tv Inside Story Al Jazeera February 29, 2016 6:30pm-7:01pm EST
>> i lived that character. >> we will be able to see change. ♪ last summer, the five permanent members of the u.n. security council plus germany agreed to a framework deal with iran, to keep the islamic republic from developing a nuclear weapon. the agreement is in place and iran has had some deadlines to meet and provisions to abide by, in order to get oversees sanctions lifted. is the iran deal working?
and did the recent elections strengthen or weaken iran as an partner. this is the inside story. welcome to "inside story," i'm ray suarez. remember those cliff hanger negotiations in switzerland last spring and summer. china, russia, the u.s., and america's big european allies, france, germany, britain, struck a deal with iran over its ongoing enrichment of nuclear materials. they wanted to make sure iran never developed a nuclear weapon. iran wanted to assert his national sef earnty, keep refining nuclear materials and
get out from under crippling sanctions. while president obama applauded the handiwork of his secretary of state john kerry, congressional republicans deplored it with slashing rhetoric that suggested the obama administration had been duped, was enabling terrorism, funding a renegade government, and endangering israel. 47 republican senate remembers sent a letter to iran's leader promising no support. the deal went on to become a talk point in stump speeches and candidate's debates in the republican presidential primary with a unanimous conclusion. >> i have been doing deals for a long time. i have been making lots of wonderful deals, great deals. that's what i do. never ever ever in my life have i seen any transaction so
incompetently negotiated as our deal with iran. [ cheers and applause ] >> and i mean never. >> this iranian nuclear deal is catastrophic. it is the single greatest national security threat facing america. >> now that the deal is about eight months old and some steps needed to be taken by all parties, and a final meeting in vienna, how is it going? are the iranians doing what they promised to do? have the other signatories met their guarantees? as the agreement proceeds does it push off the date which iran could complete a nuclear weapon? and what of last week's elections in iran? does the make up of the newly elected national bodies there have the potential to strengthen
or weaken iran's compliance. jonah hull reports. >> reporter: friday's election was considered by many to be a test of support for iran's path out of international isolation and economic decay. as such, the policies of the president, including the nuclear deal with world powers that lead to the lifting of sanctions have passed that test. his moderate and reformist allies have made their biggest gains in the country's key institutions in over a decade, but analysts are quick toing point out that neither immediate nor lasting change is inevitable. >> if the economy doesn't pick up, perhaps in four years from now you'll see the losers coming back to power. president rouhani, since he has been able to achieve this agreement, he has an advantage, but he has two major problems, the fall of the price of oil, as
well as the global economy that is not doing well, so it remains to be seen how this is going to play out in the next year and a half. >> reporter: the grand bizarre disguises the damage that years of international sanctions along with economic mismanagement have brought here. 60% of the population is under 30, and one in four of those is without a job. the economy is where most people want to see change the most. that means reforming the laws on trade and foreign investment, the sort of things that along with international reengagement many ultra conservatives are inherently suspicious of, to say nothing of the sort of social changes the young here crave. which is why for so many voters loosening the grip on power matters. >> our government is going to open the doors to the united -- the europe, and other
asian countries to a new relationship with communications with them, and we need to change, and we have to change our parliament to protect our government. >> reporter: conservatives will remain powerful in both the new parliament and the influential assembly of experts that appoints and advised the soup ream leader of the islamic republic, but significantly less powerful than before. of qualms and bombs, this time on "inside story," joining me for that conversation, executive director of the bellford center at harvard university. and author of bitter friends, bosom enemies, iran, the u.s. and the twisted path to confrontation. gary let me start with you.
your organization at the time was watching closely, watching ott and warning others of the possible problems flaws in any deal. now with all of these months past, how is it working? >> well, so far the iranians have taken all of the nuclear steps required by the agreement, and that means removing most of their low-enriched you -- you yan um, and destroying the heavy water reactor, as well as reaching agreement with the iaea on enhanced monitoring. so-so far they have complied and in turn, the u.s. and europe and the other p5-plus-1 have taken steps to relieve some of the ang shuns, so the agreement is working well so far. >> resa is there something for
everybody in what has happened so far? >> yeah, i would even hone in slightly further and say the intent was to prevent iran from being able to build a nuclear agreement, and this agreement is the most intrusive verification put in place on any nuclear program in the world, and going forward it will serve as the standard applied to other countries. we have no 100% guarantee that iran will cheat, but if they do, the entire supply chain is monitored now. they would literally have to create an entire parallel infrastructure, entire parallel supply chain which has never been done in the history of the world, so we should be honest about the rigor in which these standards have been applied
successfully. >> let's talk more about that rigger, barbara, in many other countries, nuclear compliance, regime, and this tough cat and mouse game with countries trying to protect their sovereignty, a hard won national knowledge is and expertise of trying to keep what they know from others. there's compliance, and there's compliance. >> look, the iranians there has also been suspicious that they might do research on the side. but it is to develop a nuclear weapon without detection, it would be very difficult under this deal. and we should remember, it's not just the nation atomic energy agency involved, but we have also the national intelligence services of the united states, israel, and many other countries
that will be watching very, very carefully. so having spent all of this time, negotiating this deal, it would be strange and foolish on the part of the iranians to try to violate it. >> gary as you all indicated this is phased. they do some things. the other signatories do some things. what about the notion that iran gets what it wants up front, gets what it needed out of these negotiations early on in the going, and then burrows in and starts to do things it is not supposed to do once it gets its hands on frozen capital for instance? >> i think for now iran will maintain a very strong interest in complying with the agreement. it's true they got an infusion of frozen cash, but in terms of oil exports, it will be difficult for iran to recover
its market share because the oil market is so soft, and the saudis will try to deny iran expansion of oil exports. in addition, the u.s. maintains most of its secondary sanctions against iran that relate to counter terrorism, and human rights and so forth, and that means that many western banks, european banks will be very reluctant to resume investment in iran until they are confident it is safe to do so. so for now the iranians are still vulnerable to a collapse of the deal and a reimposition of sanctions, and i expect they will want to keep the deal in place for the time being. >> the nuclear deal with iran, how is it working? of qualms and bombs. stay with us. it's "inside story."
>> our american story is written everyday. it's not always pretty, but it's real... and we show you like no-one else can. this is our american story. this is america tonight. ♪ you are watching "inside story." i'm ray suarez. we're looking at how last summer's nuclear deal with iran has been working, whether it's living up to the hopes of the obama administration, or down to the terrible threats of the president's opponents. barbara, reza, and gary with still with me. barbara, there has been glimmerings from an iron coming in from the cold last spring in switzerland, where if the world
could do business with the country on this basis, this was a precursor, a confidence-building measure. has that lived up to that billing, for example, when we look at syria? >> well, certainly iran is now at the table over negotiations with syria. i'm not going to say that is necessarily going to bring peace, but we have a halt in hostilities. but it is a step, given iran's strong support with bashar al-assad, and its alliance with russians, who are even a bigger player in syria in some ways than iran. and the precedent of the p5-plus-1 and iran reaching a deal like this is mentioned very often by the prime minister has a model for resolving other
issues. i think the european union has also referred so it as a model. >> in the leadership circles, is there a taste for an iran that is back in from the cold? do people in positions of authority and responsibility in tehran, realize that pariah status doesn't work for you long term? >> i think you have a significant chunk of iran yoon political elite who do believe that building bridges to the outside world is a prerequisite for building the kind of country they want. building a power in the region, but you also have another side of the political spectrum that doesn't want to build those bridges, and actively tries to blow up those bridges when innocent people are standing on them. so the question is can iran get
out of its own way? >> and what is your answer? >> my glass is half full. iran had a presidency trying to achieve its geopolitical and economic goals independent of the outside world, particularly western countries, and they crashed, burned and failed misser isably, even some hard liners inside iran realize there has to be some kind of connection with the outside world. how far they are willing to go remains to be seen. >> gary does positive reinforcement work not only today and tomorrow, but in the middle and long term? >> well, i agree, it's too early to tell. iran is a very complicated society, with a lot of conflicts and factions, and we don't know at this point as iran recovers
that will make them more interested in preserving the nuclear deal and cooperating with the u.s. and western countries, or once iran gets stronger and recovers its strength will it be more defiant and belligerent. >> and will that have bearing on how the agreement is seen here in the united states? we heard ted cruz and donald trump earlier, you know, raking the deal. is there a point at which even its opponents have to give that maybe it's making for a calmer world, barbara? >> well, given everything else that is going on in that part of the world, i think even a president cruz or a president trump would take a deep breath before renouncing this nuclear agreement if the iranians are abiding by it. however, the opponents do have a point when they say that iran is still continuing activities in the region that are
destabilizing or that they are not in favor of, and there was a recent hearing on capitol hill which was supposed to be about the implementation over the nuclear deal, but all of the questions were about hezbollah, and syria, and human rights in iran. >> because there is a suspicion that a recovering, more empowered iran will do more mischief, not less in the region. and that brings up the very fraught question of israel, reza. >> no question about it. i don't think anybody is disputing whether or not there should be very vigorous debate and monitoring about how iran proceeds outside of the nuclear deal. opponents of the deal were saying precisely because iran has objectionable behavior, we shouldn't move forward at all.
we could get a better deal. and that is a bridge to absurdi absurdity, because it is not true. the whole idea is to address these other issues or at least test the proposition of doing so, so it's less than honest for krit sick -- krit si sick -- critics to say this enpowers iran. >> iran was counting votes in the last few days. there was a new parliament and a powerful new clerical council. stay with us, it's "inside story."
♪ welcome back to "inside story." i'm ray suarez. what is an iranian moderate? you may have heard that phrase used over the weekend in reporting on the just-concluded iranian elections. it said reformers and moderated prevailed over more hard line candidates, but it's probably a good idea to remember that thousands of reformers and moderates have been forbidden from running for office, kept off of the ballot by the screeners who clear the
candidates. context is probably important in figuring out just who won and who will be taking seats in the iranian parliament and the influential assembly of experts. you may recall back in the spring and summer when the iranian foreign minister made statements in switzerland that were sometimes undercut or contradicted by provocative statements from clerics in tehran. do the newly elected candidates strengthen the president or weaken him. gary, wash barbara, and reza with me. how do you view that? >> hard liners haven't been eliminates, and fringely they maintain a slight majority. but if you have that diversity sitting around the table, it makes for interesting discussions on foreign and
domestic policy. on domestic policy, all politics is local, and depending on where these candidates reside, whether their constituencies are, that will depend on how much progress we see. >> is the president gary, a stronger leader today than he was a week ago? >> yes, i think he is a stronger leader in the sense that the [ inaudible ] will not give him as much trouble, but the iranian political system is very complicated, the supreme leader continues to be the dominate voice, so i think reza is correct that i would not expect to see a major shift in iranian foreign policy. i think -- and thank -- frankly the voters seem to be far me
interested in social and economic development, and that will be very complicated, and we'll see whether rouhani can carry out some of the promises he has made. >> i'm glad you said the ayatollah supported the nuclear deal, because sometimes it wasn't so clear. the foreign minister would say something in switzerland, and the official publication would print a very provacative or confusing or undermining remark from someone either close to the supreme leader or the supreme leader himself is, and you could be forgiven for scratching your head in brussels or paris or berlin. >> yes, i think that's exactly right. this nuclear deal clearly crosses many of the red lines that the supreme leader stated
publicly. so i think that indicates that just because he pronounces a red line, that doesn't necessarily mean that is going to be iranian government policy. >> barbara we have been through this before where everybody starts writing away in western capitols, the new iran is on its way, and it ends up not quite happening. what would you look for in the new, since, assembly of experts, the cleric leaders. >> yeah, the assembly of experts is not going to be doing anything until the supreme leader passes from the seeds. so that is going to be a complicated process also. and the successor might not be decided by the assembly of experts. what is good, though, a former president who does have a very pragmatic point of view has
gotten the most vote for the assembly of experts and will be influential in that body. in the parliament i'm looking for economic reforms. i'm looking for the iranians to be able to put forward a new oil contract that allows foreign companies to -- to have more control over production in iran. this has been very controversial, and i'm hopeful also for a slight reduction in the activities of the security services in terms of throwing people in jail, duel nationals. there's an iran-american businessman in jail and his 80 year old father right now. it would be very nice if they were released soon and no more people are arrested. but we'll have to see. >> but those are the kind of things reza that leadership circles in the west look for as a sign to be able to do
business. >> and those are the metrics that western countries should have, but the expectation that any country, be it iran or anywhere else in the world can snap its fingers and become a jeffersonian democracy is unrel list -- unrealistic. and i think the changes we see in iran if they end up happening, are going to be going so slowly that we might just miss it. >> and a little bit more give on the side of the united states, very quickly, are we on the verge of -- well, i'm out of time. we're going to have do that on another show. i want to thank my guests. that's the "inside story." tomorrow, it's one of the most important american bilateral relationships in the world, the two countries share a 1400-mile border. and simmering challenges, we're
asking why there has been no permanent confirmed ambassador to mexico for almost two years? until then i'm ray suarez thanks for watching. good night. this is al jazeera america. live from new york city. i'm tony harris. the final day of campaigning before super-tuesday, why some republicans are saying donald trump should be disqualified from running. the new war against isil involving hackers and cyber attacks. refugees, riots, smashing a barbed wire fence to try to cross from greece to macedonia. and why the zika