tv [untitled] February 17, 2011 8:00pm-8:30pm EST
welcome to cross talk i'm peter lavelle as protests in people's power rage across the arab middle east there are those who say iran's political establishment is next in line to be toppled or their objective facts on the ground to support this prediction or is it merely wishful thinking. if you can. discuss the wave of public anger in the muslim world i'm joined by mohammad marandi into ran he's a professor at the university of tehran in chicago we go to coffee and sunny he's assistant professor of international studies at de paul university and in london we cross to david hardwell he's country risk expert from the middle east and north africa and i h s janes and another member of our crosstalk team on the hunger gentlemen this is cross talk that means you can jump in anytime you want professor mohammad marandi in toronto if i can go to you first if i if i read the mosque i'm sorry the wall the washington post or the new york times. etc etc in the united
states your country is on the verge of having a crisis a revolution and its people's power and it's a repetition of egypt of tunisia and are you getting ready to pack your bags to leave. well i think if you have been reading the washington post or the new york times or if you've been watching a.b.c. n.b.c. or c.b.s. or and c.n.n. at least for the last couple of decades you would have been thinking that for the last three decades now the united states has constantly said that iran in iran the situation is deteriorating but the facts on the ground are that this time republic has strong popular support and that there are different political organizations and groups in the country with a very differing ideas about how the country should be run but the political establishment is very stable and as you saw during the anniversary of the
revolution just a week ago five six days ago there were mass rallies throughout the country simultaneously held an entire run there were between two to three million who participated but all of none of these are shown in the western media and obviously this is not going to change the venue in chicago how do you reflect upon verse from randy's words because there are there is a disconnect in how. things are being reported we hear from the professor on the ground in saying that is there is a lot more stability than what we're told in western mainstream media how do you react to that. well i think it's quite obvious that you know the current establishment in iran is. solidly in place because of repression but on the other hand it's also true that there's been since at least a year and a half ago a huge wave of discontent and distrust in the in the way that things are being run i mean it would be lying to ourselves not to accept that at least
a very significant portion of the iranian public is very this content with the way that things are and the fact that they have been silenced is because of repression not just because the current establishment in power is completely solid and has mass support it does have my support but how much iran is a divided country how much mass support it has because the elections and the politics in iran are not open and competitive it is very difficult to judge but the fact of the matter is that a huge and very significant portion of the iranian population is very discontent with the way things are before i go to david professor marandi can i ask you to reply to that because what is significant mean if it if significant is the true word of discontent i mean where is that discontent if it is so significant is it economic is it ideological and what is it. well when you look at the polls carried out in iran both before and after the elections you
see that a very strong majority of iranians support the political establishment and before the elections of course there was no crackdown there was no violence on the streets so no one can really say that at that time people were afraid to express their ideas and at that time mr ahmadinejad had strong support among people in iran especially outside of tehran after the election in teheran there was instability in more or less in the northern part as caller pointed out there was serious discontent among among certain sectors of society but that was largely because of the accusations that were made by mr mousavi about fraud but after a while when mr mousavi failed to provide any evidence whatsoever. most people distanced themselves from him and right now that which is left is a hard core of people who are who align themselves effectively with monarchists who have the support of terrorist organizations like them which i don't
know which by the way have offices in the united states and throughout europe under different names despite the fact that they've killed over ten thousand iranians twelve thousand and five if i'm not mistaken and they aligned themselves with saddam hussein for a couple of decades but but the fact is that iran is a far more open society even by western standards and the united states in the west is not exactly exactly very open these days anymore but it's a far more prone society than any of its neighbors and when you look at the people who take to the streets as i said during the during the anniversary of the revolution they they are basically the ordinary people on the streets the problem that the americans have and westerners have is that they usually listen to us a sort of pro western elite that's what they surround themselves with and they mistreat iran and that's the same problem that i think they have throughout the arab world they thought egypt. well because they were listening to people who studied in the west who spoke english to who surrounded them what spoke to them and
they thought that the egyptian political establishment is stable and they miscalculated there as well professor marandi i can sympathize with you as it happens to people talking about russia and i go to david you're a country risk expert what's the risks facing iran as we talk about massive changes going on in the arab world obviously iran is not in the arab world but i mean it is part of the greater middle east as far as the religious component is being played out here what is the risk i mean i think part of the large part of the problem is that no one knows the extent of the opposition because most of the law to go off this leaders will force on the ground after the office of the demonstrations in june two thousand on off the elections the true it true left of discontent with the government remains very very hard to quantify. but you know it's pretty it's pretty obvious and i think it's very clear. that there is
a huge amount of discontent within within iran and yes that may well be confined to cities but it's it's disingenuous david it can i can ask you how do you can that is this do you is this it just how do you connect with the events going on in the region and the discontent that we that is real or or to what extent it is real inside the numbers in the around what is the connection between the two because we see in the mainstream media that oh you know iran could be next you know iran could be the next country day to be part of it one of the dominoes that follows that you know there's this content everywhere but why are we talking about so much discontent now. i mean at the moment if we're looking purely i mean we're looking at a political system that is that it's largely disenfranchising disenfranchising a large. portion of the population people do not fit whatever. we do don't support to suggest he's not a popular president and he doesn't have a huge amount of support. across the across the country that's lossy due to his economic policy which is which is proving to offer some. many many ordinary
iranians who are having to go. suffer because of economic self-sufficiency nationalization joins that's i did to the fact of the sanctions which have been imposed on iran because of the nuclear program there is a huge amount of discontent welling up with in iranian society at the moment so that these these issues that will be there and which arguably contributed to the discontent after the election well you know do you want to still that they haven't gone away it's in your i mean if you take out the if we weren't if we had mentioned the word iran turn around and iranians we could be talking about greece ok we could be talking about a lot of people that are do have discontent about what economic policy is here professor marandi if i can go to you i mean no one's really set out on this program it i'll ask you the question this point blank as i always do are people tired of having the islamic republic of iran and i'm stressing the islamic part because is
that the case i mean because if it weren't for the religious aspect then you'd say well you know tough luck everybody has distressed because of the global recession. well first of all i'd like to disagree with what your previous guest said the i didn't vote for mr ahmed in asia then i've said this on numerous occasions there's it's clear but there's no doubt that he is highly popular throughout the country every province that he goes to is like a rock star you have tens if not hundreds of thousands of people who surround his own it's easy is really this we're also probably regime demonstrations it's very easy to do and that's not true if that was true then they gyptian regime could have done that no it's it's obvious that it's that's not the case and the same is true with with tehran of course he's not as popular in tehran as he would be in the provinces but he has in fact been very successful economically especially with the recent reforms in the subsidies where a lot of people thought there was there would be a great deal of tension but it turned out to go forward very smoothly and
personally i am impressed by what happened despite the fact still critical of his administration but no i mean the iranians if you if you look at polls carried out by americans forget the polls carried out by iranians you can say that these are done by the you know quote regime unquote but polls carried out by westerners do not show this and i think it's somewhat racist to say that no one in this program has said it but but it is often said in the west that people go and pro-government or pro islam make republic not necessarily government rallies for cakes or drinks you know crossing teheran which is a huge city is very difficult and tiresome in cumbersome. to go for a cake or a drink is that you know it to think that people would do that is i think pretty outrageous ok first round if i could jump in here if i could jump and are we going to break your kind if i go to you chicago is it mostly economic. grievances people
have you know i'm trying to get to the point here i mean is it economic the way the economy is run. the reason yeah and i just. a couple of points i think what professor marandi is saying is a little bit disingenious if the only people who were saying that the you know egyptian regime for example was stable where western journalists and western experts you know he would be right but of course it was the egyptian regime itself but like mr marandi were repeating repeatedly claiming that they were stable that they had massive popular support that their economic policies their social policies were favored by the population and supported by the population when it came down to it it turned out that no actually this was not the fact and that plenty of the population were completely discontent with egypt and the way things are. you have you finished your answer when we come back from our break after a short break we'll continue our discussion on what many people call the middle
to this wealthy british. markets why not. come to find out what's really happening to the global economy with max cause or for a no holds barred look at the global financial headlines tune into kinds a report. and a story. and. welcome back to cross talk on it all about to remind you we're discussing revolutionary prospects for iran. and.
syria. but first let's see what russians think about iran. the ripple effect reaches new destinations in the middle east after tunisians and egyptians all stood their leaders some iranians are now going to this three months to iran is seeing the largest civil unrest since the so-called disputed election in two thousand and nine some media claim parallels between egypt up he will and iranian revolution in nineteen seventy nine is it fair to say iran now is taking the egyptian path in the public opinion foundation asked russians if iran is a friendly state thirty six percent said it is and the other thirty four percent disagree it remains to be seen if attitudes will change protests mormons and governmental changes in the middle east peter ok if david if i can go to you in
london and in looking at the events over the last let's say two months here if we throw in tunisia in the tunisian case banally was backed up by western powers to the very end mubarak essentially was also we got a lot of double talk double speak from the obama administration you'd really couldn't figure out what their policy was but when we see protests of one degree or another in iran the u.s. administration is snaps its fingers they overthrow the government overthrow the government so they they say they hang on to certain their dictator friends up and to the very last second they don't really seem to understand what's going on in the streets but in the rand is always treated differently isn't it. to some extent yes it is an unknown nuts a product of all of the years of often tightness of history between the u.s. and iran i heard she think the the us was under the abusiveness so she was actually quite quite quick to signal to mubarak that it was time for him to go. just
contradiction in what you said i think basically what we're looking at is is a us government trying to read the public opinion and trying to to go with the flow of public opinion and clearly that was easy and to news is simply because events move so quickly into news you and ben ali left the country so quickly so therefore it because it was an easy decision for for for washington to make in egypt it was slightly more problematic and you're right there was a lot of vacillating at the oem between you know. whether but the words for mubarak over the two to go with the protesters i think. what what has happened what the u.s. washington will feel vindicated by that even though it doesn't know what's going to happen next i think what we're looking at in terms of iran then we're looking at it we're looking at the events in toronto washington is looking at events in tehran through the prism of knesset history nuclear program that that is threatening the d.s.d. stable into the region and. vision of a new foreign policy that has influence in iraq in lebanon in the palestinian
territories saudis so that if a stable either if i could go to chicago i mean this has nothing to do with democracy right i mean that's just all rhetoric because i think i had to tend to agree on some points that david just said here we in democracies they're really not the point is geo political interest so isn't it kind of disingenuous in the united states to talk about the u.s. size of its mouth at the same time. yes i mean i think it's geopolitical interests i mean i don't think the us is not open to you know more democratic regimes because that you know that ensures more stability but on the other hand you know what does democracy mean in that part of the world i mean for egyptians them ocracy means having a voice and power to kind of set their foreign policy as well as their domestic economic and social policies and those may not be amenable to the u.s. as we saw in the case of for example open elections in algeria in one thousand nine hundred or elections in the occupied territories the palestinian territories in two
thousand and six i mean the u.s. basically took a position against democratic opening and actually supported the military's or crackdowns of popular support and popular will in those in those territories and it has me supporting the egyptian regime so i think the u.s. has been constantino asli not recently but since the one nine hundred fifty s. at least very ambivalent about democratic power in the in that part of the world because it may go against his geopolitical interests on the other hand i think it is very important to emphasize that the i mean this we brandy about this word revolution i mean with revolution is a very is a very loaded word what does it mean that the parchin of what i could means that there's been a huge revolution in egypt at one level politically the figurehead going yes but and it has kind of shifted the relations of power in egypt but to what extent and how deep as this khan has this change got mr mandela's talking about the popular protests in iran and the fact that you know population at least a very significant part of it is very discontent with the policies of mr. is this
is the green movement in iran evolutionary movement doesn't want to overthrow the islamic republic this is the point that you know going back to your previous question this is the point that the u.s. administration and a lot of journalists in the u.s. are emphasizing that ok if there is this content in iran if there is popular protests that must be for an overthrow of the islamic republic i don't think that is necessarily the case. i think what iranians want and iran is a country of seventy million people a very very diverse population between young and old provincial and urban and rural and urban and you know they have very very different sets of demands but what they basically want is a voice in the power structure and the political the current political system and their arrangement is not giving them that voice in you know to kind of determine their destiny economic policies foreign policy the nuclear program and all of that the population in iran doesn't have a voice in that it's a very small provision many many would you like to reside in a joint reply to that to the to the average person in iran doesn't have
a political voice do you agree with that statement i think i think most iranians would disagree because after all i didn't carry out the polls americans before and after the elections and also the elections in iran the previous elections the elections before them the turnout has always been high in the country and i think it's also significant significant to take into account the fact that when mr ahmadinejad travels throughout the country he is treated like a rock star there is no doubt about it the footage is there the people are there he they especially the more impoverished the lower and lower middle classes see him as someone who is supporting them and backing them but i think that basically the problem getting. through if i get if i could if i could just finish because i may forget i think it to be honest i go further what you're good guest said and i would say that the united states is deterring democracy the united states does not want freedom in the region because free egypt would mean trouble
for israel a free saudi arabia free back reign would be trouble for american interests in the region just today a large number of battery knees were killed come you know when you look at this small population of relatively speaking it would be something like a thousand people dying in tehran. six seven or eight people who were killed because the population in the country is only half a million but the us was the us position on battery and that battery is an ally and it calls on both sides to refrain from violence that is you know that is extraordinary so there's no doubt that the united states is deterring democracy and the fact that the united states is actually pushing so hard for you know so-called regime change in iran is one reason why the green movement has no longer any popularity in the country the fact that the state department is behind it supporting it the fact that they are funded the fact that they have aligned
themselves with terrorist organizations and organizations backed by the united states it doesn't make them more popular and that is one reason why just the other day a couple of days ago the spoke to the representative of the reformist faction in parliament he made a statement in parliament condemning mr mousavi and mr carroll b. and so on and that shows how isolated these two gentlemen are the point though the really significant point is that the balance of power in the region is shifting away from the united states and the united states because it's bound its foreign policy to israel it's desperately trying to kape keep the status quo and it sees iran as a major problem it sees that in the future will have more difficulty confronting iran because there will be new actors in the region which will be against american foreign policy and is trying desperately to overthrow the regime or i would call it this time a republic but it will fail david if i can ask you is one of the interesting things
is and i to reflect upon with something professor marandi said is that you know even though if the united states you know one level says it wants to see democracy in i don't know you know after favoring dictators for so many dictator decades it's hard to believe that but in the case unlikely supporting the green movement i mean when the u.s. openly says it supports the green movement don't a lot of people in iran just go sour on it i mean that happens in. in a lot of places you know when an outsider says oh we like this guy he's our winner and we know they're tainted by outsiders and in a lot of people want to have their own sovereign country their own sovereign democracy however it's defined i mean doesn't the united states make a mistake i mean hillary clinton came out with a few days ago and was saying what kind of egypt america would like to see and i'm sure a lot of people in egypt say hands off leave us alone absolutely not a very fair point i think a lot of opposition movements across the arab world who would be pretty reticent and welcoming us supporting this was also mentioned the double standards on need so
preserve of washington here because the iranians you know how many are going to postpone in favor of the pro-democracy movements in egypt was said about crushing pro-democracy demonstrations in tehran so you know double standards and so forth all of you know just one of the not the same exactly the same as. the riot in teheran where deterring democracy they were trying to overthrow a president that was elected by their majority and the former and the people who voted for mr moussaoui most of them by far the majority of them my own colleagues have completely this sense themselves from him the problem that mr mousavi and i mean there's a principle there's a difference between a population and go ahead i think there's a difference between a population that asks where is my vote and a population that wants to overthrow the regime i mean this is this ingenious to say that all the popular protests in iran are by and large the work of washington they're a conspiracy by outsiders to over and over i don't think anyone thinks that what
the protests in iran are overwhelmingly the rule of law what they were saying is that this is this system we are participants when they move and. this regime this political regime has not respect its own rules and its own laws and it did and you know and you mentioned that also mr. cassilis the regional are isolated because they're under house arrest the fact. no i mean popular i mean as popular figures they're not popular the fact is that if you look at the polls terror free tomorrow carried out the first iran i am a shi'ite so i'm afraid i'm going to have to jump in we just really interesting are you going to hear i want to thank my guests today into round chicago and in london and thanks to our viewers for watching us here r.t. see you next time and remember cross talk. and you can. start. to.
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is all see coming to life for most of the headlines. the uprising in tunisia and egypt continue to inspire a wave of unrest across the middle east and north africa as demonstrators wait wanting to change and reform clashed with police in several countries. as demonstrations dimitry now running egypt as the rest of the former interior minister over the police crackdown on protests the forward to take hosni mubarak calls. in the u.s. pentagon officials have been before a senate budget committee is seeking to slash mark is staggering fourteen trillion dollars national debt the pentagon wants to keep america's capacity to wage. but critics say more should be spent at home as many americans face the threat of.
grade has called on the security council to investigate. including the current prime minister. organ trafficking and. the call comes as people. on the set and investor of. the independence from set. up next we'll take a look into the life of soviet leader. a politician full of contradictions and paradoxes for nearly two decades his name received no mention in the soviet press many continue to remember him to his resignation. i think he was the best emperor of the soviet era yes he was. publicly vowed that the soviet union would catch up with america and do it he promised to fully established communism in his country by.