tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN December 19, 2013 3:30pm-5:31pm EST
is talking about private actors who could have a really big effect. regardless of what our policy on syria is going to be, i think this is a case study for thinking about how the u.s. is -- what role could we play between not doing much of anything and and all in role? how could we manage some of the outcomes that come when we are not playing this strong role? we have that going on with iran. i hope that we don't sort of leave everything to chance. you all very much for an excellent panel. i hope you will join me in thanking them. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
texas, aornman of motion that would essentially table the defense bill, the authorizingn bill pentagon programs and policy. you can follow the senate live on c-span 2. senate majority leader harry reid says he will push to confirm only the first four of 10 nominees on who has filed cloture and acknowledges the remaining six have to be -- may obamao be returned to for confirmation next year. the deputy homeland security secretary, the internal revenue service, a district judge in florida, and janet yellen to head the federal reserve. the boats could last until saturday evening -- the boats couldlast -- the votes last until saturday evening. >> c-span's student cam competition wants to know what's the most important issue
congress should address next year. make a video and include c-span programming for your chance to win the grand prize of $5,000 with $100,000 in total prizes. the deadline is january. everyone's soul sister. everyone felt they knew her. and they did because she laid her life out for everybody to see. she told us about what life was like in suburbia for women in 1960 through the 1990's. one of the wonderful things about her -- she wrote mainly humor. it was humor that was accessible to everyone, because it was humor that happened in everybody's lives. they might not recognize it until they saw it written on the page or in the newspaper column.
funny things happen to us all a time. -- all the time. but we have to be on the lookout for them. she was the one that focused our attention on the funny things that happened in the family, things that -- the moment seemed like craziness and driving you nuts, but when you looked back at them, you think that was pretty funny. that is a real gift. that is a literary gift. >> the life and times of irma bombeck -- erma bombeck. 2 anday at noon on c-span sunday at 5:00 p.m. on c-span 3. >> arizona senator and former republican presidential candidate john mccain just returned from a visit to forces, where government recently clashed with protesters in the capital city of the avenue -- of kiev. earlier today, senator mccain
talked about that visit as well as the u.s.'s relationship with their neighbor, russia. >> i am ceo of the atlantic council. the cold war seemed to have ended with the fall of the berlin wall in 1989 and the subsequent collapse of the .oviet union and soviet empire following that, both the european union and the nato enlarged. next year, at the alanna council and way beyond the alanna council, we will be celebrating -- the alanna council, we will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the berlin wall's fall and the 15th and 10th anniversaries of nato and eu enlargements. we will have a tribute enlargements at our annual honoringere we will be secretary of defense chuck
hagel, the eu commission president, and others. recent events in the ukraine have underscored how far we remain from president george h.w. bush's dream of a europe whole and free, one that ultimately could embrace russia and its closest neighbors, former elements of the soviet union, in one form or another. one of the best forms was the eastern partnership agreement of the european union. the latest news from the region underscores further that the to be is unlikely determined by tanks and troops in this new era of global competition that we have entered. putinn president vladimir on tuesday said he had agreed to loan ukraine $15 billion and cut the price of critical natural gas supplies. ukraine's prime minister called the deal historic. etu -- als, an draf
eu document indicated ukraine could have gained even more from the west but with different conditions and perhaps not as plainly put. pact, itgned the eu might have had $26 billion in loans and grants from the eu over the next several years, it also agreed to the imf package. while the ukraine. eastwards,ine pivots hundreds of thousands of ukrainians pivot westward, desiring to be part of a europe whole and free. it is in that context we welcome back a great friend of the atlantic council, senator john mccain, who visited these protesters over the weekend with senator chris murphy, and can 10 use to play a consistent and -- and continues to play a you consistent and -- to play a
consistent and leading role in change around the world. thinking through what role the united states should be playing in these challenging times. for those reasons and many more, the atlantic council presented senator mccain with the freedom award in 2011 at our global for them in policy -- impolitic and he said then, " -- at our global forumi in poland. he said then -- one could add the word ukraine -- are peacefully demonstrating to change the characters of their country not by hateful ideology, violence, but by the end it -- humannging for democracy." we look forward to your comments and the discussion that will be moderated by the vice president of the atlantic council, who has impressively led our team effort in trying to make sense of events in ukraine.
for those in the audience who have heard senator mccain before on this set of subjects, this is on the record. feel free to tweet. #acukraine.is senator mccain, it's an honor to have you with us. [applause] >> thank you very much. thank you for that kind introduction. thank you for your wise advice and counsel that you always provide me on transatlantic issues. i want to thank all of you of the atlantic council, which is believe, one of the premier intellectual leaders in foreign-policy and national security, not just transatlantic, but on global issues. i'm very happy to have those kind words. thank you for not mentioning that i ran for president. [laughter] i appreciate that. as i often said, after i lost, i
slept like a baby. sleep two hours, wake up and cry. [laughter] i also thank you again for your warm words, given the approval rating of congress here in case you missed it, it is now 9%. it is a line i use all the time that we are now down to paid staff and let relatives. it is up -- and blood relatives. i received a phone call from my mother who is 101 years old. we are now down to paid staff. [laughter] thank you. i'm pleased to have the opportunity to be here. mentioned, last weekend, i went to the ukraine with my friend and fellow member of the foreign relations committee, senator chris murphy. we met with senior governor officials -- government officials, president you nook of and- president yanukovych,
major opposition leaders, members of civil society, including the daughter of tymos the so-called oligarchs, youth, and students, and some of the hundreds of thousands of peaceful demonstrators. in all of my many years of travels abroad, i have never seen anything like what we witnessed last weekend in ukraine. on saturday night, we stood in the trade union building roughlying the -- while a quarter of a million ukrainians cheered and jumped up and down in a sea of sparkling cell phones. on sunday when we addressed the crowd, it was estimated to be as many as one million people. there were ukrainians from all walks of life, men and women, young and old, from all parts of the country. there were ukrainian veterans of the soviet war in afghanistan helping to protect the demonstrators and securing our passage through the crowd.
as we spoke, thousands interrupted us with cheers of "thank you, usa!" it was one of the most moving experiences i have had. senator murphy and i did not go to ukraine to interfere with its internal affairs or to favor one group or leader or party over another, but rather to support the peaceful aspirations of all ukrainians and a firm their sovereign right to determine -- and affirm their sovereign right to determine the future of their independent nations by themselves in freedom -- rushwe returned, it was apostates is in to purchase about $15 billion in ukrainian russia'sit was decision to purchase about $15 billion in ukrainian bonds -- sure.as a big deal, to be i think we need to recognize a few things about russia costs financial -- russia' and
intervention. will notrussian money solve ukraine's problems. it will at best postpone them. in many ways, it will likely exacerbate them. by most estimates, resident =-- yanukovych has bought about a year before ukraine is once again staring down the barrel of an economic crisis. we can all hope he uses the time wisely to address the crisis, namely the mounting debt burden, unsustainable currency peg, and a large distorted energy subsidy as imf has insisted -- subsidy. as imif has -- as imf has insisted, somehow i doubt it. more than likely, the president will kick the can down the road. ukraine will be facing the same problems it is now.
we need to face the reality of how president putin's temporary bailout of ukraine fits into his larger ambition toward russia so- -- toward russia's called "near abroad." he has pulled out all the stops to threaten ukraine away from europe. russia has bought large amounts of ukrainian trade and threatened to cut off the gas supply in the dead of winter. putin threatened president yanukovych with far worse economic retaliation if he assigned -- signed the economic agreement with the eu. said thatputin russia's agreement with ukraine is free of conditions. agree withe that, -- that, i have some beachfront property in arizona to sell you. bullying extends be on the ukraine to the other so-
theed -- extends beyond ukraine to the other so-called eastern partnership countries. it has sought to prevent mold over from signing its own -- prevent moldova from signing its own agreement with the eu by threatening to cut off its supply of gas and suggesting it would stoke separatism. russia has blocked lithuanian trade and deployed its missiles to -- it is working to establish pardons -- borders by building fences that encroach deeper into jordan territory. russiawe hear news that will soon deploy new rail-based nuclear capable icbms. this pattern of behavior amounts to a russian bid for a kind of quasi-imperial dominance over its neighbors. a new find -- newfound
assertiveness that has only grown in the void left by the administration's absence of leadership in other parts of the world, especially syria. president putin has been emboldened by president obama's empty threats of red lines and the resulting loss of u.s. credibility. we now have the bizarre situation in which we are working with russia to dismantle chemical weapons in syria, while russia is supplying assad with conventional weapons to continue the slaughter and maintain his hold on power. resident putin has taken a clear lesson from all of this. if the united states is unwilling to stand up to him in the middle east, he can do as he wishes closer to home. and he has. putin'sto president view of political ambitions is ukraine. it is more populous than all of the other eastern partnership countries combined. it shares the same cultural, religious, and historical
heritages -- heritage as russia. and president putin still does not accept that ukraine is an independent country. he has said as much publicly. first of all these reasons, the russian led customs union cannot be viable without ukraine. , democratica modern ukraine that is part of europe is president putin's worst eventually,cause, russian citizens would look at that floors in ukraine and ask why not us. that is why president putin will stop at nothing to thwart ukraine's aspiration to become part of europe. that is the bad news. but we also need to recognize the good news. regardless of the short-term putin canpresident inflict on russia's neighbors, history is not on his side. eastern partnership countries want the benefits of european that wason, a reality
demonstrated clearly last month when georgia and mold over -- ownmolvdova signed their association agreements. no matter how much money president putin commits, he cannot change the fact that a majority of ukrainians, not just in the west but in the south and east as well, especially amongst young people, see their future in europe. poll confirms that, as does any time spent with young ukrainians who have no memory of the soviet union and who want everything europe has to offer. for this reason, no ukrainian president, not this one or any other, will ever be able to take ukraine off the path to europe. doing so would be political suicide. and for russia to insist on it would only engender the animosity of millions of ukrainians. not 10t is, russia is
feet tall. it cannot bail out ukraine forever. russia's economy is growing sluggishly, plagued by corruption and capital flight dependent on hydrocarbons. under these circumstances, i imagine many russians are not ion ofppy to see $15 bill their natural resources heading to a foreign country in furtherance of president putin's selfish ideological ambitions. the question now is where do we go from here. first, we must continue to support the peaceful aspirations of ukrainians for democracy, rule of law, uncorrupt ernance,nts 0-- govv equal opportunity, and integration with europe. we must insist that the ukrainian government uphold the rights of all ukrainians, especially the freedom of speech and association. citizens ukrainian remain detained for peacefully exercising these basic rights,
we should continue to call and work for their immediate release. second, we must continue to demand that all sides from the current political crisis refrain from violence. something that the demonstrators have done to a remarkable degree. both the administration and the congress have put ukrainian authorities on notice that any further use of violence or other human rights violations against peaceful citizens will be met with targeted sanctions against those responsible. and is not an idle threat, i hope we never have to make good on it, but we will vigilantly monitor events in ukraine and whether the demonstrations continue or not, we will be prepared to respond if it is necessary. third, we must support ukrainian demands for accountability for those who ordered and carried out past acts of violence against peaceful demonstrators. president yanukovych has initiated this process and we
should support ukrainian efforts to see it through and to expand its scope where the evidence warns. fourth -- warrants. fourth, we must support demands for transparency on the agreement that was signed in moscow last -- this week. many ukrainians fear that president yanukovych has made a decision that puts his own self interests above the best interests of the country. and if he did, it wouldn't be the first time. we think ukraine's citizens have a right to know the details of what russia will get out of this deal. fifth, if ukraine's political crisis persists or deepens, which is a real possibility, we must support creative ukrainian efforts to resolve it. senator murphy and i heard a few such ideas last weekend, from holding early elections as the opposition is now demanding, to the institution of a technocratic government with a mandate to make the difficult
reforms required for ukraine's long-term economic health and sustainable development. decisions such as these are for ukrainians to make, no one else. and if they request our assistance, we should provide it where possible. we must encourage the european union and the imf to keep their doors open to ukraine. ultimately, the support of both institutions is indispensable for ukraine's future and, eventually, a ukrainian president, either this one or a future one, will be prepared to accept the fundamental choices facing the country, which is this -- while there are real short term costs to the political and economic reforms required for imf assistance and and whiletion, president putin will likely add to these costs by retaliating against ukraine's economy, the long-term benefits for ukraine in taking these tough steps are far greater and almost
limitless. this decision cannot be borne by one person alone in ukraine, nor should it be. it must be shared, both risks and rewards, by all ukrainians, especially the opposition and business elite. it must also be shared by the imf, and the united states. the west should be prepared to help the ukraine financially and otherwise to overcome the short- term pain that reforms will require and russia may inflict. in short, the west must show ukraine's leaders and people that they will not face short- term economic destruction in pursuit of a better future. this is the challenge we now face with georgia and moldova, which have decided to deepen ties with europe and the west. these countries must know we will help them weather any loss of economic activity or energy supplies, in a sense by helping
moldova meet their short-term needs during this transition, we in the west can convince ukraine and others that they can count on us, too. if we are committed to expanding the promise of the euro atlantic community, we will have to stand up more forcefully to russia. this is not the way it should be and certainly not the way we want it to be. eastern european countries should not have to choose between good relations with ae or good relations with russia. that is not a choice we are asking them to make. it is a false choice premised on an outdated zero-sum view of the world. unfortunately, this is exactly the choice that president putin wants to impose on these countries. as long as this remains the case, there will be tension with russia that no amount of happy rhetoric or resets in relations can rectify. for the past two decades, administrations of both parties have sought to cooperate with
russia where possible and compete with russia where necessary. the unfortunate reality is that, despite our best intentions and efforts, there is more --petition and cooperation competition than cooperation. we must face this reality squarely and we must be willing to support our partners when they face undue russian pressure their own sovereign decisions. many americans will ask, why should we care? why should we care what happens to a country like ukraine? why does that affect our national interests? here is why. for the entirety of the last century, the united states and our friends and allies pursued wholesion of a europe and free and at peace. we sacrificed our resources and shed our blood for it time and time again. we did so simply -- not simply because this vision of europe's future is just and right, though it is both, but also because it
is the only path to lasting stability on the continent, because it benefits our people economically, and because, ultimately, it makes our nation safer. challenges ing the middle east and asia and other parts of the world, we cannot forget that this work of a europe whole, free, and at peace is not finished. this struggle continues today in ukraine, moldova, georgia, the baltics, and other countries in eastern europe. we must be no less committed now than before in pursuing our national interest of a europe whole, free, and at peace, and supporting the right of all countries to share the benefits of it. that includes russia. has vision is always -- always drawn on europeans, americans, ukrainians together. we see evidence of that all around us. just a mile west of here, off of dupont circle, is a statue of ,he great ukrainian poet
dedicated nearly 50 years ago by president eisenhower, who expressed his hope that the newue would "rekindle a world movement in the hearts, minds, words, and actions of men -- a never-ending movement dedicated to the independence and freedom of peoples of all captive nations of the entire world." after eisenhower spoke, a ukrainian chorus led the assembled crowd in singing one of his most famous poems -- of the poet's most famous poems. andbury me, then rise up break your heavy chains. family, thet new family of the free, with softly spoken, kindly word, remember also me." america will always remember ukraine, and we will always support the peaceful aspirations of her people as we -- her people, as we do on behalf of
all people in europe and beyond. thank you very much. [applause] >> senator mccain, thank you so much for that remarkable and very important speech not only on ukraine but on europe and our strategy behind europe whole and free. i'm the executive vice president here at the atlantic council. we have a few minutes to have a conversation about your trip and the remarks you just delivered. you are free to tweet, #acu kraine. out six you have laid principles to guide our way forward as we think about ukraine. you offered broader remarks russia'ssia, about strategy, about u.s. and european strategy, and the eastern partnership in general. we have many ambassadors,
representatives from those countries here today. let me bring you back to your trip here you spend some time with president -- your trip. you spent some time with president yanukovych and senator murphy. what did you take away from your conversation in terms of his motivation and goals? wasident yanukovych preparing his own country over two years for this process -- this agreement with the eu, only to surprise them with this turnaround before the end. how did your conversation lead you in terms of understanding where do you think he is trying to go, what do you think he is trying to achieve? >> on sunday night, we spent 2 1/2 hours, from 9:30 till after 11:00 with president yanukovych. about 95% of the conversation was about the technicalities anyciated with the -- negotiations that he might have with russia or with the eu.
there was about one minute's worth i got the distinct impression that president yanukovych is either insensitive to or not concerned about or does not aderstand the impact of million or two, depending on what numbers you use, estimates of his fellow citizens demonstrating in a way that is peaceful, but certainly one which has to be viewed as incredibly impressive. i have never seen anything like it in my life. realize thatso did two out of hand projects membership in the eu -- reject membership in the eu would've been a catalyst that caused real disruptions. that theealized
announcement of an agreement with the customs union also would've had the same affect. he is trying to walk a middle ground here. he is accepting the money in the bailout, hoping that people will be satisfied with that. i do not think they will be satisfied with that. membership in that you was not what got millions of ukrainians to demonstrate. you can view that as a technical matter. let membership in the eu meant europealignment with rather than russia. invented outcry against the corruption that now besets the entire country. president yanukovych now lives in a home that is estimated to be $100 million. it is estimated that his son was a dentist who is now a
billionaire. i know that dentistry is a lucrative business -- [laughter] and of course the corruption that permeates the country is something that -- they look at their lives and their standard of living for says that in europe versus that in russia. these demonstrations are not just about joining the eu. they were demonstrations as to what the direction and correction of the path that the country is on -- that is the only way you get people to decide whether to stand and demonstrate the way that they have. i don't know exactly what is going to happen in the short term. i would think that president would tell his
citizens that they now have from anant relief immediate breakdown of their economy. they are in an economic crisis. maybe that will satisfy some of their citizens. but i don't think that addresses the fundamental ambitions of most of the young people, but thearly all people, young people i thought -- there is a degree of fervor and passion that is quite remarkable. about,ng i'm confident any economist who is aware of the ukrainian economy can tell you that $15 million is a band- aid. it is not stopping the bleeding. fundamental enact changes in how their economy does business. that means compliance with the demands for fundamental
changes to their economy. corruption has got to be addressed. corruption has got to be addressed. they do not see that with this agreement with russia. they see the opposite. >> let me pick up on that and turned to the opposition. you spend time with opposition you have talked about never seen anything like the energy. we side version in 2004, so how do folks watching ukraine, how did the ukrainians themselves, not have a déjà vu experience of an opportunity where in 2004 the current government came to power and brought promise and the prospect of a democratic ukraine
but because of infighting and corruption that plagued her own administration, they failed to deliver on that. they brought ukraine to where it is today in some respects. how did you take away in your conversations how this has the potential to be different? >> i believe that the orange revolution was primarily aimed at their own leadership. the regime and all of the things that were undemocratic. "revolution" is more against russia and a desire to join europe. i think there is some difference there. i also think that this group of including the two
that you mentioned, they are in favor of bringing a new leader into power. they want that to happen after they have replaced the government. that he goes to germany for medical treatment. we know that her health is poor. that is not the central issue as far as what their agenda is concerned. also, they have a legitimate -- the about the drill betrayal of the revolution that took place in 2004. they do not want that to happen again. theme great sympathy for and they also see that this have to democracy is a very difficult
one. we have seen other countries go forward and back and forward again. i think they have learned a lesson from the orange revolution. >> you make the links that if you are sitting in moscow, you have to be concerned and garrett of what might be happening in ukraine. of what might be happening in ukraine. tell us what this could mean for the future of russia. you had strong words about the issue of u.s. leadership on this. if there are broader dynamics in play, what do we do? what do we do with the russia right now, led by putin who that he isdent ascendant in a way. they are involved in the world community. the senate has acted and spoken
on certain things. in addition to just calling out and complaining and putting a spotlight on what is happening, what is the strategy vis-à-vis russia and the long term that could take this in a different direction and give hope for more than just confrontation over countries like ukraine? >> could i just say that you , and the- i appreciate ukrainian people appreciate, the statement that secretary of state john kerry made. it was very welcome. secondly, we have done an outstanding job in this crisis. i think the first thing we need to do is to understand who and what we are dealing with. tell vladimir putin that i will be more flexible. that will go down in history,
along with telling bashar al- assad that the strike will be unbelievably small. if you like your health insurance, you can keep it. those are three of my favorite in recent years. it is not just this administration. the last administration two. i looked into putin's eyes and saw his soul. this is not a man with a soul. this is a kgb colonel who was risen to the top. we must understand who we are dealing with. years, he was the guy. did anybody know that he was the topic? did anyone know who really was the dictator for life in russia? we have to have a fundamental understanding of who we are
dealing with. that doesn't mean confrontation or reignition of the cold war. but it means speaking up. it means supporting people like in georgia right now. every few months, the russians further andce further into georgian territory. what do we say? nothing. do we know that mulled over his being pressured in or mislead, this tiny little country. we have to understand that ukraine, which is where russia jewel.is the crown what happens in ukraine is incredibly vital. we need to speak up for these people as john kerry did. we need to make sure that we are there to assist as they make is very difficult transition.
it is not a confrontation with tanks on the border. but for us to believe that vladimir putin is going to give up ukraine to the west without a fight, and exercise many options, it is sheer foolishness. we have to understand what we are dealing with here. we are dealing with an individual who wants to restore abroad. georgians, the latvians, as any of those countries on the periphery. they will tell you that they are under nearly constant pressure from russia and for vladimir putin. would he do? there are many scenarios. the criteria -- the crimea is very pro-russia. we could see problems in the east. i do not think putin will send in tanks, but he certainly can
cause great difficulties and unrest in that country. the best antidote is solid western support and assistance of the imf loans. door tod have an open an application to join the european union. >> thank you. i do not want to monopolize the conversation so i will turn to the audience. we have delegates from countries you mentioned and we have been focused on programming here at the atlantic council. by multiple then -- buy moldovan wine. do we have a mic up here for bruce jackson? please identify yourself and keep your question brief. au will be allowed to act
follow-up. >> in addition to the opposition, you also met with business leaders on both sides of the issue. you probably met with more business leaders in any senior american had done. , ishere a future in europe there a future in russia? what was your impression of these men and their impact in ukrainian politics? >> i should've mentioned that in my remarks. it varies to the degree to which they have been affected by russia. one of the oligarchs had an empire that was originally based on chocolate. since then he has been cut off and embargoed by putin and the russians. that has had more of an effect. i get the impression that they are very smart man. i got the impression that they are watching carefully the flow of events.
there have been guarded remarks supporting the demonstrators but not calling for a change in government or even specifically a change in government policy. tohink they are going primarily weathervane as to how the course of events take place. hand, they would view economic reforms as a threat to the virtual monopolies that they have in certain aspects of ukrainian economy. they seee other hand, the economic benefits to being part of the eu. they are dramatically better than economic ties to russia. they are balancing that out. do not underestimate how smart they are. -- that is an old guard we think that an oligarch is an
old fat guy smoking a cigar. these guys are not that. they are smart and they have gotten to the top of the economy with its fierce competition. four of the five that i met with will go when they see which way the wind is blowing. right now, they are not sure. >> johns hopkins, thank you for being here and for your leadership in foreign affairs and in general. i would like to pick up on what you said about standing up to putin in your answer to the earlier question. i would like to ask you to comment on a suggestion or two. the suggestion to work with the jointly to bring a suit before the wto against russia
for violating cardinal principles of the organization, namely that a country is not allowed to use its economy as a political weapon. secondly, make it clear to putin that there is a price to be paid for these sorts of behaviors and at least temporarily block their application to join. within environmentally acceptable bounds, and this is a medium-term suggestion, continue to stimulate shale gas exploration so that over time, the russians' chief economic weapon will be undercut. fourth, and this goes to a different part of europe, but it does have to do with russia's behavior, quietly make clear to our good friends and de facto allies sweden and finland that
the best way to guarantee stability in the north of europe is to join nato. could you comment on these? ,> i think on the eu and oecd we would have to use some powers of persuasion amongst our european friends. they are becoming more and more when theyas we are see the events that we have been talking about taking place. it touched on something important. we all know that the united states of america is a major exporter of energy. we are seeing the entire equation of energy thanks to fracking and shall class --
shale gas reversed. this is having a profound impact around the world. we areng how dependent on the middle east for our energy supplies. hasy expert i've talked to said that if the price of a barrel of oil goes down below $80 a barrel, the russian economy is in very serious trouble. hydrocarbons are propping up mr. putin. i am curious what the average russian is thinking today about giving the ukrainians $15 billion. i'm sure they are impressed of his generosity. as far as the nato issue is swedened, i do not think will ever contemplate such actions, but i do believe that natoian membership in would have a progress towards that.
that would have a significant impact. particularly in light of the new government and the peaceful transition, though not without problems, but the transition that has been made in georgia. we should renew their application as far as nato is concerned. that would have a very significant effect. >> we have a few minutes left. i want to pick on these two ladies here if i may. >> thank you so much. we are from the ukrainian american association. we are grateful to know that you are standing by. mentioned those individuals who will engage in violence. people are hoping and it is thaty important for them you will be able to introduce sanctions on those individuals
who are engaged in violence. they may be engaged in open russians that are not criminal, but a pressure on the business. you and the u.s. would be able to go after the current regime. are operating in a corrupt way. it is estimated that annually president family -- yannick kovic and his family is taking a certain amount of money from his budget. can something be done? what is the answer to the people who are hoping for that? >> two quick points following on this about the sanctions. about theou are aware
whole issue of scapegoating. some of what we are seeing is reminiscent of what we saw earlier when we were talking about government corruption. they hired some lower-level employee or mayor. there's is a lot of hammering about russia and what russia is doing in terms of pressuring ukraine. on the other hand, what are we doing to express our concern usut this when we hear about purchasing russian helicopters. >> good point. it was only canceled because of congress and the administration that purchased the russian helicopters. on the issue of the , we have been assured that those demonstrators
who are under detention will be released. if there is further violence against the demonstrators, i am confident that the administration and congress would move forward with a style of legislation. as far as the reforms are , i am not sure that would be sufficient reason to generate sanctions early enough. ofy fired the mayor of key anti-had nothing to do with the violence against the demonstrators. that is true. i think we need to proceed carefully and with measured steps. we need to make sure that we are not giving the russians
propaganda. we must not intervene in internal affairs of a country -- i think we have to be very careful and measured in the steps that we take. we cannot react in an emotional fashion. by whatolutely appalled putin has done. i have pointed out those factors. i think we need to be very careful that we are not appearing to be seeking confrontation. we know americans are tired because of iraq and afghanistan. we are going to have to display a firm, but in some ways patient, addressing of our relationship. i want to mention again that just in the last few days literally, we now hear of missiles and calendar out -- telling god -- kalingrad.
there was a strategic move that they rejected a short time ago. that many of the things putin is doing. they are extremely aggressive, not to mention mr. snowden, which is sticking a thumb in our eye. we have to understand who and how we are dealing with. leave we can portray that we are the world's policemen and put out every fire. firm and takebe measures preferably with our allies that they support and that we support and that obviously in this case, that is the european community. i know some people have accused me of being a defense hawk and all that. i think when we look back at
other presidents, both republicans and democrats, who been very firm, and has taken actions that are both measured and effective, that is the best way to deal with this. i think there are some people that say the reason why putin is behaving the way he did it because there is no penalty for. fore should be a penalty actions that putin takes, particularly in this so-called near abroad situation. i was inspired by these young .eople if there's any doubt about how they feel about russia, the leader of the demonstrations -- they all turned on their cell phone lights and it was an amazing thing to see. the guy said, if you don't like
russia, john. -- jump. it was interesting to see a quarter million people all jumping up and down in freezing weather. and someof ukraine americans and give it as a far off country. they are a western nation. these young people, they like the same lousy music. they have the same atrocious attire. they are as our young people -- alignedy are long with the west. basie russia and they don't want to be part of that society. why i am optimistic that at the end of the day, we will see a free and democratic ukraine. now, at this particular juncture, it might be good for us to continue our
message of support for these people who are seeking a government that is free of corruption and that they think truly represents them. think that is an outrageous stance for the united states of america to take. old friends and enemies here. i want to thank you all for being here today. if there's one thing i want to the americanrt people how oregon a faraway country is to the united states. >> senator mccain, i think you have accomplished just that i going to ukraine at a critical time as these developers are folding. we cannot thank you enough for coming back here. as fred mentioned, we had the honor of hosting the senator several times. i will say, each time, you have added to the conversation.
you have delivered a important messages, whether it has in on the future of an alliance, syria , democracy promotion, and now on ukraine. for that, we are grateful for your strong voice on these issues and for your principled leadership. we are focusing on what the transatlantic community can still do and our values here. as the senator pay tribute, it sounds like you had a chance to meet a ukrainian pop star from contest, weon song will play a live stream on our screen in the lobby. as you exit, take a look at what is playing on key of right now -- in kiev right now. there are hundreds of thousands of protesters with those cell phones on. please join me in thanking senator mccain for his time. [applause] >> thank you so much.
issues that we cared about because they matched our broader believes. communityyers in our doing good work every day. martha's table delivered hot meals to the park outside. van every night and i would see the lines of people there every night and i that it was volunteer- driven. 10,000 volunteers. working steve on -- hard- staff and they had enormous influence in the community that they were serving. why wouldn't i join that organization? betterld i understand why do we have this issue, persistent child poverty, why do we have so many children who are not graduating high school and going on to college and being able to have a career the way i was able to.
>> the president and ceo of martha's table. sunday night at 8:00 on c-span q&a. >> this was a deliberate move to simply end with a controversy. that was always the perspective of government. outwas the one who stood and she was responsible. she was a victim. she should have been protected. there was no protection. should have been an elite force of police man that would accompany her to the rally where she was killed. that was not there. andaw video and pictures
talk to witnesses. we spoke to 150 people. all that we interviewed saw no elite force for her protection. that was the duty of the government. u.s. assistant secretary-general heralo munoz on the investigation he led into the former pakistani prime minister benazir bhutto. >> mark levin will take your question for three hours beginning on sunday, january 5. and online, for this month will .v book club we want to know what your favorite books of 2013 were. join other readers to discuss the notable books of 2013.
whip dick durbin talked about education and immigration, and mainly the senate was talking about the 2014 defense authorization bill. republicans tried to tackle the measure. it is possible we may see both on that bill later in the senate. senate majority leader harry reid said this afternoon that he will push to confirm only the first four of 10 nominees on whom you has filed. one of those is janet yellen to lead the federal reserve. it bipartisan group of senators has offered a bill that would impose additional sanctions on iran. on the issue of iran, as talks continue between the world's major powers, one of the key sticking points has been the except of a level of uranium the richmond -- uranium enrichment.
robert einhorn spoke in new york where he was joined by former iranian negotiators. this is about one hour 10 minutes. >> thank you. [applause] easiere made my job because you laid out the questions we need to start. i will we've been questions from the ipad through the our. thatre joking backstage u.s.-iran relations -- this interim agreement appears to be a hick up. secretary kerry is talking with the foreign minister about making sure that it is actually implemented. is this a real agreement?
is this a breaker? >> i think it will take a paroxysm of imagination to believe that it is not a breakthrough in the context of 30 years of almost no contact and no sustained or continuing contact. the other element of a breakthrough is, where does that gore lead? is it leading somewhere? can we see this particular aening take us through to stage where we recognize that the agreements, and i put the plural there because we are waiting now to the about a follow-up arrangement. we should see if the agreements have produced something that we can see, observe, and understand , that it has created a status for arrangements different from when we started. breakthrough? absolutely.
is the whole question going to be ratified at the end? we are focused on the future here. that is what we have to look at. i have great hopes that it will. the problem with the future is that it is all prediction. the point here is that i think the opening of the door gives us every responsible reason to make sure on both sides that we conduct ourselves and run the activities so that at the end of the day the door is leading us somewhere. from that point, we can pick up and do other things. the agenda -- both sides have seemingly given priority to the nuclear agenda. for me at least, it is hard to believe that given the number of been given,y have
that they have not talked about other questions. think that would be something you may want to pursue as time goes on. agree that this truly is a breakthrough moment? i wonder if you would comment as well on domestic pressures .acing president rouhani i was dropped by the contradictory reaction to the by theall -- struck contradictory reaction to the phone call. they were greeted by protests. and then the cheers and the overwhelming admiration that welcomed him back. >> i agree that this is a real breakthrough. for the first time, we have talks between two foreign ministers. time, we have a
phone conversation between the two presidents. they have nominated these foreign ministers to follow-up with talks on nuclear and beyond. we had 5, 6, 7 rounds of regulation issues before the talks are continuing. these are unprecedented events. we have never had these in 40 years. on the domestic situation, you have the same domestic situation that you have in the u.s.. them. are supporting the people are opposing deal. some are silent. it is like a domestic situation
in the u.s.. the sameerything is and at the same level. big difference, there is a foreign intervention. arabs, israelis, they are making an official intervention. there are third parties interfering in the u.s. decision. if iran does not influence other countries on the deal, this is a big difference between our domestic situations. -- i alsoup combat this is theom that beginning. it is a breakthrough. we should know that it is the beginning. we have a comprehensive package to agree to.
>> are you confident that the interim agreement will be executed? >> iran has already agreed to he. with the iaea of the most difficult parts of this agreement. is the number one issue that we are asking. irradiated -- the fact that iranians, and the iaea have , the irani and safari given access, before this interim agreement -- the irani -- the iranians
had given access to the iaea to nuclear facilities. believe that they are serious. advanced.ns are more on laying theking groundwork for this agreement. it seemed to be an exquisitely balanced -- from your point of view, it seems like you worked hard on getting the balance right. sideu agree that with each there was a parallel pressure? or do you think one side or the other may have a greater domestic opposition? >> i agree. there is a great balance in terms of domestic issues.
this was a major accomplishment in a relatively short period of time. there was tremendous mistrust. on what only one step is going to be a long journey. the obstacles ahead or huge. the mistrust on both sides is tremendous. the issues that they have to tackle, the interim agreement -- the issues are small in comparison to the big issues of what has to be resolved in a final deal. then you have the domestic criticism. we have the u.s. congress, very skeptical, and the american public is skeptical. it has been 34 years of estrangement in relations. are there a lot of ill will and mistrust. the american public does not trust any deal with iran.
i'm confident that this interim deal -- both sides will comply with it. there is a lot of mistrust. , there isnian side tremendous skepticism. this could open the door and if there is a final agreement, the president said that there is a 50 50 probability of reaching an agreement. that may even be a little optimistic. the odds are really huge. it can be achieved, i think you can open the door to cooperation in other areas. it will be hard. you look around the world and you think of areas where there should be cooperation. afghanistan, syria, both sides are coming out. we want to stop the violence and stop the civil war.
in terms of the conditions for -- itng that civil war, is a very impressive initial step. it is only an initial step. >> let me pick up on that. 50, have this situation, 50- where there is a certain chance of success. the clock is ticking. both republicans and democrats -- after six months, there are more sanctions if nothing is done. the saudi's are restive, president netanyahu is restive, how are you advising secretary kerry? what specifically would you do to start to beat the clock? clock is not running. i would first get the clock running as quick as i can. the second thing i would do is start yesterday. i would begin to scope out the effort has to be made and the
strategy and the focus and the principles on the ideas that have to go to copperheads of agreements. i would try to pick up immediately, perhaps beginning in a bilateral contacts, -- context, despite the fact that they have produced to negotiations in the place of one. one between the u.s. and iran, and another one between the u.s. and iran. go from aeasy to bilateral deal to a multilateral deal seamlessly. on the other hand, it is very clear that from the moment the u.s. -- the moment in which iran accepted it, the key was in the lock. it was ready to be turned to open the door.
i think that is very important. there are critical questions and you have issues here on what basis should we make an agreement with respect to continuing enrichment in iran. that is inevitable. should it be a description of a peaceful program? i think it should be. you cannot pull figures out of the air. to some extent, how does that ?elp prevent rapid breakout how does that fit together? there are some critical issues. what do we do about the future of the reactor? should it be converted to another form of enrichment? should we produce the result that iran is expecting from the reactor with less danger? questions.mportant i'm sure bob could give you hundreds of others. we need to do that. need to work on the congress. my own view is that we escaped
from a real catastrophe, but it is true that the congress was brought up short in what i thought was a mindless effort clearly aimed at destroying this agreement. that it wasfact explained on the basis of their uncertainty and mistrust of iran. recognizinghat , andhment is inevitable congress is saying it is impossible. is that worth killing the deal? is there, and this can go to you as well, a creative way around that? >> of course there is. the creative way is to restrict that are bothels retarding a rapid breakout on the one hand, and related to a peaceful nuclear program -- with all due respect, you are saying
that iran has no current use for this. at least as far as i can see. [laughter] they will have to figure out what it is they want to do. let me also say that i think we are making progress with the congress. i think congress has come to understand that this no enrichment thing -- how will we take enrichment knowledge out of the heads of iranians? that is how it counts. you know how to operate these cascades effectively. then you have conquered a technical problem and zero enrichment may give you some time, but in the end, it does not undo the notion that you have argued been able to develop and design the technical reality. >> let me respond to your point about enrichment. what is the clock light inside iran right now?
is president rouhani under time pressure as well? what would happen if president obama decided to deliver? how much time would he get? respect, with all whether the enrichment is needed or not, and with americans they do not need 10,000 nuclear bombs. [laughter] >> we didn't need 70,000 either. >> the irradiance should have in -- the irradiance should have enrichment or not -- the iranians should have enrichment or not -- the time pressure is very important for the future of iran-u.s. relations. we must understand where the have broughttions
iran to the negotiation table. i'm talking about the future. if americans come to the conclusion because of threats or sanctions or pressure, they may be able to come to a negotiation deal, -- >> that is an article of faith. >> sanctions harm iran, no doubt. no one can dispute this. there's no dispute. to package proposal -- look to the package proposal we gave in 2005. we were members of the nuclear negotiation team. it was a time when the iranian underr program was not
the united nations. it was before you and resolutions. look at the deal signed in 25,mber 24th, november 2005. the elements are exactly the same. the major elements of the proposal that iran but on the table in march 2005 where exactly the same as the elements of the bill signed. iran proposed not to have reprocessing. they propose to enrich below 5%. proposed for a maximum level of transparency. these are the elements of the deal. before sanctions and after sanctions. that would be a big mistake to invest in this narrative that we should go for threats,
pressures, sanctions to win them over. -- what is the main objective of sanctions? to contain and to limit the iranian nuclear program. sanctions, iran had 3000 centrifuges. after sanctions, 19,000. before sanctions, iran had a few kilograms of enrichment materials. after sanctions, 8000 or 9000 kilograms. before sanctions, iran was enriching below a certain percent. after sanctions, they were enriching more. increased the capacity of nuclear in order to prove to americans -->> can i ask you? if you were sitting across the
table, and i'm sure you have been at tables where narratives like that were told, what would you say? >> come on. [laughter] knows why iran has made these concessions in the interim deal. the sanctions became very effective. they were resisted and the program continued, but after the oil sanctions were put into place and the oil revenues 50%, inflation went up to 40%. the sanctions became hard to tolerate. was in a state of denial. they thought that they could weather the sanctions and get around them. the west will develop sanctioned fatigue. we will make do. >> what about the proposal in
2000 five, before sanctions? >> i do not want to go there. after the june election, a group of leaders came to power who were realists. pragmatist. they look at the situation and decided that this is intolerable. our country is going down the drain. we have to do something about this. a majority of the iranian public said, enough. we have to rejoin the world. we have to get rid of these sanctions. there is no question in my mind that the sanctions were what brought iran to the table. i agree with hussein that , sanctions can be counterproductive. i think congress is mistaken to take the view that something should are good, and more sanctions must be better. at this point, iran has plenty of incentive to negotiate series they on a final deal in order to get sanctions not just eased a
little bit, and this evening is modest, but lifted altogether. how do you make the case with john mccain and chuck schumer? >> you say, what is the u.s. objective? it is to get the best possible deal that keeps iran away from a nuclear weapon. at the same time, it does not take us to war. the alternatives to me seem to be very start. -- stark. continuing to keep sanctions on iran when they could be useful in getting nuclear weapons by taking them off the deal, it means in effect that you have created a double duty operation for the sanctions. it is smart. you can put them back on again. indeed we have held the trigger very tightly in our hands in terms of the present situation. we can take off what are
essentially -- put it this way, the symptoms of sanctions, as opposed to the sanctions themselves. i think we are moving on the right course. to get a comprehensive agreement, we will have to go further. view, isnative, in my like holding out for a deal that does not compensate great deal more. -- accomplish a great deal more. you have to pay for this and all of this extra coin, but it does not demonstrably change the situation in a real way. analysisisk-benefit that logical people can go through and come out in a clear way that the kind of deal we are moving toward is a good deal and a helpful deal. there is no perfect deal. a counterargument
that you hear from congress. if we do not keep the pressure on -- >> that have not been shown to be effective. the notion that a whole bunch of people will bolt for the barn door because one horse is eating hay is not correct. >> what does the president have to show to the supreme leader, to others in the power structure of iran, and to the iranian complete theer to deal? >> a better economic situation, and improvement in the economic situation, would be an important issue for president rouhani to deliver. relation between two issues.
one is the domestic management. and the other one is sanctions. i think we are in a much better situation of domestic management and they are much more functional. if the process of sanctions and lifting of sanctions continues, this would help a lot. i really, sincerely believe that the major issue may be deal possible. -- that may be deal possible was a change in the u.s. relation. the first diplomats in the state department recognized enrichment -- we be encouraged cannot deny enrichment. the reason that all efforts failed in 2005 was because the
u.s. redline was no enrichment. we could not do anything. in this shift made the deal possible. if the u.s. was supposed to continue sanctions for another century, to stay with no enrichment, it would never be able to get it. >> i remember it well because of the interviewing the secretary the morning after the deal. just as the foreign minister and president were saying the deal clearly includes the right to enrichment, he was adamantly denying my direct question. it might get you through an interim agreement, but how do you square that? >> correct me if i'm wrong. as far as i understand, since
not, 1970, the u.s. has publicly recognized the rights of enrichment for any country. including germany, argentina, brazil, japan. but passively, practically, has tolerated. abouts my understanding 50 years of u.s. policy. when kerry or obama are talking about we're not going to recognize the rights of iran for enrichment, they have not recognized as i understand the rights of enrichment for japan, brazil, argentina, germany, but they have accepted. in practice, they have accepted enrichment in japan. this is what they're going to do about iran. >> it is clear that the present deal doesn't get zero enrichment. there is inherent language that zero enrichment
may not be forcibly on the table considering the follow-on deal. but it doesn't say that it necessarily can't be considered. there is a kind of politics to this rather than legality. i don't think anybody can believe that enrichment was ruled out, nor was it specifically provided for. >> there is no recognition of the legal right. we have set aside the legality and said, let's look at practicality. as far as practicality, we don't believe iran is going to accept a deal without enrichment. but there has not yet been acceptance by the u.s. it is conditional acceptance. onditional upon agreement
limitations and enrichment capacity and limitations of stockpiles and enriched uranium. on acceptance of monetary measures that would make enrichment program acceptable in terms of removing concerns about the ultimate intention of the program, the potential misuse of the program for nuclear weapons. it is going to be a very hard negotiation. before i accept his gratitude for recognizing early, let me say that at the moment the two sides have very different perceptions of what an acceptable enrichment program would be. this agreement tom referred to, the joint plan of action, talked about a mutually defined enrichment program based on practical needs. that is very important. because the u.s. looks at, asks itself what are iran's practical , needs for enrichment. it has a research reactor
in tehran surprised -- supplied, by the way, by the united states. it already has enough fuel for a few decades. it has a big power reactor at a place called bashir that was supplied by the russians. the russians are supplying the enriched uranium fuel for it. smallas plans for four research reactors to produce medical isotopes, and that is fine. we fully support that. you need fuel for that, and iran can produce enriched uranium fuel for that. but these reactors have not been billed. yet.d has not been broken at the moment, the practical needs a relatively small. very small. itsy guess is the u.s. and partners are going to suggest a very constrained and small error -- enrichment program. much reduced from the current capacity.
whereas iran is going to have in mind a much more ambitious approach. it won't look at current practical needs, it will look at plans, which i think are wildly unrealistic, for having the equivalent of 20 big power reactors. i don't think those were ever be built in iran, and the u.s. will not agree to enrichment program sized to fuel a very large fantasy program. >> you mentioned the p-five. let me ring this to you. we know that israel is cross over the current agreement. russia and china? how do you see the role they're are playing in this process? are they hostile to a real deal? or do you think -- >> i think russia and china are now in the same range for a deal.
that perhaps we are. with maybe some variations, but i don't think they would no much more. i don't have a sense that, like syria, we have some measurable, clear differences on the table here with russia and china. i think they are probably slower on the uptake, although in the past the russians have put forward ideas for a deal that are not too different from where we have come out, as a matter of fact. they're are perfectly free to take credit for helping this. with all respect to the chinese, the chinese are happy to follow in the wake of the russians on this one, not to get out ahead, either in front or behind on moving the kind of question ahead that has been politically very comfortable for them. on this, we had that extraordinary and perhaps even excruciating period of french resistance, which i think had
its own peculiar dynamic which i think we are now over. we have had deep concern in the gulf states of -- with israel. that is not trivial. that needs to be dealt with. i was ambassador in israel and i know is really politics really well, where the prime minister of israel through rough a kind ofr absolutely magnificent foresight criticized a deal that he did not know the conditions up and which turned out to not be the deal. in some ways, that gives you an indication that there was at least some political imperative at work here, which i think obviously we can help correct, and it was very interesting to me that the week after the deal, the israeli approach shifted. it was not to criticize the deal, but it was to come to the united states to try to define a comprehensive deal. maybe to get zero enrichment
into the competence of deal. that produced, on the hill, a set of reactions. that's tighten up sanctions. let's define the parameters of a deal. others, as you said early on, let's keep this to the six months. that is in the deal. , ifjoint agreement provides you can't come to agreement in six months, the two sides can't agree to additional periods. i think that would be politically hard sledding right now. a maximumhave to put effort into getting a conference of deal, or something very close to it. >> do you think that maximum effort is being made right now? >> the maximum effort? up until now, i would say yes, except for imposing new sanctions. the u.s. made a big mistake. otherwise, the goodwill efforts have been really positive. , about a comprehensive
package, definitely the u.s. has played or would play a very critical role. it depends to what type of deal the u.s. would look for copper hence the package. netanyahu, orsfy a deal to satisfy nonproliferation. big difference. he would never be satisfied, because if the iranian nuclear issue was resolved today, everybody would ask about the peace process. everybody would ask about hundreds of israeli nuclear bombs. continue theer to iranian nuclear issue in order to hide other issues. reach a.s. is going to comprehensive deal with iran to satisfy nonproliferation, we have -- as far as i understand
it we have three major arrangements. protocol andonal another is subsidiary arrangement code 3.1. this is the maximum international community that fromorld powers can expect npt.based on i had some more from the dialogues. gary told the public that the u.s. would go to negotiate with no heavy water, 3000 or 4000 centrifuges. all these limitations. these limitations are all beyond npt.
is the base, if you are going to look for sustainable solutions you have to stick to npt. if a member is going to implement additional protocol for 3.1, there is nothing beyond . then iran will be committed to the maximum level of transparency. ,ut if you going to put limits whether iran needs it or domestically -- to mystically or not is another issue. but you cannot find any types of limits within npt. they can have one enrichment site or 10 enrichment sites. light water or heavy water. no one can impose on the members of npt any limits. >> i can see you want to jump in. >> it is certainly not true.
npt has one magnificent qualifier. peaceful. things that are not peaceful are not permitted even though we -- you and i have had long disputes and arguments about this. some will say it can take it to the last screw turn on a bomb, and it is still peaceful. i don't accept that view. islso think the transparency an interesting question, because already in the joint agreement, iran has agreed to put inspection of certain items, centrifuges, and certain other installations up for inspection which, in my view, are not readily chain of all to -- orinable to protocol 3.1 traditional safeguards. i think it is great. i'm glad you did. i think it is an example for the whole world that you're doing it. and i would like to see, in fact, that improve. we have a particularly difficult problem. we have sensitive activities
which are dual use that can be converted and moved into a weapons area that are part of nuclear programs. it is up to the international community not to be static in an agreement made in the 1960's as the fundamental designer of everything. ahead andt, to move try to find ways to improve our capacity. some years ago, a suggestion was made by a number of bus that we theld internationalize sensitive facilities, that others should participate, that they would be openness in what the facility was doing. members of the board, partial owners. iran, in some ways has come back with that suggestion, at least quietly and in a number of areas. i think that is sensible, and they should be complement it for it. if i had my way, i would have started with the u.s. to take facilitiesichment and put them under international ownership. open the door and seek to get
the other permanent members of the security council who are nuclear powers but have said we are going to make my thing -- nothing more for weapons. to do the same thing. it would be purely a civilian effort, but it would be another guarantee we were not making for weapons out the back door. >> a few quick points. before thationed you had recently implied sanctions and there was a problem. the interim agreement says that the u.s. will not impose new sanctions. what that means is that under existing sanctions there may be particular enforcement actions under existing authorities, and that was explained to the iranian side in great detail. entitiesre individual being sanctioned for violations of existing sanctions, but there will be no new sanctions. that was explained to the
iranian side. it was understood. in fact, i happen to know that in vienna on thursday at lunch time, the u.s. side gave a heads up, advance notice that these designations were coming. before the world know, as a courtesy, we let iran know. it is recognized. said,n minister zarif even if these actions were consistent with the interim agreement, they were inappropriate and unconstructive, which is that everyone knew they were not inconsistent. they were expected. let me say something. npt is aentioned the standard. given the mistrust and what we considered iran's file actions tions, iran has to
do more than satisfy the minimum of the npt. iranian officials have said, our job is to resolve the concern of the international community. we are prepared to go to great lengths to do that. that will mean going beyond the n[t, certainly temporarily -- npt, certainly temporarily. what should our objectives be? constraining what is called breakout capability. and when a, if country decides to get nuclear weapons, it suddenly abandons constraints, kicks out inspectors, and uses existing facilities like an enrichment facility very quickly to produce enough on-grade uranium for a single weapon, and to do that quickly enough before the international community can -- has an opportunity to intervene. order to constrain breakout capability, you have to lengthen that breakout timeline,
the time it would take to enrich enough uranium for a bomb. that means constraining the size of the enrichment program. in our view, it is possible to constrain the size of the program and not -- enough to satisfy international concerns while at the same time meeting iran's legitimate needs for enriched uranium to fuel its nuclear energy program, which for the time being is very modest. i think it is possible to square the circle, but it is going to involve bridging the gap that is very wide. let me just say something. what is going to make it a little difficult, i like the interim agreement. it is a good agreement. but a problem with the interim agreement is that it attracts fire. it attracts criticism. when it attracts criticism, it is natural for leaders to want to kind of dig in a little bit. because they have to -- >> i just heard something.
i want to go to questions from the audience, but hossein said something that caught my attention in his last answer. he said, you can't have a deal that satisfies prime minister netanyahu. if that is true, can there be a deal? from your perspective? >> i agree that it should not be the standard. i don't know why he has taken a very maximalist -- why prime minister netanyahu has taken a very maximalist position. no enrichment, shut down this reactor, close down the facility. i don't think that is achievable. it is not necessary. we can have a good agreement without meeting those criteria. members of congress, they say, ok, maybe it is not achievable. what is the harm in going forward? you have so much leverage now, go for it. the worst they can do is say no.
actually, there is worse than saying no. if we put a position on the table that the world considers lose a vital element in these negotiations this very , strong sanctions coalition. i was responsible in the state department for building support for international sanctions. when i went around the world speaking to governments, the best argument i had is that we need your help strengthening the sanctions in order to increase the chance of successful negotiations. we need to put pressure. only through pressure are we going to get a good deal, so you need to help us. the u.s. takes a maximalist position that makes it seem as though we are the internet -- intransigent party, i think we lose members of the sanctions coalition. >> that is how it unravels. >> i think it is simple.
we and the israeli prime minister agree on no nuclear weapons in iran. as bob said before. we have not. on no nuclear weapons or no nuclear capability, whatever that might mean. some nuclear capability you have. netanyahu never defined that. he tried to define it is no enrichment. but in a sense, the really interesting point here is, can we get the kind of agreement bob has described, that i talked about, that hossein is ready to say the iranians will agree, that gives us as much time as we need, as much transparency so we know when we are losing that, as we possibly can? an arrangement out there on the table, or do we want to give that away in hopes of getting something that is in my view slightly better but not worth the price of admission, but
which may well lead us, unfortunately, to a military conflict. >> with that, i want to go to questions from all of you. the first one is from you, hossein. we just talked about prime minister netanyahu. >> he is the expert. [laughter] >> this comes from a different angle. , especiallyliners the iranian revolutionary guard, have benefited from sanctions. support aultimately conference of agreement that gets rid of sanctions and prevents iran from developing new year weapons? >> no one has benefited from sanctions in iran. guard isutionary really supporting the current negotiations in order to reach sanctions. -- relieve sanctions. i have been at the iranian administration during the time
the nuclear crisis came up. we had extensive discussions. , even never heard any radicals, proposing a nuclear bomb. nobody in iran is after a nuclear bomb. very clear religious fatwa. i think iran is the only muslim country that has issued, at the highest level, a religious fatwa banning all weapons of mass destruction. you cannot imagine the revolutionary guard, the two followers of the leader that would go against the fatwa. if the comprehensive package, if the base is going to the npt, for confidence=building measure
for a period, some measure npt would be acceptable to iranians, because it was iranians who proposed in 2003, 2005, confidence-building measures like enrichment below five percent. like no reprocessing. confidence that the building measures in order to remove international concern. surprised i am really about the level and amount of impact of netanyahu in the u.s. all,y is because, first of he is challenging officially the u.s. president. it is shocking.
second, when you hear congressman tell john kerry that than yourre israelis assessment, can you imagine a u.s. congressman telling the u.s. foreign secretary, i trust israelis more than you? this is really something that we cannot imagine. [laughter] >> one of the other questions coming in. can you tell us more about the secret u.s.-iran talks that led to the nuclear agreement? how did they come about? >> tom was behind. [laughter] the person who masterminded all these. >> we can turn to the ambassador. i can shed more light on it than anyone else here it but i am restricted in what i really can say.
all i can say is this. there have been reports about a bilateral channel going back pretty far, even before the election in iran. i don't want to comment on that. the u.s. clear that administration, president obama has personally said, i would like to have bilateral u.s.- iranian talks. we need to restore dialogue. the administration has been for that for quite some time. i am very glad that at the u n general assembly this september, you have a foreign ministers meeting involving the iranian foreign minister. that was good. secretarykerry and zarif met afterwards and the president next day phoned president rouhani. all that was really good. bilateral dialogue continued after that. it has been revealed since then
that there were a lot of side discussions, in addition to bp- one.plus one -- p-5 plus in that crucial second geneva session, what happened was the document that was paired and handed by catherine ashton of the european union, she called it an american document, but it was largely an american-iranian document. it was not fully resolved. there were some issues unresolved, but it was largely the work of bilateral discussions, working very efficiently and well together. my own view is that the united states might of done a better job at consulting some of its partners, in advance, but we were honoring iran's request
that we keep this confidential. that was a sensible request. it is very difficult to negotiate in public. even if we went to some of our partners and said, this is strictly secret, somebody's -- some of these governments are outty leaky and it can get in the newspaper and make things very difficult. so he kept it quiet. it caused some resentment. the reaction of the french foreign minister on that friday, the public reaction was, i think, a function of his feeling a bit left out. resolved. within 24 hours, there was a consensus and we moved forward. to be a is going competition factor going forward, because i think everyone knows, even our european partners, certainly the russians and chinese now, if there's going to be a deal there has to be a meeting of the mind between the united states and iran. those are the two critical
protagonists. i don't want to diminish the work of the eu. it is committed to sanctions, an important motivating factor, and very important, the russians and chinese will have important roles in committing this, but the u.s. and iran will be critical. even though the multilateral talks will be central to all this, i think they will have to be supplemented with bilateral discussions. from time to time. >> another question, a more provocative one. you are professionals of hard, grinding work. building confidence in these negotiations. a question that came in. president richard nixon's historic visit to china in 1972 was a pivotal moment in u.s. foreign policy. is president obama on the verge of something similar? i guess i want to add to that. i will start with you, ambassador pickett -- pickering. is there any world where it would be more helpful to try
something dramatic like that? or is the bottom-of negotiation better? >> i think we have yet to see beyond what we are to have, with the phone call, certainly the meeting of the foreign ministers are not to be disparaged as everyday occurrences after really 30 years of separation and mistrust. they have to look, maybe not equal to a visit to china, but the visit to china was carefully prepared over a year by henry kissinger's visit. that was done quietly to get that thing moving for the very same reason that bob just clearly explained. there was value in u.s.-iran bilateral contact. both sides, i think, had a strong feeling that they could prosper if it could took place outside of the glare of the lights and outside the influence of other players. in, iplayers were brought
understand, at various times. maybe not swiftly enough, but my own feeling was that was a necessary risk to take. because the gains from the bilateral contact, from what i understand, were so significantly larger than the had tory hiccups that we go through despite the fact that they got a lot of publicity, that we have to do that. now, the challenge is, how can bilateral contacts and multilateral negotiations be syncopated a little better? thatotion of the fact bilateral contacts doesn't have to be hidden any longer. even if there are not direct reports over all of the tv stations right away as to exactly who said what to whom. we will get it on your program. i think that is the way to proceed, and they have to be some thought given to it. but my own feeling