iranians in american custody for economic violations of the sanctions. it's quite likely it was a group of them but we simply don't know and we're waiting to find out. >> how important is this issue of dual citizenship to determine which americans being held in iran are likely to be released? >> it's the top of the list for the u.s. state department. interestingly enough, dual citizens, both american and iranian, have trouble traveling to iran from the u.s. once they come here, there is
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immediate suspicion of those people when they go to tehran. it is a constant problem for the u.s. state department. take amir hekmati, one of the individuals iranian state television is saying is released. all of his training is suspicious to the iranians. and it might not be at all suspicious if he wasn't a dual national so it certainly cuts both ways. for the u.s. state department, this was clearly a top priority for the obama administration that has taken so much criticism of its handling of the iran deal. this is truly, they would say, a seminal historic moment. >> one more question. what do we know about the treatment of these american prisoners? have we seen them over the time they've been held? do we believe they are ingo, in good shape physically, emotionally? >> we're talking about one of the most notorious prisons
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notice world, evan prison. this is a very closed society when it comes to the court systems, the judgments levied against these individuals. one of these individuals had a three-hour trial behind closed doors. while we don't know the specifics on how they were treated, we know this is one of the roughest places in the world. >> so coming home is good news. >> great news. >> thank you to msnbc's cal perry and, again, we'll keep following this throughout the morning. stay right there, everyone out there, who is watching. it's been a busy week in politics. more on that when we come back. with my moderate to severe ulcerative colitis, the possibility of a flare was almost always on my mind. thinking about what to avoid, where to go... and how to deal with my uc. to me, that was normal. until i talked to my doctor. she told me that humira helps people like me get uc under control and keep it under control when certain medications haven't worked well enough. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections
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treated that jason rezaian should be out of iranian airspace in about 30 minutes. that would be remarkable as we look at how this will play out logistically. the other thing i want to update is iranian state television, again, reporting that seven iranian nationals were part of this swap. that would be from the u.s. end. so it would look like these four dual nationals from iran released in exchange for seven iranian nationals here in the u.s. and there you have the four that we believe. the bottom right person there, that individual, he was initially reported to be released by the fares news agency. they have since backed off that report, saying his crimes are economically relate and not politically and he not being released. now they're saying cazravi who is a political split prprisoner.
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now year hearihearing seven ira released in this swap. waiting for word from president rouhani in iran, now scheduled to give a national address. >> do we know whether or not that national address is also to have translation into english or not? >> yes, i mean, absolutely. as we sort of look at the optics of this, it plays out very similarly there, as it would here. you would expect the address to come in prime time. it's just after 6:00 p.m. in tehran so it should be within the hour or two. >> cal, thank you. we're going to turn a little bit to politics. because on tuesday night, the nation watched as president obama delivered his final state of the union address. what we heard was the president -- that's not the president of the united states. nope, but he was focused on the details of the policy for the coming year than how we will define our american identity in the years to come. this was a president painting
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his vision of america's future in broad strokes and asking us to consider the big questions about who we are and who we want to be. >> will we respond to the changes our time with fear? turning inward as a nation? turning against each other as a people? or will we face the future with confidence in who we are and what we stand for and the incredible things that we can do together? >> at the very beginning of the president's address, he resurrected a presidential persona we haven't seen since 2012, candidate obama of the campaign trail, and he offered to show everyone vying for his job exactly how it's done. >> i know some of you are anxious to get back to iowa. [ laughter and aplus ] i've been there. i'll be shaking hands afterwards
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if you want some tips. >> he was having such a good time. the president also offered some advice on what not to do when running for office. >> we need to reject any politics. any politics that targets people because of race or religion. when politicians insult muslims, whether abroad or our fellow citizen citizens, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid is called names, that doesn't make us safer. that's not telling it like it is. it's just wrong. >> he's referencing some news items there but also making a not so thinly veiled criticism aimed at mr. trump and his proposal to ban muslims from entering the country. it left speak of the house paul
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ryan feeling that president obama had gone where no president should ever go. the next day speaker ryan told "usa today," i think it sort of degrades the presidency to then talk about primary politics and the other party during primaries. that's not what presidents ought to be talking about in the state of the union addresses. but in taking aim at trump's rhetoric, president obama wasn't just playing politics, he was also critiquing a line of thought that underlines the bedrock principles of our democracy. and encourage discourse and debate. president obama did exactly what a president ought to be doing when he asked us to embrace that kind of democracy tuesday night. >> democracy does require basic bonds of trust between its citizens. democracy grinds to a halt without a willingness to compromise. or when even basic facts are contested. or when we listen only to those
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who agree with us. >> now, speaker ryan didn't have much of a choice but to listen, whether he agreed ord ed or not. he said, basically i tis disagr and wanted to be respectful and not wince or grimace so i poker faced the whole thing out of respect for the institution, the office. the same could not be said for his fellow party members at thursday night's debate when attacks on the president's record occasionally devolved into comments that diminished the authority of his office. >> donald is right that china is running over president obama like he is a child. >> the president wants to do things without working with his congress. this guy's a petulant child, that's what he is. the american people have rejected your agenda and now you're trying to go around it. that's not right. it's not constitutional. and we're going to kick your rear end out of the white house come this fall. >> it was a very different message from what we heard
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tuesday from the president who asked us to continue believing, along with him, in politics of hope. as the republican candidates laid out their ultimate visions for america's future, they encouraged engagement with the political process motivated not so much by hope but by fear. >> here's my warning to everybody in the audience tonight. if you're worried about the world being on fire -- >> the simple fact is the world has been torn asunder. >> that could be the great trojan horse. it could be people that are going to do great, great destruction. >> if we manage to damage ourselves and we lose the next election and a progressive gets in there and they get two or three supreme court pick, this nation is over as we know it. >> let me tell you, if we don't get this election right there may be no turning back for america. >> okay. caton, i am all down for political disagreement. i actually like elections because i am down for parties
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offering, but for me, particularly governor christie went so far beyond what is acceptable. besides the fact he doesn't know about term limits. so in fact, kicking the president out, he has to leave. can you talk to me a little bit about that? >> i can. let's rewind back to the last george w. bush's state of the union. the politicings that came out of that. the democrat base loathed and hated george w. bush, ran a campaign off of it. we struggled, republicans struggled, with john mccain. so it cuts both ways. now we've forgotten -- >> pause, pause, so katon, if you are going to tell me that, i need you to tell me who called -- who was a candidate, i don't mean like random people writing words in the newspaper. which democratic said that george w. bush was a child that
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needed to be kicked? >> they didn't say that. you're talking about tone. >> i am talking about tone because i think it matters. >> it's a republican premiimary. certainly, it's gotten sideways. certainly, it has been amusing to some. it has been fearful to others. so i got the cuts that came out of the debate. i understand what the viewership was. i watched it. so i'm not apologizing for then. they're running to win a primary. can't fault them that. certainly, the president is the number one target at this time. they're going to soon have to pivot off of that because guess what, he's not running. >> john carlos, weigh in here. >> this is what happened when trump's the front-runner in your primary. this is what happens, the coarseness of the rhetoric. of all the baloney the president of the united states served up in the state of the union address, i would have liked our candidates in the debate to have anticipated and taken on more of
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the issues and the substance, rather than criticizing the tone. they should and could have called him out so easily on so many of those things. >> but why run against president obama? it was some weak sauce, but at least mr. bush is trying to run against the person who would actually potentially be a candidate. l let's listen to bush. >> at the end of the day, we need to unite behind the winners so we can defeat hillary clinton because she is a disaster. >> not that i agree, but at least he's talking about an opponent -- >> he's in reality -- >> profess, i've got to get in here. it's going to be bernie sanders. in any case -- >> whatever, but -- >> to call the president a boy, those of us who understand african-american history, that's exactly what they called him, a boy. you don't do that to anybody but
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especially an african-american man who's going to walk out of the white house in the same way he walked into the white house. the only republican on that stage that didn't call the president out was governor john kasich, my governor, in that way -- >> oh, my god -- >> -- shoutout but -- >> which was -- we'll talk about that, they're making me take a break, but he literally just stood up on top of you, which was also a lot. we'll have more on the breaking news out iran. plaque psoriasis... ...isn't it time to let the... ...real you shine... ...through? introducing otezla, apremilast. otezla is not an injection, or a cream. it's a pill that treats plaque psoriasis differently. some people who took otezla saw 75% clearer skin after 4 months. and otezla's prescribing information has no requirement for routine lab monitoring. don't take otezla if you are allergic to any of its ingredients.
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iran's nuclear program has officially taken effect. joining us now outside the white house is nbc news ron allen. what are you hearing now from the white house this morning? >> we're not hearing most at the moment. i think that's significant because it appears this is a sensitive and delicate time. a lot of big moving pieces happening. think about it. we believe that there are perhaps four american prisoners who are being held in iran who are now on their way out of the country. the secretary of state, john kerry, is meeting with his counterpart in vienna. waiting to see whether or not iran complied with regulations and the beginning of the implementation of this very complex iranian nuclear deal to try and stop iran from getting a nuclear weapon. also here in the united states, we believe there are six or perhaps seven iranians being held by the united states in one form or another who are perhaps
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out of their way out of this country to somewhere else, to freedom. the iranians have alleged there are as many as 19 of their citizens being improperly held here in the united states. most of them, we believe, businesspeople officials, who were involved in some sort of violation of the sanctions regime that's been in place here. that's why we're not hearing anything from the white house or any other american officials at this point. these very complex and very sensitive pieces apparently are all in motion. and what could possibly go wrong. so i think that's where we are right now, it appears. we're waiting to see when all this falls into place. then i think we will hear perhaps from the white house, if, in fact, all this happen, because it is hugely significant if all this falls into place. it is a very significant -- we began the day thinking there would be this huge
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implementation day with the nuclear deal. then we hear about the prisoner swap. an incredible amount of things happening here. if the iranian sanctions regime is lifted, we're talking about some $50 billion in money that was going to flow back to iran after all these years of them not having it. we're talking about this hugely sensitive prisoner swap. and we're talking about a massive diplomatic effort that involves this deal involving stopping iran from getting a nuclear weapon and the beginnings of that implementation process. so i think at this point, we just have to hang on for a moment and perhaps we will hear more from the white house and the u.s. about what exactly is happening at the appropriate time. >> it's an interesting point, ron, that sometimes silence in this moment, in fact, actually, some silence that we have actually not heard over this whole time is indicative of how much work is going on behind the scenes. undoubtedly, we're going to have to hear from the white house
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about what brought all of this into being. thank you to nbc's ron allen at the white house. joining us now from washington, d.c. is hillary man leverette, former state department and white house middle east expert, and author of "why america must accept iranian republic." as soon as this happened, i said, can somebody get hillary on air with me. what do you make of this? >> it's significant. it's a tremendous validation of president obama's idea that he articulated courageously boldly in 2008 on the campaign trail that strategically grounded diplomacy with your enemies, with your foes, is how you resolve problems, that we can't bomb our way out of every problem. he has, with ups and downs, really pulled this out. almost a rabbit out of a hat, which nobody thought he could do on the political spectrum here in washington. it is already paying tremendous dividends. we hopefully will see, today,
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this prisoner swap this prisoner release, which will be very significant. but earlier this week, we saw what could have exploded into a crisis. military confrontation between the u.s. and iran over u.s. sailors going into iranian territorial waters, that defused with the diplomacy that president obama and secretary kerry have steadfastly built over a two-year period since we started talking about this. it's an incredible payoff for president obama and secretary kerry and they deserve i think all our respect and thanks. >> hillary, let me take seriously the idea that in our very divided kind of political moment we can be looking at foreign policy decisions and they can feel like a kind of rorschach test. i have two republicans sitting on the panel and they're having different reactions. i have to say, i think we deeply care about the question of american security as well as
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overall sort of international security global protection. so how can we judge outside of that kind of ideological or partisan perspective whether or not a moment like this is in fact good for the u.s.? >> i was a career state department foreign service officer loaned both to the clinton administration in its early years and loaned to the bush, george hw bush administration. i was there right after 9/11. i was there when president obama designated, condemned iran to be part of the axis of evil. the facts are, it didn't work. we ended up in a dangerous occupation in iraq that not only cost us over 5,000 american lives but a trillion dollars, it just failed. it's really important to understand reality. to look at facts on the ground. our situation in the middle east became a tremendously -- became a lot worse with military intervention. and what president obama has done has given us some real payoff. even though there seem to be
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fires in a lot of places in the middle east, that is because of some other mistakes. going into libya. trying to continue to militarize the conflict in syria. what has worked is with iran. iran today which nobody could have envisioned a few years ago is the stable place in the middle east. is the most productive place for the united states to have a relationship with. it is vitally important wherever you are in the strategic, you know, on the political spectrum here in washington to understand american interests. american interests are to have stability in that region, to have balance, not rely on our so-called allies like the saudis but to have real balance. and the way you get that done is you recognize that iran today, like china in the '70s that president nixon, a republican president, recognized about china. he was no lover of communism but he understood that leaving china to nest its -- to nurse its wounds and its resentments on the world stage would be a disaster for the united states. so president obama, like president nixon with china, has understood that about iran and
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instead of condemning iran, continuing to condemn iran as part of the axis of evil, i would say he's bringing iran into the axis of normal. rather than trying to bomb them into oblivion. something that's critically important. >> let me ask one more question. it also feels to me one of the things you've pointed out here is things change and we need to be able to learn. and then make a new decision. so let me ask this, with -- once this deal becomes the new norm al what are the options for the u.s.? how could we then move, if it became necessary to take different kinds of actions? how tied are our hands? >> well, you know, again to me this should not be a partisan issue. just like president obama today with iran. it's like president nixon, republican president nixon with china. what he did, what president nixon did with china was not
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only go to beijing and open that ground-breaking relationship, but then he tied china the international system, into a bilateral relationship with the united states, with agreement after agreement on everything imaginable from pig farming to banking, to bring the u.s. china relationship into some sort of normal equilibrium which has paid off for the united states. a similar thing needs to happen with the united states and iran. we can't just leave it and say, other we have a deal. no, we have to do what secretary kerry has done, to go to try to resolve this issue of the american prisoners in iran. now have to deal with iran on a range of issues from syria to iraq to yemen. the whole strategic agenda we have in the middle east. we now need to work with iran wherever we can and where we can't we need to come up with aia mechanism to resolve differences peacefully. that's the challenge obama and kerry have in this last year to
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do with iran, to really lock that in for the next president, whichever -- whether that president is republican or democrat, to be able to take that relationship another step forward, to help the united states, and not bring the united states back to the brink of world war iii. >> thank you to hillary mann leverette in washington, d.c. stay with us. we're going to stay on the breaking news out of iran. about a biologic, this is humira. this is humira helping to relieve my pain and protect my joints from further damage. this is humira helping me reach for more. doctors have been prescribing humira for more than 10 years. humira works for many adults. it targets and helps to block a specific source of inflammation that contrubutes to ra symptoms. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened, as have blood, liver and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. before treatment, get tested for tb.
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particularly with respect to the release of the american sailors. it's interesting that the timing of all this kind of coincides with iran talking quite loudly about implementation day. between 50 and $100 billion worth of assets. freeing up the oil market, which has its own problems, by it is way. all this seeps to be focused on the impending certification that iran has met its only gagss, which remains to be seen, has to be inspected. and then shortly after that, the implementation of the lifting of restrictions on iran. obviously, discussions about who's going to get released and
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whether or not there's even going to be a release has been going on for some time. thankfully, behind closed doors. as you know, we've talked about many times before, the less either government says about anything, the better off everybody is going to be, and that's definitely true in this case. with respect to who's being released from the american side, there is some indeterminate number of between 7 and 12 or maybe even 15 iranian citizens. most of them for violating rules about exporting con tra band to iran. we know who some of them are but we don't know how many of them will actually be released in this swap, melissa. >> colonel, kaen you go back to a side bar comment you made.
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you said that has its own kind of set of concerns. can you walk us through just a little bit of that. as much as there's enthusiasm about the idea of these four americans coming home today, we don't want to lose sight also of the other aspects of the deal itself. >> yeah, it's kind of interesting that iranian oil's coming on to the market actually at a particularly difficult time for oil. there's a glut of oil. production far exceeds consumption. and not to get too technical, but the oil market is inverted. that is is the demand for oil is today. the delivery of oil is later. and as a result, anything that happens in the oil market is immediately felt at the pump. but what's happened now is there's more oil in the marketplace than there is demand and oil which had been trading north of $100 a barrel is now down -- i think it's below 30.
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particularly that of china. consumes lots and lots of fossil fuels. so you had a combination of a huge pile of oil. this is going to be exacerbated by the release of many billions barrels of oil by iran. remains to be seen what's going to happen now. one of the reason world stock market s has been plummeting is because the drop of oil and the indication the economies are slowing down. >> i want to point out there's always economic. we focus on the kind of military national security. economic consequences to these kinds of decisions as well. thank you to colonel jack
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welcome back. we are follow breaking news this morning out of tehran where four american citizens have reported buy been released from prison including a "washington post" correspondent who's been imprisoned for more than 500 days. the reports come as secretary of state john kerry is meeting with his iranian counterpart ahead of an expected announcement today that the international deal curbing iran's nuclear program has officially taken effect. joining us now, nbc news ron allen. ron, talk to me about how important this prisoner release is to the president and obviously to his legacy. >> well, i think it's hugely important. it's an issue that's been on his mind for a long time.
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there are any number of occasions when the president has spoken about jason rezaian and the number of americans held in iran. this is a huge point of contention. the president's critics demanding that these prisoners be included in that deal and of course the white house, president obama, has said that was not the goal, that that was not the intention, that that would have complicated matters, and that he's tried to keep the issues separate. but clearly, there's been a lot of discussion about the american prisoners, if they're being released today, because that would have taken some time to work all that out. the iran nuclear deal obviously for the president's critics a huge target. he insists this is a hugely significant achievement. so a huge part of his legacy.
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a big concern now is if, in fact, this is implementation day and we've been told that is not certain, but the indications from vienna are it is, in fact, happening. if iran does get sanctions relief, that's some $50 billion to $100 billion of assets they will now have access to. there's been concern about what the its rannians will do with that money. obviously very concerned about the iranians now financing terror operations. in the deal, there are ways we are told by which the united states is going to try to monitor that, to try and stop that from happening. of course that opens up a whole new phase things. also, the implementation of the deal is also going to be very painstaking and there's no way to confirm the iranians will
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stay with us. we talked about this the other day with the spokesperson during the white house briefing and it was clear the united states is still contemplate weathering to impose sanctions on the iranians because of the ballistic missile tests. so many complicated pieces and delicate pieces happening here this morning and we hope to hear more clarification from the white house and the state department, perhaps john kerry, who i believe has just completed a second meeting with his iranian counterpart in vienna just now. we hope to hear more clarifying exactly what's happening this morning very soon. melissa. >> thank you to nbc's ron allen at the white house. cal perry, msnbc senior editor of digital content. what are you latering now? >> melissa, we are continuing to monitor iranian state news agencies. they are the ones that are putting out this information. so we are just passing this on
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to our viewers as this continues to break sort of as i sit here. that's the fars news agency website you're looking at. the other main news agency in iran is irna interestingly enough, and if we can bring up the graphic of the four individuals who are released. the irna, the official news agency in iran is apologizing for naming initially siamas namazi, they're now changing that to individual nosratoliah khoshawi. for them to apologize for having the wrong name, it lets you know they had zero heads up this was going to happen. this is all happening sort of as we cover this story. the other thing that has in a way kind of leaked out on to social media is a tweet by the national security correspondent at the "washington post," obviously, the publication there that jason rezaian is employed with. she tweeted about 25 minutes ago it's expected he will be out of
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iranian airspace in the next 30 minutes. no indication on where they are flying. again, no independent confirmation that he is out of evan prison. so we're going to have to wait, wait to hear from the state department. there are these very high-level meetings happening in vienna. clearly, this is timed with a day in which the sanctions are to be lifted, which should bring immense international coverage of those meetings in vienna. for the obama administration, this is yet another, they will certainly be saying, foreign policy victory. first cuba and now iran. so this is certainly shaping up, melissa, to be an historic day between these two countries. two countries that have simply not communicated on this kind level since 1979. so that's going to be interesting to hear how this was worked out, how this was talked about between the two governments, and who in the end was really responsible for this
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happening. >> cal, actually want to go to you on that, and particularly on the politics of this. tuesday night, we have the president at the state of the union doing a very kind of traditional -- what we might call sort of obama doctrine discourse about the complexity of global politics and of soft power. on thursday night we hear during the gop debate some really tough talk about sort of ways in which we ought to be engaging in a more forceful way in the world. then two days later, this is occurring in ways that -- at least, you know, on our network being described and understood as successes of the obama. i am wondering in the world, in the kind of global space in iran, they are reflecting on this as intervening in an american political moment. in other words, do they recognize the ways in which this is intervening in what happens over the discourse of this week
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and of the electoral politics that are happening in the country at the moment? >> no question. this is a country that is very aware of what's going on internationally, that is very aware of gop politics. this is a country that almost held jimmy carter politically hostage during his re-election campaign by not releasing those hostages out of the embassy. so i think there's no question that the iranian government understands what's going on here in the united states and the broader sense with the presidential election. barack obama getting beat up in public by many of the republican candidates for his handling of the iran nuclear deal. when those sailors were taken by revolutionary guard members and we know in the last 24 hours officials telling our jim mick la chjim miklaszewski, that was navigational error by the sailors, apologizing for that
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happening. now in the broader picture, it's clear these discussions about this, as the iranian meeting is presenting it, as a prisoner swap, would have been going on for weeks, month, maybe even a year, melissa. >> this is obviously not only for the obama administration in a broad way but for secretary of state john kerry, more specifically. and i'm wondering if the kind of specifics of this, the clarity with which this is occurring, does it date back to and will mrs. clinton be able to say that this is part of her legacy as well, or is this really a break that belongings s to kerry and the time clinton was in this position? >> i think for sure, hillary clinton, the middle of the presidential election, is likely to harken back to her days at the u.s. state department. when you look at who really flushed out this deal, john kerry, wendy sherman in the state department. they're sitting in vienna. for them, an historic moment.
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>> nbc chief foreign correspondent richard engel joining us from vienna. what more can you tell us about what's happening there? >> we are waiting right now for an announcement from the iaea, the international atomic energy agency, and this announcement is supposed to come earlier in the day. this is an announcement that the u.s. has been working on with iran in secret, often complicated diplomatic talks for the last 2 1/2 years. and these -- this announcement which could come any moment is really quite -- is really delayed already at this stage. is supposed to acknowledge iran has, in fact, complied with its side of the nuclear agreement, and then allowing it to -- for sanctions to be lifted, including the release of tens of billions of dollars which have been frozen and allowing iran to participate in the international economy again including banking, including access to international oil trades.
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we do think, however, that a key reason that these talks have been somewhat delayed. secretary kerry is here. he's been meeting with his russian -- his iranian counterpart zarif. when i say "here," i mean in vien vienna. they have yet to show up at this building where i am now. we think part of that delay is because of the news that has just emerged in the last couple of hours about -- with iranian newspapers and media reporting about a prisoner swap including "the washington post" journalist jason rezaian. so a lot seems to be in the diplomatic balance right now. the sequence of events we're expecting, we've been told that the meetings, a larger meeting and then a smaller meeting between secretary kerry and zarif have ended. we're expecting them to come here next. then there should be a short statement by the iaea, acknowledging iran has lived up to its side of the nuclear
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agreement, then the two principals and a european representative would come out and make a statement, sign documents, officially lifting the sanctions. and potentially also answering some questions about this prisoner exchange that iran is reporting about that included "the washington post," that reportedly included "the washington post" reporter jason rezaian, who's been held in iran for several -- for over a year now. >> richard, any sense of when we will hear about the names on the other side of this? you know, it's been a little bit more than an hour now since we first heard about the four americans. any sense we'll have a little bit more clarity about the numbers or the names of whom the americans are letting go on the other side, sort of what this swap actually is? >> well, the iranian news agency has released seven names.
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of it says are people who are held by the united states on, quote, sanctions related charges. so that is one source an iranian official news agency has put out those names. on the other side, there's been quite a bit of confusion about these four dual nationals. three of the four names are well known including jason rezaian. a fourth seems to have taken a lot of people by surprise. even the iranian news reports have been getting the different four names of the prisoners that were released in iran confused. so a lot of this still needs to shake out but the only thing so far that seems clear is that according to multiple sources in iran that there was a prisoner exchange, that four people were released in iran, including jason rezaian, or are in the process of being released, and that seven other names have been listed that the united states appare apparently dropped charges for,
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released. but united states close-lipped about all of this. the vast majority of information coming from iranian sources. >> thank you to nbc's richard engel in vienna. the 2016 presidential candidates are starting to weigh in on this breaking news out of iran. there's more on that next. for action flo! business small business edition. oh, no! i'm up to my neck in operating costs! i'll save the day! for plumbers and bakers and scapers of lawn, she's got insurance savvy you can count on. you chipped my birdbath! now you're gonna pay! not so fast! i cover more than just cars and trucks. ♪ action flo did somebody say "insurance"? children: flo! ♪ action flo cut! can i get a smoothie, please? ooh! they got smoothies? for me. try phillips' fiber good gummies plus energy support. it's a new fiber supplement that helps support regularity and includes b vitamins to help convert food to energy. mmmmm, these are good! nice work, phillips! the tasty side of fiber, from phillips'.
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former south carolina gop chair. and john carlos, a republican strategist, former press secretary for president george hw bush and a former white house aide to karl rove during the george w. bush administration. ya'll have been sitting here so patiently for more than an hour. i just want to feel like, go for it. responses? >> i'd like to have it first. first, just to set the record straight, this is the iranian news agency driving this story not nbc news. second of all -- >> or any u.s. -- >> right, and they're doing a masterful job of putting it out there, covering up the original deal that's going on, the historic day for the administration. second of all, it's not lost, it will not be lost on republicans later this afternoon that the swap is not going to be an equity swap. it won't be 4 to 4, it won't be 7 to 4. that number will be driven into the campaign dialogue by dark
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tonight if iranian news agency -- >> so right, so your bet is mr. trump or someone else will tweet 4 to 7 or 7 to 4 -- >> one more bad deal, that's coming. >> that's a little bit of a third rate way of -- >> it's not that simple. it's not always 4 for 4. there are different, you know, there are nuances involved there. i know when hillary mann was talking to us, these two gentlemen were like, ahhh. i see you shaking your heads. me and nina are maybe the opposite. i'm not saying this doesn't mean as you suggested we are in love with iran this doesn't mean we're going down -- this is why we have this deal. because iran will constantly be testing us. that's why we have this detailed deal. if the president was not doing this, what's the alternative? if not to engage in some way to bring them into the world community and to bring the people of iran into the world community, what is the alternative? meanwhi meanwhile, we have some republican senators who signed that crazy letter to the
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mullahs. now weighing in on our foreign policy with iran. >> let's not set up a false choice here. hillary talked about diplomacy. we can all agree diplomacy is preferable to war. that's not what's in question. but diplomacy by definition implies trust and implies a two-way street. what has iran done to demonstrate to us they're trustworthy at all? >> iran has -- >> -- our nuclear deal -- >> shifted their material last week -- >> -- they take the gloves off with israel once again. then we have this ballistic missiles test. it doesn't matter, it's still a question of trustworthiness. hillary talked about the stability -- >> but i think -- >> no, it's not -- >> i think it's a really critically important question and i think the answer -- it may not be a sufficient answer but part of the answer is both the shipping of the low grade uranium but also today. when you ask that question, part of the answer becomes the release of these prisoners,
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which was part of the drum beat. and, again, very well may not be enough of an answer. but i think that's part of the -- >> iran for releasing -- we don't even know who we're going to be giving up -- >> it's not so much about applauding iran as much as looking at the fact that four americans are coming back home and their families. i mean, that narrative cannot be overshadowed. we know who we're dealing with. >> it is not engaging iran. we're not embracing iran. it's the fact that we have some forward movement, something is happening, and what would it -- like would it have to be 4 for 4? if it were 4 for 4, would it be okay? >> -- nuclear weapon -- >> anyone should not be -- >> what i will say is i do raise an eyebrow at the politics. it's not a small point. i've done nothing but sit here and think about the carter/reagan 1980 campaign.
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and the idea that -- >> release them the day of. >> those hostages are held in a moment, watching that election, watching that campaign, making a decision about who they want to deal with, right, and so like i both think, yes, that smooth -- i also have a concern kind of, because i don't want to be -- it makes me nervous this table is split down the middle in a conversation about national security. because i just feel a lot of the anxiety that we judge the value and the quality of this kind of decision on a partisan or ideological -- because it just feels like that shouldn't be the basis on which we would make a decision about whether or not this is good. >> the president led with his chin on this. he said coming into office, he wanted a deal with iran. if you're iran, you're saying, oh, great, we're going to get what we want so let's milk it. >> he said he wanted to deal with enemies in general.
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he laid out an obama doctrine that suggested a different way of approaching this. that said, the president also, in not a little bit of hubris, mentioned osama bin laden. it's not like the president has just laid about during seven years of office. >> everything can't be done with brute force. that's the bottom line. we can't afford it. the men and women who fight over there can't afford it. so we do need some diplomacy. sometimes it is not perfect. but nobody, make no mistake, nobody is jumping up and down saying that iran has changed its stripes. we know exactly who we are dealing with. but i don't want to lose sight of the fact we have four americans coming home. >> i saw the bait that iran put out in the press release. now that we've moved forward we can all unite against this terrorism element called isil. that's not the exact words. that's what they put in there to make us feel comfortable. look, we're all now going to go after the one fear we all have.
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it's going to be hard for republicans to embrace iran and the rhetoric. ya'll are right, we all are cautious. maybe the conversation next week is a world safer than it was tuesday. maybe that's the conversation we're looking for. >> it's not a small point. look, people are starving to death in syria. we have to address that. isil is a real threat. and yet also it must be a real threat we deal with. i just, i would like a little bit of statesmenship and sobriety in these conversations and have it not be just about a kind of partisanship. we're going to be right back. ...are taking charge of their type 2 diabetes... ...with non-insulin victoza®. for a while, i took a pill to lower my blood sugar. but it didn't get me to my goal. so i asked my doctor about victoza®. he said victoza® works differently than pills. and comes in a pen. victoza® is proven to lower blood sugar and a1c. it's taken once a day, any time.
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is hillary mann leverette, former state department and white house middle east expert and author of "going to tehran." hillary, we have -- i think you probably just heard my panel here reacting to some of what you said in the last hour. would you like to respond back on some of that? >> i think that it's really very strange that this is a partisan issue. because i think anybody, any republican who looks back at president nixon and his record for going to china and opening up the u.s./china relationship would be hard put in terms of transforming the u.s. position. the united states was in dire straights in vietnam. in a quagmire in vietnam. and president nixon came into office just like president obama did saying he had a different way. he wrote a groundbreaking article in "foreign affairs" magazine in 1969 laying out the course he wanted to take to have a fundamentally different relationship with china.
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similarly, president obama laid out this fundamentally different strategic course in his 2008 campaign, which was very clearly, simply, we can't bomb our way out of everything. we can use strategically grounded diplomacy. that's not giving away the store but that strategically grounded diplomacy, to make them work for us instead of against us. so this idea that it's a partisan issue is really a product of the poisoned political rhetoric we have today. it's not based on reality in terms of what republican presidents have done in the past. >> let me ask you a question about the implementation of the agreement itself and the idea that if sanctions lift and there are more dollars. so from our national global security perspective, is there concern iran might make use of those dollars for the sponsorship of terrorism around the world? >> you know, people say that a lot, but in fact, what iran does in terms of its national security, as it sees its
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national security policy, the use of, you know, what you may call proxies, maybe in a less loaded way, is actually, is not very expensivexpensive. so i've been to iran several times and i think journalists may have gone in the last couple of years and the one thing that's shocking when you go to iran is how much money they've invested internally. you can get the internet in the smallest village in iran. their health care system that every single iranian has not only accessed to quality health care but takes advantage of it. their education. you know, the iranian cabinet has more -- has more people in it with american ph.d.s than any cabinet in the world including president obama's cabinet. so it's not about loving iran but it's about recognizing that we're dealing with a country of 80 million educated sophisticated people, a civilizational state that showed time and time again it invests a
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lot of money internally in terms of education, manufacturing, a whole range things. will iran also invest its money into national security? absolutely. but we have a lot we can do with iran in the gulf to build cooperative security mechanisms. this idea that we can continue to threaten them with bombing and be harder on them and that's somehow going to have them put less in their military spending doesn't make sense. the way to work with iran is to get them to channel as much of that into not only domestic infrastructure but to use, you know, use any of their military funding to join us in helping to bottle and combat isis. they are the one country in the middle east that is capable and dedicated to the death, really, to fighting isis. because first and foremost, isis hates the shia more than they hate, you know, the crusading americans. >> i want to say thank you to hillary in washington, d.c. everyone, continue to stay with us for continuing coverage of
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the breaking news out of iran. this is where i met your grandpa. right under this tree. ♪ (man) some things are worth holding onto. they're hugging the tree. (man) that's why we got a subaru. or was it that tree? (man) the twenty-sixteen subaru outback. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru. ugh! heartburn! no one burns on my watch! try alka-seltzer heartburn reliefchews. they work fast and don't taste chalky. mmm...amazing. i have heartburn. alka-seltzer heartburn reliefchews. enjoy the relief. only glucerna has carbsteady, diabetes, steady is exciting. clinically proven to help minimize blood sugar spikes. so you stay steady ahead.
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breaking news out of iran, iranian tv is reporting that four american citizens have been released from iranian prison, including "washington post" correspondent jason rezaian who has been held for more than 500 days. according to u.s. officials, the americans will be taken to switzerland and, in return, the u.s. will release seven prisoners held for violating economic sanctions. the ap reports the prisoner swap was secured in just the last 24 hours. after 14 months of negotiations. joining us now from washington, the president of the plow shares fund, which focuses on nuclear weapons policy. and steve clemens, editor at large for "the atlantic" and an msnbc contributor.
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hello, nice to have you both with us. so let's begin here with a conversation about the fact this seems to have happened so swiftly. i'm interested in what state these former prisoners may be in when they arrive. these are obviously not american prisons. we've heard earlier from cal perry here that these may have been very tough circumstances in which they were held for quite some time. >> let me start. we understand that rezaian for example is in deteriorating health. it's one of the concerns his family and "the washington post" have raised in recent weeks. in this last month or so, we've seen more latitude and visits that the family's been allowed and they've been able to spend a little longer time with him while he was being held prisoner. that may have been part of the justification for their release but i think, in general, this is an effort by the u.s. and iran
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to get this issue behind them. this is one of the most divisive issues separating our countries. we appear to have peacefully and diplomacy settled this today. >> and will that -- if, in fact, we see an american coming home after nearly -- after more than a year in an iranian custody in deteriorating health looking as though he's had tough circumstances, will that be politically problematic for understanding what this deal is? >> well, i think it could be. but i bet you every single one of these prisoners is going to have a big broad smile on their face. you know, we -- because of the poisonous partisan politics in this country, we as americans seem to have trouble accenting good news. this is a very good news day. american prisoners unjustly held by iran are now being freed. we can argue later about the conditions of their incarceration, but they are
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getting out and they're getting out without threats of military force, without going to war. they're getting released because the patient diplomatic effort that john kerry met and his counterpart, foreign minister zarif, have made. this has been a long time in the making. it's a joy to see this occur today. >> steve, let me come to you on this. in part because there is no question, as joe said, that we are in a clearly sort of poisoness partisan time, a time where everything we look at, we're looking at through these lenses that are deeply ideological. how do you expect this moment to now play out? we have a democratic debate coming up tomorrow night. obviously, the candidates are beginning to weigh in on both sides. how do you think this will be talked about in the american context? >> i think politically everyone running for the presidency of the united states right now is not going to want to give iran a hug for what it's doing. and i think that it's important
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to remember that while we're seeing some very constructive steps by iran it remains a thuggish regime. there's a fantastic article by laura secor about a woman inside iran who has tried to go through iran and prevent raped women from being executed and stoned and hanged for having been. so while we see iran taking steps, it remains a thuggish and dark regime. nonetheless, something miraculous is going on right now. because there aren't two nations we've had more bitter disputes with than north korea and iran. all of a sudden, iran is beginning to feel more comfortable in certain ways. it's put forward a syria peace plan. it's called for political settlements inside yemen. it has, you know, stepped forward, like many said it wouldn't, and complied with all the parts we think of the iranian nuclear deal. all of a sudden, iran is feeling like a more comfortable
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relationship for secretary kerry and others. when he called the saudis and tried to prevent them from executing nimr al nimr because of the fear of what that would do to the middle east and the region, the saudis ignored him and executed him. when john kerry called zarif and said, we need to make a good story out of those detained sailors, he got them released. so all of a sudden, iran is moving into a constructive course and that has tremendous implications. that that goes to what hillary mann leverette said, that maybe this is the very beginning of a "nixon goes to china" story. a very important note that seems to be happening now. >> one other thing hillary said, this might not only be a nixon goes to china, this might be an effective strategy other and against isis and isil. do you buy that part of the story as well? >> well, i think it's only hatch
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the story because in my view isis is a very dark manifestation of sunni paranoia about their perception of the rise of shiites, of the united states shifting its affections to iran and the saudis and sunnis more browaadly not havin someone with their interests. when you get to the general public, there's a lot of popularity of isis, so just bringing iran into a military conflict over isis doesn't solve the isis problem. if anything, it exacerbates it. you need to get the zero sum game between these two players to cease to really begin to unplug isis. >> steve and joe, thank you so much for joining us. there's more when we come back. . excuse me...coming through! ride the gel wave of comfort with dr. scholls massaging gel insoles. they're proven to give you comfort. which helps you feel more energized ...all day long.
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rezaian. [ applause ] for nine months, imprisoned in tehran for nothing more than writing about the hopes of the iranian people. in an effort to bridge our common humanity. jason's brother ali is here tonight. i have told him personally we will not rest knoll we bring him home safe and sound. >> that was last year's correspondents dinner speaking about "the washington post" reporter who has reportedly been released today. i want to bring in nbc's ron allen. he has made that very clear promise to the family and to the press. >> yes, he has spoken out about
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jason several times. we should mention his wife, for a time, was also held and she was released. points out that iran is amongst the worst jailors of journalists anywhere in the world. and there are some 19 other journalists who are still held by the iranians according to the committee to protect journalists but of course the story's more than just about jason rezaian. there's also a pastor who's been held, abedini, who, as i understand it, was there to build identiorphanages. there are conflicting reports about exactly how many americans have been released. the number is four that we'll been hearing a lot this morning. there's also now a report that
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there may be a fifth who is not related to that group of four. there's obviously the case of robert levenson that's now been going on since 2007. an american working there allegedly for a u.s. company perhaps for the cia, fbi. it's a very complicated case. no word on whether he may be -- his case may be part of what's happening today as well. still awaiting confirmation here at the white house. melissa. >> thank you to nbc's ron allen at the white house. joining us now for more is cal perry, msnbc's senior editor of digital content. just about an half hour ago, we saw a tweet suggesting it might be half an hour or so until he might be out of iranian airspace. >> they're pulling back on that tweet, they're saying that appears to be misinformation. we know the associated press is quoting u.s. officials saying
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this group of four will be flown to switzerland. we don't know if they've left or if they're still on the ground. 35 years is a long time for countries to not speak to each other. fascinating how this was put together. there's the tweet, the clarification from the national security correspondent at the "washington post." but this is new to an entire generation of not only americans but iranians as well who have grown up with such cold relations. we are also standing by waiting to hear from president rouhani, the iranian president. state television in iran has a picture up of just this empty podium, people standing by, waiting to hear from him. there's the shot there. so obviously an historic day here. but the logistics of this and we want to be very careful with our sourcing here this is coming from iranian state media. we do have the associated press citing u.s. officials that this
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prisoner release has happened. seven iranians for these four americans. as these four fly to switzerland, they're flying to the place where they have been engaged for, as we understand it, months of knee gosh i ans for the release of this group. word of a fifth american has been released separate from these four. that's obviously another political move on behalf of the iranian government. >> thank you to msnbc's cal perry. obviously, continuing to break news so you're going to want to stay with us. there will be much more on all this news when we come back. after a dvt blood clot. what about my family? my li'l buddy? and what if this happened again? i was given warfarin in the hospital but i wondered if this was the right treatment for me.
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>> we are staying on the breaking news out of iran. reports that four american prisoners have been released from the iranian prison including "washington post" journal i journalist jason rezaian. and moments ago, the group samaritan's purse is reporting that pastor saeed abedini has been released from a prison in iran, but msnbc has not independently reported the fact. but the iranian officials are saying it is a u.s. swap, and the u.s. will release seven iran citizens for violating the economic sanction, and this is all coming as the nuclear deal with iran is set to be implemented today. joining us on the phone is medal of honor recipient, and military analyst colonel jack jacobs, and what is your reaction now that
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we know a little bit more of this? >> well, it is exactly the result that you will get when you spend time working the diplomacy, and doing it behind the closed doors rather than discussing everything in public, and announcing what you are going to do, and establishing what your positions are, because everybody winds up, and the other side, too, ends up intransigent in public. this is what happens when you spend a lot of time talking about things behind the closed doors, and making the deals, and the results are very interesting and timely. as you said, we are about ready to release probably between 50 and $100 billion worth of iranian assets, and plus, permit the iranians to put oil into the marketplace. it is an exciting time for diplomacy, and it is going to be interest interesting where it goes, but it leaves lots of opportunities ahead.
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>> right now, we want to go to teheran with nbc news's ali rue zi, and what is the latest? >> well, it is will powers preparing a landmark deal here in vienna, probably four or five possible dual-nationalists are set to be released. the timing is precarious, because there was a statement saying that they were freed within the framework of the exchange of prisoners without elaborating. they did not mention any names, and the semi news official agencies here have been rife with speculation that amongst the prisoners is "washington post" correspondent jason rezaian, and as well as a former marine siamak namazi. and it is confusing who it is the fourth person, because there
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is one stating him as one person where another is reporting it is nos ra toe la coe shou ko khosh is something that seem ed impossible a few months ago, and including allowing ten u.s. sailors to be released. >> thank you, so much, and also to colonel jack jacobs on a day that is surprisingly news-filled day for the issue of diplomacy. that our news today, and i will see you tomorrow, and we are not done on msnbc, so stay with msnbc on this breaking fuse out of iran. coming up, "weekends with alex
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a.m. in the west. and this is what is happening here from iran at this hour. the a a.p. is citing u.s. officials in vienna is reporting that four dual-national prisoners have been released in a u.s./iranian swap. they will pardon or drop charges against seven iranians for the u.s. a fifth american unrelated to the swap has been freed. and none is other than the "washington post" reporter jason rezaian who has been held since 2014 and convicted of espionage in october three months ago, and the other americans part of the swap are amir hekmati who is a u.s. marine who was held in 2011 on espionage charges, and also, siamak namazi who is from des moines, iowa. and which know that the

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