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tv   Iran Nuclear Agreement  CSPAN  May 4, 2018 10:04am-11:01am EDT

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for the email. has upcominguide schedules. word for word gives video highlights in their own words with no commentary. the book tv newsletter is an insiders look at upcoming authors and book festivals and the american history tv weekly newsletter gives you the upcoming programming exploring our nation's past. up --c-span.org/connect & and sign up today. >> now a discussion on what is ahead for the iran nuclear agreement. thelars talk about implications of the trump administration potential decision to exit the deal. the joint comprehensive plan of in july 2015ached between iran, france, britain,
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russia, germany, and the european union. this is one hour. >> good afternoon. welcome to the heritage foundation in our douglas and sarah allison auditorium. we welcome those who join us on our heritage.org website on all of these occasions for in-house guests we ask the courtesy that mobile devices have been silenced and turned off as we prepared to begin. for those watching online in the future you're welcome to send questions or comments at any time, simply emailing speaker at heritage.org.
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hosting our program this afternoon's james phillips, senior research fellow for middle eastern affairs. he is a veteran foreign policy affairs specialist, he's written widely on terrorism since joining us here in 1979. he has authored dozens of papers on iran, the nuclear program and use of terrorism and has testified before congress on iran's nuclear program as well as other middle east security issues. please join me in welcoming jim phillips. we are approaching a key inflection point in the evolution of the reagan/trump administration iran policy. president trump last january set a deadline of may 12 to either and/or amend the iran nuclear agreement and negotiations are ongoing between the u.s., britain, france and germany. to address some of the flaws of the deal including the sun set of key restrictions on uranium
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enrichment, iran's advancing missile program which should be considered in the context of the nuclear program, and the inadequate verification measures included in the deal. it's unclear whether a satisfactory arrangement or agreement between the u.s. and britain, france, and germany can be reached by the president's deadline. more importantly, it's unclear what the broader strategy is for the administration going forward on iran's nuclear issues. the president has hinted that he may be open to negotiating stronger deal directly with iran
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but there's no clear path for doing that. on monday the plot thickens when israeli prime minister benjamin -- prime minister benjamin netanyahu gave a dramatic presentation revealing stolen documents from iran's nuclear program that confirmed long-term and suspicions about iran's nuclear ambitions. secretary of state mike pompeo confirmed these documents are authentic and said it showed that the iran nuclear deal was built on iran's lies on the issue. at a minimum the revelations will increase pressure for stronger inspections and verification measures and perhaps even a precise target for iaea, but the revelations also make it much more likely that the administration will scrap the nuclear deal entirely. given the crumbling foundations of this agreement, should the u.s. walk away or should they try to fix the agreement? to answer these and other questions for we are fortunate
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to have with us today a panel of distinguished experts including richard goldberg, a foundation of defensive democracies and ilan berman of the american foreign policy council. i will introduce them each in turn, but our first speaker is michael rubin. he is a resident scholar of the american enterprise institute and a former iran desk officer in the office of the secretary of defense. he's a senior lecturer at the naval postgraduate school department of national security affairs and at the u.s. foreign studies office. in addition to his policy work he has authored a number of books, academic articles and encyclopedia entries about iran. michael. michael: thank you very much. let me just be upfront, there are certain things we now know that we didn't know before. while a lot of the press has
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focused on whether or not that tremendous trove that benjamin netanyahu presented represented new material or not, let me talk about some of the other issues that we now know to be true. number one, the iran foreign minister lied. he had said repeatedly that iran never really had a nuclear program, that it was a figment of western imagination. 100,000 documents suggest he is a liar. being able to speak english to the american secretary of state is not a magic formula that proves someone's sincerity. we have been in a situation with him before in 2003 when we were conducting secret negotiations ahead of the operation iraqi
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freedom and he was then iran's un ambassador and promised that iran wouldn't interfere and will send other militiamen in and yet according to the iranian press, as soon as it went up that's exactly what they did. there are two possibilities at the time. either mohammed lied and knew he was lying or he was being sincere but didn't have any control over the revolutionary guard corps. whatever it was, it would be a bad situation and counterproductive to trust someone like that, but in this case he's also lied with regard to the idea that iran wasn't really fighting in syria and yet the news agency affiliated with the islamic revolutionary guard corps and knowledge that the irgc had already lost 1000 fighters inside syria. as soon as he had said this a major general was killed fighting in syria. the point of this is there is a track record and we need to be very careful about any agreements when we are relying on the personal trust of someone like him. one of the other things that
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has not been brought up as the ayatollah's fatwah. president obama cited this as proof that the iranians were sincere about resolving the nuclear program. they said that the ayatollah found that nuclear weapons were illegal, that iran would never build them and yet all these documents show that's exactly what iran was doing, and therefore, the idea that we put our faith in around on something that was never written down or revealed in any format, it suggests that was just one big propaganda play. the last thing we need to recognize is that the 2007 national intelligence estimate was flat-out wrong. this is a problem with the u.s. intelligence community. in 2003 there is a finding that iran was developing nuclear weapons. in 2007, to much public debate, the nie released a new national intelligence consensus document
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and finding of the u.s. intelligence community finding that iran had stopped its nuclear program in 2003 or 2004. the international atomic energy agency, in defending itself, after prime minister netanyahu revealed these documents said they had no evidence that iran had been experimenting with nuclear weapons designer or anything like that since 2009 which means, in 2007 the consensus document of the u.s. intelligence community was wrong and we haven't had any introspection about the mistakes which were made in that account. unfortunately, it seems that our new national security adviser john bolton was right when he said that the 2007 estimate was crafted in a way to constrain debate. it was the pinnacle of intelligence politicization. when it comes to nuclear weapons, you can think of this in terms, from a non-technical aspect, of three major
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components to a nuclear weapons program. one is the ability to enrich uranium to weapons grade and this was the thing that was most controversial about the 2007 national intelligent estimate because it changed the definition to basically say that such enrichment wasn't proof or wasn't a component of a military program. now we know it's no secret that iran has the ability to enrich uranium. they have the technology to do so. the second component is the warhead design. that's what these documents showed beyond any reasonable doubt, and the third component is a delivery platform, ballistic missiles and so forth, and this is something that unfortunately john kerry gave the iranians a free pass on. what would happen if trump walked away from the deal? frankly, despite the hyperbole in the public debate, not much of anything. the fact of the matter is, when it comes to unilateral sanctions sanctions, the administration which has been toughest on iran over the years has been bill clinton's administration.
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if you go back to 1994-1995 with the executive orders, forbidding investments and going to extra territory aspects, forbidding european subsidiaries or partners to invest, and then you have the iran libya sanctions act in 1996 which was willing to sanction european companies that were doing this. lot,uropeans complained a but no matter what their president or prime minister might say, if you're the chairman of the european business and you're worried about your bottom line, you're worried you do not want to become a diplomatic football. you don't want to take the risk of the united states slapping your country with fines and sanctions and therefore we need to stop paying attention so much to what the european leaders say and recognize there is a precedent of unilateral sanctions and two, european companies tend to play ball. the danger always is, when
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european governments give the loan guarantees and european businesses and then european taxpayers are on the hook, but that's a different issue. i also want to say that regardless of what donald trump decides to do, the joint conference plan of action was never meant to be a get out of jail free card when it came to iran and iran's work on ballistic missiles and their work on terrorism. while the press was paying attention to anything benjamin netanyahu was saying and choosing to debate that, something interesting happened. the moroccans broke diplomatic relations with iran and why is that? the reason was they had caught the iranians red-handed smuggling missiles in algeria. this is an indication that iran is acting on behalf of ideology that is --t an issue
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that is in the key to bringing iran back into the fold. we also have lots of terrorism in yemen. i spent about five months in yemen and i've actually visited arms markets in yemen and i can tell you, i saw lots of weaponry in those arms market but i never saw anti-ship missiles. the tribesmen aren't known for getting their hands on anti-ship missiles. that is until recently when the iranians started providing them. this is a real problem. in conclusion, admittedly i'm a historian so i get paid to predict the past. admittedly, i only get that right about half the time. but a few things i would like to note. iran isn't the first country that entered into negotiations to give up a controversial or covert nuclear program. of course, kazakhstan, belarus and ukraine gave up their legacy programs. in 1991 you had south africa decide they were going to come
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in from the cold and they decided to work with international atomic energy agency and even though you had a fully compliant government, it took the iaea 19 years to certified south africa as clean, and yet they are willing to turn a blind eye to iran's program . to let iran self test. i am from philadelphia, so it is like letting the new england patriots do their own controls on whether or not the deflating footballs or using steroids or anything like that. the fact of the matter is, it wouldn't fly anywhere except iaea and admittedly they were tremendous pressure and allow -- not just from the russians and the chinese -- but unfortunately from the u.s. government and they allow themselves to politicize intelligence and soil their own reputation. they have a lot of accounting to do. remember between 1980 and 1991, the international atomic energy already has one major fail when it turned out that we found
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-- they gave the iraqi's clean bill of health and it turned out that we found saddam hussein's son-in-law defected and said they really did have a nuclear weapons program. now, this isn't the first time iran has engaged in such a strategy. the national security adviser between 1998 and 2008, i'm sorry between 1988 and 2005 had entered into negotiations with the europeans and had agreed to suspend uranium enrichment. when he was defending himself against his critics he said the reason why i agreed to we needed toecause focus on other elements of our special projects. therefore, we needed to stop the
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s from spinning so we can install more. inn he was stepping down in5, there was a speech timeshe outlined all the the united states and been defeated. he set our strategy was clear -- we lull them into complacency and then deliver the knockout blow. once, fool me twice, let's hope and are not fooled a third time. our next beach speaker is richard goldberg. he is the senior advisor at the foundation for defense of democracies, he's a former senior senate aide and was a lead author and negotiator of the toughest sanctions leveled against iran from 2011 to 2013. richard worked for years on ballistic missile defense
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cooperation with israel to defend against iranian missiles and led efforts to impose sanctions on iran for the regime's abuse of human rights. separately, he is a navy reserve intel officer with service on the joint staff and in afghanistan. richard? richard: honor to be a pure with my fellow panelists. i think it is important before moving forward to look backwards just a couple years. all too often it is what is just in front of us in washington and the debate gets wrapped up in politics. when we talk about whether or not the president should leave the deal, what the israeli intelligence findings mean, it is important to understand how we got into the deal to begin with. i'm not a historian, but i lived through this history and all of you did as well. it started in 2013.
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up until then, we had what appeared to american eyes to be a crazy man in tehran and it was very easy to understand the threat of iran because he vocalized it. he said exactly what their intentions were everyday. and then suddenly, the obama administration sold us on a narrative that a new president had come to iran. this was a moderate president. this was a reformist president. this was somebody who was really going to take iran in a new direction and we had to be ready to embrace the opportunity. this could be the moment if we negotiate some sort of framework that iran would come into the community of nations. it could be the start of something magical where terrorism goes away from this leading state sponsor of where missiles are no longer used as threats, where it would not expand throughout the region in the various ways to intimidate our allies, and where
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one day our own unilateral sanctions would go away and we would either have normalization of ties and trade. what have we learned since then? to take one step back, because of that narrative we decided to reverse long-standing precedent from the united nations security council with regard to two very important things. one was the enrichment of uranium. two was allowing iran to keep and control equipment facilities and capabilities that could be used in the production of nuclear weapons. for long time, we considered the entirety of iran's nuclear program absolutely illicit we , can't control it or trust them until the denuclearization inside iran. based on this idea that we could trust iran, that they would come clean on any sort of path toward
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-- any sort of path on their nuclear program, and we even let them talk to the iaea and will have the director issue a report. as long as that report comes back with no worries that there is no current intention to build nuclear weapons, and sanctions relief will go forward, we will allow iran to maintain its capabilities to produce nuclear weapons under our international monitoring. that is the jcpeoa today. what did we see in the last couple years? not only did they get to retain all of their capabilities to one day build a nuclear weapon if that's what they so chose, but also took advantage of the sanctions relief, our toughest sanctions being taken off the government to expand throughout the region, to double down in syria and protect their ally during the civil war, to expand to support rebels who are basically now hezbollah who seized in yemen and now launch missile attacks against saudi
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arabia. all that comes from the jcpoa. and so we entered into, over the last several months, a fixed negotiation as it's called with our european allies to see if we could stay within the premise of this deal, stay within the core elements that allow iran to maintain its nuclear capabilities, that allow iran to maintain an ability to enrich on its own soil and control nuclear materials. but around the edges, to make president trump more comfortable -- but fix it around the edges to make president trump more comfortable with it since he doesn't seem to like the deal. and so, the three pillars of this negotiation were in some ways flawed from the start because our european allies that we were negotiating with had a different intention. their intention wasn't to see behavioral change, their intention was to preserve a deal that allows them to increase trade with iran.
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unlike the united states, they have companies who, for many years since our own unilateral sanctions went into effect many years ago, they have had trading relations with iran. they like making money on iran. their companies see a market they can do business in. so long as they could come up with parameters that kept the united states and the deal, the united states secondary sanctions that apply to their companies and their banks, then that trade content continue. what were the three parameters? number one, we would talk about limiting or curtailing or posing some sort of sanctions to stop iran from developing longer-range missiles. note the term "longer-range missiles." late last year we learned from the supreme leader in the irgc commander that iran had
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declared, similar to its fatwah that it would never development of the weapons, that they would limit the range of their missiles to 2000 climbers. guess where the negotiation with europeans came on ballistic missiles. anything over a 2000, or missile test, a missile that's capable of traveling 2000 kilometers, that would win international sanctions, anything in their existing arsenal would not. iran gets to keep the delivery mechanisms that michael just told you about. with regard to inspections, one of the key concerns that trump has raised over and over again is that there is an impossibility to truly verify this agreement without access to military sites sites. in addition to the sites that are currently under surveillance. iran has declared it will never allow single inspector into a military site. what do the europeans say? they say we agree with you. we should strongly urge and encourage and pressure the iaea to inspect military sites. but unfortunately, the iaea could do that today if they wanted to. they could've done that for the last couple of years. from tradition and a fear of
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breaking down the deal, those requests do not happen because they know the iranians will say no. does not change based on the text that is being negotiated. as we also learned last week, on a simple warehouse that apparently was housing the entire nuclear weapons archive of iran, we do not always know what we do not know and certainly the iaea doesn't know what it doesn't know. the final piece was on the issue of sunsets and when the deal could expire on certain key provisions that restrict iran on the enrichment side and on centrifuges and the import of arms. this is a key issue for the trump administration and it is a key issue for iran and for the europeans because they do not want to trigger and iranian exit from the deal which would collapse their trading relations because the u.s. sanctions would come back. this was the key part that was looking like it was on the ropes
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in the current ust three negotiations. e3 could never agree to sunsets forhese fear of an iranian exit or accusation of violation of the deal and so they were trying to work around it. what would be something that looks like sunsets that they could sell to president trump, but only get down to it in 2025 and we will have discussion about what the iranians are doing and may be sanctions will come back, maybe not. something we could sell to the iranians at the same time as selling it to present trump. that was the state of the fixed negotiation as of a couple weeks ago. it was already looking like it was on life support. i think what we learned from the intelligence information that was revealed by israeli intelligence is that we have been negotiating over the wrong things. the fundamental idea that we can trust iran, that they have given
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up their nuclear weapons intentions, that they are not noking to one day say to us matter whether there is a sunset or not, we have our own built in sunset to this deal, it is called a time of our choosing. we have the capabilities, we have the intent, we have the infrastructure and architecture and the organization. of this time to develop more advanced, precise missiles. we have been doing a lot of research and development allowed under the deal on advanced centrifuges and we are ready to go on those. say goodbye to you international inspectors and we will have nuclear weapons and will happen weekly. we now know that is there -- it will happen quickly. we now know that is their intention, which is what the critics of the jay-z -- which is what the critics of the jcpoa
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away have said from the very beginning of the deal. iran broke its fundamental commitment that they will never pursue nuclear weapons. the precondition of sanctions relief under the deal, that they would come clean on their past military dimensions and anything they're keeping, right now it could be used to build nuclear weapons. that means we have to go back to formula on this and any other agreement. that's why, if you look at secretary pompeo's statement from monday night it's very clear and very important what he says, the intelligence shows us the extent of iranian lies and deceptions and that must force us to call into question whether iran can be trusted to in rich -- to enrich and keep nuclear materials. that is a fundamental reset of the thinking of the jcp away -- jcpoa. it is going back in time to long-standing international president and commitments and calls on iran to halt its nuclear program. if you think about it, and the time when this administration is
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negotiating or about to enter negotiations with the north koreans, the standard for north korea is maximum pressure in place and never leaving until north korea has taken the steps to verifiably and reversibly -- and irreversibly the nuclear eyes. -- irreversibly denuclearize. that should be the same standard for iran. that is where hopefully the trump administration is going now. they have a decision in front of them on the 12th and i'll leave you with this and turnover the day after other issues, may 12 is coming up. it's important to remember that may 12 is not a deadline to report congress, it's not a deadline that automatically the entire deal collapses and sanctions come back, it is a deadline for renewal of one waiver on one law governing one piece of the sanctions architecture that was in place in iran.
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it's a big one, the central bank of iran and this has to do with locking down their assets overseas and requirements to reduce imports of iranian crude, if you do business with iran through the central bank for the import of such oil so, it's big and it comes back automatically, congress doesn't get a say, but it's not the only thing if you're truly exiting the deal. people have to have their assets frozen. a lot of things like that. a lot of laws that need waivers rescinded. that is an open question, what the administration intends to do. if there is a true exit, there is going to have to be a comprehensive strategy in place. that is diplomatic, military, and economic. there's a lot we can talk about that, and i look forward to your
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questions. james: are been up speaker is he is a speaker of the foreign policy counsel based in washington. he's a expert on regional security in the middle east, asia and russia, he has consulted for the cia and the u.s. department of defense and provides his assistance on foreign policy and national security issues to arrange of -- a range of governmental issues and congressional offices. he's also been called one of america's leading experts on the cnn.e east and iran by it is great to be back here and great to have a public conversation about something that is so fast-moving and potentially dramatic in terms of implications. rich is right, i sort of want to focus not on where we've been, i
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think michael and rich have done a masterful job at laying this out, i want to build spend both -- the bulk of my time talking about what happens now and what happens next because that's really where the conversation is going. i am a big fan of playing the field, including the pinnacle field as it lies in my spider sense is telling me that the administration is now committed to an exit from the deal. the only question is how they plan to exit this and we will talk about this in a second. is theetty convinced it case because personnel is policy and over the past year your pad a trump administration that has been evenly divided between folks who wanted to fix the deal and folks who wanted to to nix it. -- folks who thought the deal was possible to retain with improvement on the margins and folks who believed fundamentally that the deal was flawed. i think the pendulum has swung
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decisively in the direction of rs with the advent of the national security adviser, john bolton, with the recent confirmation of mike pompeo, we are looking at a critical mass of folks who are deeply skeptical of the iran nuclear deal and are willing to take resolute action to move beyond it. in this context, i think it is necessary to talk about where jim started which is the revelations we heard earlier this week from prime minister netanyahu. if you guys have spent any time at all on social media in the last few days, what you see is this heated debate between folks who are deeply ideologically committed to preserving the deal and folk who are technical experts and have phd's in who are saying there's something there. we don't exactly know how much because we haven't read everything so it's always useful to read the information before you jump to conclusions.
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rf you're political -- if you' e political worldview is in a certain stance, it sort of makes you jump the gun a little bit and that is what you are seeing on social media. the reality is, if you get down to the core of what the prime minister said, the goal wasn't to reveal a completely new set of facts, the goal was to remind audiences, in particular one audience member who absorbs information visually that this is a regime that can be trusted. -- this is a regime that cannot be trusted. there are things that iran has been doing that they countered to both the spirit and the letter of the jcpoa. was not intended to convince the president as much as to reinforce the direction he was headed in any way. that is a good frame to think about what comes next. there are different ways of leaving the deal. there's always the possibility that when president trump makes
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a decision about the iran nuclear deal he decides to go for a big splash and say the deal is now defunct, the united states has moved away. there is also a way in which you bridge the two sides, in which you talk about both fixing and same time, an agreement that is so powerful that iran is the one that walks ,way from this coalition including new restrictions on ballistic missile developments, new expanded access to international inspectors, things iran has signaled clearly they are not willing to accept. at the end of the day, we can have a debate about which way would be better. i think the overall direction where we are headed is this. the operative question is what comes next? this is something that has been occupying the u.s. government
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and various agencies within the government for quite a while now. that the state department, the pentagon, national security council really need to be focusing on at least three major problems that a comprehensive strategy toward iran will need to address on the day after the jcpoa. the first is military. it is not an exaggeration to say decadeer the last half iran has erected something resembling an imperial project in the middle east. you have iranian officials who have boasted publicly about the fact that the regime now controls four separate capitals in the middle east in addition to tehran. now it's yemen and baghdad in iraq and syria. if you look on a map, we don't have one here but if you are watching a home and you go to your computer and you google, you could see publicly available maps that show the zone of
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territorial control that iran now enjoys, which stretches from the territory of the republic all the way to the eastern mediterranean. because of the fragility of the iraqi government, because there are shiite militia that are beholden to iran that are now part of the ministry of iraq because they control the ground in the battle space that is now the syrian theater and because iran controls by proxy the south of lebanon because of its deep and intimate relationship with shiite militia has blood -- the shiite melissa -- the shiite militia hezbollah. this project is a matter of intense concern and even more so for our allies in the region that aren't separated from the region's expansion by geography. particular, the israelis are concerned that this imperial
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project has brought by ron -- has brought iran much closer to their territorial boundaries. the second problem that were looking at, we are looking at a new iranian foreign legion. iran has two armies. there is a standing conventional force that fought the iraqis and it has a clerical army knowing as the islamic revolutionary which are -- for lack of a better explanation -- this is the varsity. these are the guys who control the ballistic missile arsenal, the nuclear arsenal, expeditionary terrorist acts abroad, things like that. the revolutionary guard has been instrumental in establishing a third foreign legion for the iranians, made up of shiites from afghanistan, shiites from pakistan and syria, that they have deployed into the syrian
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space and the scope of this legion varies, the u.s. intelligence community estimates that it is roughly 40,000 estimate the israelis it at double that, 80,000 or 82,000 fighters. you haveer you stack, to understand this is a significant threat and significant force multiplier. it is something that will need to be addressed by the u.s. military and by our allies as we begin to think strategically about this. ticket item that we need to think about is economic. there is immediate action that be taken and there's follow-up action that can be taken. the center of gravity for iran is the islamic revolutionary which is much more than a military or a clerical force. it is an economic powerhouse within the islamic republic itself.
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by back of the envelope controlsons, the irgc a third or more of the iranian economy, which means that targeting them through economic pressure will have a dramatic effect both on the overall onlth of i ron -- iran and the ability of the islamic republic to operationalize a lot of this neo-imperial strategy. there are ways to do that and there are ways to do that simply. you could take a look at irgc commercial actors, for example iran air, the iranian national air carrier which was designated as part of the negotiations over the jcpoa and has now become the critical component of that foreign legion , it is the air bridge, and there is evidence of this on the internet, it has devoted time and resources to bringing those shiite fighters into the syria theater.
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you could also do things like rich mentioned, you can think more strategically about iran's central bank and its connections not only with international terrorism, but directly with the existing law and new authorities, you could reach out and touch a critical component of the islamic republic in a very material way. i would point out that the metric of success for our renewed economic pressure on iran is to follow the money. strategy that of the adversary also gets a vote. it has been interesting to watch our the last several months, the iranians have begun thinking deeply about how to sanction-proof their economy to a much greater extent than they have done until now. iran has changed its tune on its formal approach to crypto currency, they have historically
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been a very big skeptic of insteadike bitcoin and they now have a national plan to develop their own national crypto currency as a way, very of moving, as a way assets into the digital domain and making them more difficult for the united states and its international partners to access. this is a crucial point because our sanctions need to move to where the money is, increasingly. my final point is we need to focus on the human terrain within iran. it is something we have not done to a serious extent for a very long time. the protest that broke out in iran in the last days of 2017 that have continued into the less large,made the but they're more sustained than the protests we saw in 2009. fundamental a
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rupture between the iranian people and the repressive regime that controls them. our thinking should be how can to increaseoit this america's credibility and decrease the legitimacy of the islamic republic. we have begun to do that. turn the protest in january or february, u.s. administration h.r.ials, including mcmaster, spent a lot of time on u.s. government airwaves to munich hitting with the iranian people. the president's persian new year's message which he issued was very strong and denunciation of the deprivation of the islamic republic. i would argue that this is a start. publicant a sustained diplomacy effort that is intended to convince the iranian
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people, we have to do a lot of other things, including systematic reform of the tools by which we reach out to these people, to these captive populations abroad. that is reform of the voice of america persian service, that is a reform of radio free europe, this is now happening, and it is the silver lining in the conversation. this is happening organically within the administration and it needs to be fed and continued and nurtured as a way of improving our outreach. ultimately, all of these things will not be effective if we do not know what we want to say to the iranian people. this gets us to the zone of danger we are in right now. we know that a fateful decision is coming. we do not know whether will be on may 12 or weeks hence, but we know there is a moment of inflection underway. we do not know what our comprehensive strategy toward , even though the president announced the formation of a comprehensive
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strategy in october of last year. there has not been much meat put on the bones, at least publicly. there is an urgency to do so, because for the first time we have seen direct military confrontation between the state of israel and iran in syrian airspace, even in israeli airspace and this, we hope, should not be a portent of things to, but it is quite clear that iran's growing capabilities have made increasingly dangerous and increasingly urgent for us to marshal a comprehensive strategy. i would just end with this observation. this month, may, is going to be the locus of not one fateful decision but two. the second has to do with the meeting the president is set to have later in the month with kim is quite clear, at least previously, that the north koreans had watched closely the negotiations over
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the jcpoa and watched iran reap tremendous benefits, political and strategic, as a result of those negotiations. up until now i think it is fair to say that north koreans were eager to assume they could do the same as a result of the new deal hammered out with the trump administration. and whatecide on iran we decide soon is going to have tremendous implications for the -- the course, the success, and the expectations we see surrounding the nuclear negotiations are likely to emerge with north korea. thank you. before i opened up to questions from the audience, i like to ask the first question. i would like to ask the other panelists as well. i know there has been a lot of ink spilled on the issue of
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linkages or perceived linkages between the iran nuclear issue and the north korean issue, with some people saying that walking away from the i ron deal would -- from the iran deal would undermine leveler with north korea. others say it is evidence that the axis of evil is still alive and well and strong reasons to of these -- i would not say close allies but allies of convenience. orderd ask each of you in , what linkages, if any do you see between these two issues and how should the administration proceed going forward in view of these linkages? michael: ilan is right that
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north korea has traditionally played one of -- what about me. there also a path in which the united states have not allow the north koreans to get away with actively cheating. in 1992 there was a denuclearization agreement in which they agreed. an author in his memoirs talked about it is a triumph of diplomacy. of course, after 1994, it was also clear that north korea had cheated and continued to cheat upwards of 1998 and 2000. the u.s. response was clear. some people say the united states cannot pull away from this agreement. reason why our founding fathers had a ratification process for a , they rather than simply whole compromise was another
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layer to dilute this sort of oversight. whereis a strong pattern the united states, despite the best efforts of some diplomats and despite the best efforts of , consistently seeks to calibrate our national security strategy to reality, rather than simply putting lipstick on a pig, whether that is the islamic republic or north korea. the fact that the trump administration is willing to walk away from the jcpoa, there will be complaints on the parts of europe especially, but north korea might actually start to take the trump administration more seriously. richard: that is well said. there has been a lot written about the history of the relationship between iran and north korea.
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in missiles it is pretty obvious if you look at several of their missiles in comparison. in the nuclear realm, we do not know as much publicly. in reports there are a lot of allegations, sightings of officials and nuclear tests at north korea on the iranian side. high-level north korea leader going to tehran for ten days during the reelection if you -- the extent to which they coordinate and talk we should assume his extensive. we do not know. what we do know is if you look at that as a relationship that , and they look at each other and use similar playbooks, both the negotiations in the past and what their capabilities , secretary mike pompeo when he gave his first television interview was asked about this question and his response was appropriate. he said do you think the north koreans are going to get upset
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if we leave the iran deal? . he's a north koreans have a lot higher priorities to think about than what we do with the iran deal. that is absolutely true. also there is something silly, if you're thinking about this at on tv, we break a deal with iran, we come to a deal with north korea. unpack that in your mind. kim jong-un, you're a dictator, europe killed members of your family, you starve your people, have one of the worst euphemisms ever created, , you commitcamps some of the most horrific human rights abuses every day. you think you are on a couch
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with your therapist thinking i do not know if i can trust donald trump, he broke that deal i don't feel like i like him right now. no. the united states has a boot at your throat economically, politically, militarily, and basically they're telling you you can sit down with us and discuss the dates. maybe the regime will at some point. that is what is happening. like i cannot trust this guy, he does not hold to agreements. the guide is a dictator. we align our policy and expectations of iran with what we have told north korea our expectations are of that regime, the better and more successful the possibilities are for an outcome with both. ilan: i would only add a couple
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of points. we are having about the jcpoa should be clarifying for the north koreans. it provides an opportunity for us to message about the permanence of executive agreements. there was a great poll that was published in "the washington post" in mid-2016 that says americans oppose the jcpoa on a margin of 2-1. obama rammed through a deep unpopulara deeply local agreement and that's why that son of the aisle is having problems now because the agreement is seen as unpopular and transient. as a trump administration approaches negotiations with north korea, he can point to the difficulties political the jcpoa is having an saying executive agreements are not permanent, they are temporary, and secondly
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you have to give me more so the american people believe you are sincere, otherwise this agreement is going to go away as soon as i am gone. i actually think at least one way it strengthens the white house negotiating position. >> if i could just add one more linkage, a legal linkage. in 1994, when north korea threatened to withdraw from the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, the same threat that the republic of iran is making right now, the consensus of the countries and the iaea is that countries can walk away from nonproliferation treaties that all after they regularize the concerns that develop under their membership in the nuclear nonproliferation treaty which means that if north korea found
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out iran thinks it can simply walk away in terror up the treaty, that will not be a magic formula for ridding itself of all these concerns that have developed over decades because of their cheating. me open it up to questions from the audience and let me stress that they should be questions and not statements and try to keep them short so we can get as many in as we can. also wait for the microphone. let's go with you, ambassador. >> thank you. terry miller with the heritage foundation. extentou comment on the to which disagreements within the western alliance are undermining this process and how -- the impact they will have on act effectively going forward, whatever the administration decides. >> i think it would be ridiculous to suggest, as some on the right are, that there is
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not going to be reputational damage and the europeans are not going to be upset with this. my point is that going back to the experience with the clinton administration, even when the europeans get upset about unilateral sanctions, often times just the size of the market of the united states versus the countries which might be targeted, for example libya and iran back in 1996, leave the europeans to settle down on the correct side of things. certainly, when it comes to the financial sanctions which rich , that certainly and implement seems to be the key issue. yes, europeans will complain. no, i don't think this is a fatal blow to our transatlantic relationship as some like to portray. add, i think we should not underestimate the impact that prime minister netanyahu's revelation may have
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on this issue. the europeans putting up their front. there positions have not changed. they are under a tremendous amount of commercial pressure domestically to make those statements until such time the president actually agree imposes sanctions. reveal peopleto and sources, but as i understand, there are a lot of conversations, particularly in berlin but elsewhere in europe also, people feel really upset, as if they were duped. they are very rule-based. their argument to stay in the deal is based on the fact that they made a commitment. now they are faced with the reality that iran did not uphold that commitment, a contradiction they can't quite get through at the moment. they want to see the documents and work their way through it. but in the end, some on th

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