tv Iran Experts Discuss 40th Anniversary of Iranian Revolution CSPAN February 12, 2019 3:46am-5:13am EST
c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies, and today we continue to bring unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, this up in court and public policy andts in washington, d.c. around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. >> now a discussion of the 40th anniversary of the iranian revolution. panelists spoke about the history of iran and the events leading up to the 1979 revolution that ousted the shah and installed the ayatollah khomeini as the new supreme leader of the republic. the foundation for the defense of democracies hosted this event.
>> what the iranians most wished for, they never gained, and what they sought to preserve, they lost. written in a book about 2013 modern iran entitled "days of god," remains in my mind to single best one sentence summary of the iranian revolution, which today turns 40, that i have ever read and ever heard. talebu.man ben today we are proud to welcome members of the u.s. government, diplomatic corps, policy community and media. thank you all for joining us. as i mentioned a moment ago, the revolution in iran turns 40 today, an event that the regime
in iran is sure to felicitate, and won many iranians inside iran or in the gasper are lamenting. has it really been 40 years, exclaimed my mother this last weekend, who through some stroke of coincidence was born in iran two decades before the revolution but also on february 11, the 22nd for those of you who know your persian calendar well. yes, it has been 40 years, and what have we seen from a ran in the last four -- iuran in the last four decades? in my view, one word. dissonance. dissonance between the iran we know through our friends and iran that we,he hear of read in books and newspapers and see on tv. dissonance between state and society. dissonance between the center and the periphery. dissonance between national interests and regime interests. and lastly, dissonance between what the iranian people were promised and the current reality
in which they find themselves. was it like this 40 years ago, as the shah flat and khomeini returned and the army declared neutrality, and the revolutionary forces declared victory? thethe last 40 years, iranian state has been defined and explained in contrast to the prevailing norms of the world system which it rejects. so, what are the forces that turned iran into such a revolutionary regime? where did iran' s current cadre of leaders come from, and what convictions did they covet, carry and conceal? what was the status of civil society then compared to now? and perhaps most importantly, after 40 years where is iran headed from here? to help explore these questions, we are honored to have four iran,guished scholars of all of them have been widely published on the revolution and its causes and consequences. moderating the discussion, a senior fellow who was in a
previous life in the cia as an iran officer. join fight a senior fellow for middle east eddies on the council on foreign relations -- joined by a senior fellow for the middle east on the council for foreign relations. previously with the obama administration and the council for near east policy. next, a professor from boston university who has lectured on iran and islamist movements around the world. and last but not least, the director of the oral history program and director of social science research and international studies at the foundation for iranian studies. prior to the revolution, he was deputy minister of interior in iran. in addition to keeping our eyes on the present of iran and what it holds for the future, today fdd is making sure the analytical community, the media and international community doesn't forget about the past.
not because of any particular academic inclination or obsession, but because the past matters. men's leaders, hardened shaped by history who prefer the words revolutionaries more than anything else, understand this. that is why all that came before the revolution is treated in iran today more as narrative history and state secrets rather than straight empirical history. in addition to being live streamed, today's event is being graciously covered by c-span, so i encourage guests seated and watching online to join in via @fdd, and kindly silence your cell phones or electronic devices. please join me in extending a warm welcome to the panel. over to you, sir. [applause] you.ank i will do something atypical for me, because i like to hog the moderator chair. i will turn it over to my good friend, because ray is writing a
book on the islamic revolution, and i had the great pleasure of actually sharing conversations with him almost daily on what he has uncovered in the material he's working on. i will just, and i want to say there are very few individuals i have ever met in washington, d.c., who when they enter government service, ray, retain their curiosity and a certain historical desire to get into government documents. that's largely because people are very busy, government work is very hard, and it dulls you. he is the exception. when he got into the government, he started reading government documents on iran, and i think
it helped change his life. one other little thing, and i will turn it over. we may actually today get the opportunity to actually reject james buckin's line on the revolution, at lease the two of us -- at least the two of us fundamentally disagree with it, but i will let that play out in today's discussion and i will turn it over. >> thanks very much, and thanks for fdd for doing this, conversation about history is rare in this town. i'd like to begin by asking the professor, and i want to focus on the years before the storm, 1970 to 1976. there was a lot of discontent in iran at that point, whether it was armed struggle, religious revivals. could you set the stage about, between the years
1970 to 1976 in such a state of discontent, given the fact that there was a growing economy? iran in those years felt like a dynamic country that nobody wanted to live in. so could you tell me, why is this, that there was such pervasive discontent in those years? >> i think the main thing to do -- different iranians have discontent for different reasons. the members of the modern middle-class were discontented because of censorship, because of lack of participation, because of corruption. but there was a much deeper sense of discontent among many iranians, perhaps the majority of the population, who felt alienated from the ruling elite, and by the ruling elite, i don't only mean a few thousand people running the country, but certain
people defining the parameters of public culture. this was a discontent over lifestyles. they felt the people who were running the country, even school directors, etc., were not representative of the deeper values of iranian society. and the result of that, when the revolution happened, after a few years we get sort of a decapitation of iranian society. no revolution has resulted in such deep a break with the previous social elite as the iranian revolution. >> professor, you were in the states, working in the pahlavi bureaucracy. shahabie iran professor described, how does it look from the states? even the shah seems to have
recognized the something was wrong, putting together a scholarly committee to address the issues. iran before the revolution and its discontent look from those managing the state? was happening before and afterwards. one of them is this. i know nobody is perfect. the shah had his problems. on the other hand, he had sions ofant dimen commitment to the country. to iran, to what it could become, which many people did not agree with, or did not see it. but he thought iran was in position, that it could in fact become one of the major countries of the world, and he
was working for that, or trying to work for that. course, theys, of were certain mistakes made that he came to understand, and tried to do something about it. but it seems to me that the essential issues that came up, it wasn't a result. if you know, by 1975 for example, iran was a country in which a lot of people from ,utside, and a lot of iranians students and others were returning to iran to work. like a failing country. in fact, nobody thought that something like the islamic revolution would happen, until it came to the end and it did happen. states, no one in the very few people might have
thought it in those terms. sullivan, for example, the ambassador to iran, in november he wrote back to the states that weething odd is happening, must be thinking about those things. it is that sense, i think difficult to say that, at least as far as i can tell, at the university as i was, and then across the country, that a majority of iranians, in the sense that was just said, were unhappy when you are thinking about it in, let's say the 1970's, to later on. then, something terrible happens, something very bad happens in two ways.
one of them was, suddenly we got a lot of money coming out of oil. it became too much of it. and that corresponds to something else, where the shahrs came and told the and theybig problem, did not exactly tell him what the problem was. but whatever it was, the way that they said it, he understood. he understood that he understood that he did not have that much time. the moneyt of that, had suddenly increased manyfold and he wanted to do this thing. he started doing things that essentially the infrastructure
in iran was not able to do with it. as a result of that, situations came up with respect to which everybody began to say there is something ongoing there he badly in a wrong. otherwise, when you look at iran and you compare it to what it was in let's say the beginning of the 20th century and what it had become one revolution occurred, then you would see some changes that if there is time we can talk about it, but it does say iran was moving in a direction that had this revolution not occurred, which is something else that at some point you will talk about, then at this time, when we looked at curve of we took any change in any dimension of
interest for any society in terms of moving forward, and you would take it from where it was in the beginning of the 20th to 1978, and then you it, not at that curve, lower than that, that continue to this time, and then you compare it to what iran is now and what it could have been, then we do get a sense of the opportunity cost of th islamic republic for the people of iran as it was. but let me stop over here. my dear friend who spent the 1980's in cia clandestine services, perhaps yet another
reason why the islamic republic is still here today -- [laughter] there is a lot of discussion failure.elligence i want to read a couple of excerpts randomly and get your opinion on it. i will try to be brief. national intelligence estimate of iran in 1969. demands for greater political participation by educated groups are likely to grow. if such is unlimited, this could pose a serious problem for this narrowly-based regime, particularly if it is in the military. 1975 cia report. dissent among civil servants in iran has reached an alarming degree. students and labor groups have been the source of discontent, but now the malaise has reached the civil servants. 1975.
prominent in the opposition are religious leaders and those in the religious establishment. the religion has become a major influence on the lower classes and thebazaar merchants. even the intelligentsia apparently perceive the religious leaders sharing common grievances against the president. the report goes on to suggest ayatollah khomeini commands support. where is the intelligence failure? say there you could is a big difference between the analytical assessment of the general malaise and then being able to predict that you were going to have a revolution at a given moment. i think the american intelligence community and i would also include the state department was well aware of problems in iran.
i don't think that really was the question. was should they have had a better idea a sharper late 1970's that this could actually escalate into a full-blown islamic revolution. if i was looking at agency files , which i looked at in a fair amount of detail, what was clear is that the americans were not trying to spend a lot of time understanding iranian society. the cia was not by the late 1970's. what has been said that henry kissinger had a deal with the shah that the americans were not really going to work the iranian targets.
that the primary objective would be the soviet target, i think that would bear some fruit. i don't know how good american reporting would have been if kissinger had not made that agreement. there were two officers who were on the ground, both of them were state officers. be here andposed to i had asked michael to be here, but can't get him away from his farm in pennsylvania. it would be good to have their perspective as they look back now to see how much did they , whether theyate were in favor of the revolution or not. there were some very sympathetic to the downfall of the shah and others who were oblivious and those like kissinger, he is a bit earlier, who i think was just delusional.
i remember a party in paris where kissinger was explaining to a young iranian woman where if her generation had only been more patient than somehow the shah would have taken iran to a new secular age. in and of itself, that shows you how little he knew about the islamic republic and the recipe , particularlyss when the americans started to indulge the shah's appetite for weaponry.
how did ayatollah committee come to exercise complete hegemony over a diversity of other forces, almost none of whom share his objective? >> the national front and the liberation movement were in name only. had notre groups that been active since the early 1960's. a bunch of men over the age of prestigehad lingering because of their association, but not more than that. the real opposition were more radical groups. .urdish regionalists
everybody saw a different khomeini. many of these people knew exactly what the clergy are like. like manynti-clerical religious iranians. they see the clergy as hypocrites. except the notion was always that khomeini was different. the clerics are like this, but khomeini is not a typical cleric. if you read his book "islamic government," the very vicious attacks against the traditional clergy. they said, we are uneasy about the clerics, but khomeini is different. there was nobody else. do notought that if they
go under his umbrella, they will be totally marginalized and irrelevant. one man proved that to be true. if they went under his umbrella, given that he was suspicious of the traditional clergy, perhaps they could keep him away from the ultra puritanical conservatives and nudge him into a more moderate direction, which of course failed. but that is a prediction with the benefit of hindsight. ray: therefore, you have to presuppose that there was some sort of a religious revival in the country for the cleric to emerge however sanitized as the leadership of an opposition movement? houchang: yes. became the ideology of dissent and rebellion. houchang: absolutely. reuel: can i add one thing on
that point? i think in the american government there was a real resistance and the same thing was true with a lot of iranians, the idea of clerical rule seemed a little far-fetched. it did not seem likely. i don't know how many american that there was actually a tradition of what you might call profound clerical interjection of the government, if not a certain desire to actually rule, but i don't think -- it just simply was not digested. 's advantage.ni ray: what i'm trying to get to -- reuel: sorry, professor. ray: there is a question. iranians revolt for in 1979? given the choice of leadership that they made, given the individual they turned to.
i think it is indisputable to suggest that they resulted -- revolted for an islamic government. houchang: i don't think so. all we have to do is look at the slogans that people shouted in the course of the demonstrations. they believed, wrongly, wrongly, now we know wrongly -- but at the time, they believed that the shah was an american puppet, so they called for independence. they revolted against corruption in high places. and yes, a very important part resulted -- revolted for islam. but not everybody. not everybody was islamic. one thing we have to keep in mind that precisely in the 1970's, we get the emergence of an islamist elite. studentshe point when from poorer backgrounds enter
university. at the atmosphere university changes. many secular iranians now go to the united states or to europe to study and the universities become a hotbed of islamist agitation. it is this emergence of a counter elite of educated people that can speak about modern problems, social problems, the economy that was also one of the factors in the islamization of the movement. for one thing, you have to start from the beginning of it. where it actually starts. which was after president carter came to iran. days after khomeini
started talking about how terrible the situation was. then a couple of months after coming you had this thing -- it was a religious uprising that started over there. and then from that, it started andg on 40 days and so on then that was the beginning of it. point is that this revolution, from the time that it began, from the time that it controlled by the clerics, by the clergy. it was controlled by the clergy because they have been much better organized than any other group that existed over there.
at the beginning, they came and it was something that was happening and nobody was particularly concerned about how this was going to end. along and then it began to develop. ofetime about the middle military began to be very nervous about what was happening. they were trying to get the shah. was a very important message, that the military had evolved to where unless he ordered them to do something, they would not do it. them that you could come into the streets, but you should not shoot at anybody.
do think they would have? gholam: i think maybe they would have. the celebrations of the military itself. gholam: because the military was essentially not made for doing this kind of thing. they would do that if the shah ordered them to do it. let me tell you something about my own personal experience with the shah. -- i would say -- many of us thought
it was the worst choice for prime minister. a lot of people -- i was able to see the shah because i was the secretary general for the world literacy program, of which the shah was the head. but was not particularly concerned. they said that he is coming. , herder to make it possible .aid i have something to take he tells me, what is it that mr. iran -- mr. khomeini wants? find a way to say that i came on my own. i said that we are in a horrible situation in this country because we are moving in a direction that was going to be
somebody else. the rest of it was nonsense. it does show that this man denied his military the possibility of stopping this thing before it came to a position where it was impossible to stop, which that was probably around november or so. i think it is important to put all of these things in context of what the situation was at that time or not. khomeinino doubt that needs followers. it really had little to do with
i'm not saying that they could have coercively stopped it. 1974,ying in 1972, 1973, we have a problem here because the files that i have seen are almost entirely surveillance. which means that nobody really , wed go to the shah and say are in a difficult situation in 1974, 19 75, 1976. guy who is a character who say's, boss, you've got a problem. gholam: well, i don't know to be honest with you. i would think that they would take all of these things and they took it to the shah. i don't know how they did it and so on. i was not privy to that.
i know it was taken to him. he actually thought that things were happening. when he went out, this thing had happened. he went out on the helicopter to see what is going on. thinghey brought him the that they talked about him, he was absolutely flabbergasted. look what they were saying. to esquire the revolution occurred at least to me.
ray: when did the shah give up about his regime? gholam: i think about the time that i talked to him. ray: september? gholam: no, it may have been a little bit before that. the left and the right. what he had in his book and what they said later on. that the imam had come and whatever he had said, whatever they tried to make the law legal, set it in the constitution, so that at least what was happening was all legally justified. if you did that.
i have no idea when. maybe before. he told me that which i was very surprised. houchang: i was a student in the united states. my hunch would be to make it a little bit later. november or december. -- the fateful summer of iran, the summer of 1978, everybody leaves town. the habit was he would open up himself to the westerners.
they suggest that we have to have a new government. the shaw hated -- shah hated the options. the connections to the clerical community. he begins in negotiating process. succeeds. he does get an agreement. and they take it to imam in paris and he says now. -- no. he does have an agreement about the future of the monarchy that has been signed off. --h of those individuals none of them had guts enough to
defy the imam. that is the only success one can think of. let me ask you the role of the united states because it has not come up or come up substantially. it is fair to say that the role of the united states in this deliberation was absolutely inconsequential. once a coalition government that khomeini will not allow. the military to shoot. you can go home after that. ?hat do you do after that then what? agree with that. i think the americans were deeply confused and the amount of leverage they had was highly limited. they did not have many people on the ground. clear, theame
americans, i think the americans would have had a very hard time backing the use of force. can and did call the shah say clear the streets in november. it did not happen. because the shah would not do it. these are the sort of things i may very well deferred to you. nobody knows exactly whether he would or not. is he would not. >> both the vance and brzezinski were correct about each other's options.
you can pretty much put a go fishing sign on your door because what is there to do. >> khomeini put it very well when he said america cannot do a dam thing. >> inflection points between january 1978 and 1979. inflection points could have gone either way. >> the other side of what you .re saying >> there were points were things could have gone -- >> i would say that it was the
first part of 1978. is that even though he was very much afraid of doing -- [indiscernible] days, fouro or three days or five days, i don't know how long -- then he started talking about -- [indiscernible] then everybody else came out and said, this guy does not seem to be exactly someone to be afraid of. at the time, then the military
actually, you know -- the time came, i'm sorry that i have to say this -- i had guests in my house. khomeini was going to be seen. and then these people were university people. if i tell you what that thing was, what did they teach, most likely a lot of people here could tell who it is and who was not. .here was a range i suddenly feel that everybody
is moving out. they come out and they started looking at the moon. me that the mood of the country had changed. that does not mean that this was the mood eight months or three years before that. that is why it is a result of achieve ass that you kind of force and power that you could not even think of having it. that't believe really i doubt very much that that heefore that,
thought that he would succeed. that process, when it begins, it does not mean that that beginning of it is inevitable. >> i think the point of no return comes with the onset of mass globalization. 1977. he did not think he could win the election. but that might have diffused the tension, channeled into electoral competition, which would have taken the sting out of the opposition. >> and if the khomeini killed
--shah killed khomeini? >> one last thing for you. actually believe he was overthrown by khomeini? gholam: no. i can't be sure of that. i think you essentially that he thought that this was moving. others being europeans, others being whoever. -- i'm essentially guessing -- i'm guessing. >> you don't have to guess. you said it. is part of it. >> but this is something that i think is important to have in mind. there was no one that was
actually a part of running that running that country, the government, all of these things that really thought even though they knew that these people were having a certain amount of power and commitment, but nobody thought at that time that this is possible. because what khomeini was saying that you wouldus not think that people would go for it. >> so it must've been the cia. [laughter] don't think so. i think the cia is somewhat exaggerated in many ways. i'm sorry. [laughter] no.l: the cia has never said we did it. [laughter] reuel: the main point of references we did not.
they put the emphasis on that point. i just want to repeat, for over 150 years throughout almost all the middle east, the secular military men have been beating the hell out of the religious establishments. they were submerging. it is not at all surprising that the idea that a cleric would come back and essentially ruled the roost. it was pretty unthinkable. >> i want to open it up to the questions. please identify yourself and ask your western, not a comment. >> thank you very much. let's move forward a little bit away from history. >> we don't like that. , whatt is your prediction anniversary will be the final anniversary of the islamic republic? we don't have to do this, but
if you want to do this. this is one session that we decided we are going to devote to history. about thet to know tastes great, less filling debate, you can do that. what is the final anniversary? let me ask a question that is different. will there be a final anniversary to the islamic republic? >> comparing it to other revolutions, revolutionary regimes have a great deal of longevity. the french revolution was defeated by outside powers in 1815. the chinese communists, the cuban communists are still there. russia is not exactly a liberal democracy. prediction for my own lifetime is more of the same. >> sir.
my question -- when you read the book of khomeini he never mentions in his book of islamic governance, when this idea came into khomeini and he believed that it is important to implement it, this is actually within the sunni or the shia. >> my impression was that it was in the islamic book. does mention he it. he gave 130 interviews and paris
where he was not supposed to be interviewed. , hewhen people asked him would say we will be a government where clerics will be informed. clear about what he was saying. the journalism as a profession failed iran in 1979. questions inbmit advance. they would come out with their hair on fire. think he was always, the first , i thinkat he gave that was part of his perspective. it contravened jurisprudence.
the failing new york times actually profiles the book in december 30, 1978. judy miller writes a story about it. saying readtive in this book. i think the book was a mystery to those who wished not to know about it. >> the book was not allowed to be published everywhere in iran. there was awareness of it. and also what was in it. it is sort of a thing that you would think that nobody would accept.
it was very, how can i put it? logically following one after another. than the same thing as in the constitution of this law. note, thestorical idea is bubbling in the shiite blood system. you can see how this idea was developing. the book has a lot of material about what is wrong with iranian society. and that resonated, that part resonated would the readers and given this
perception that he was different from the run-of-the-mill hopervative cleric, the was wishful thinking that this was just a theoretical discussion. that it had no bearing on the actual development of iran. engage innstantly theoretical discussions which are devising rules that are not meant to be implemented in the real world. this was a theoretical discussion. it is not relevant to the actual political life of the country. but think that is where people were rationalizing it. in the interior ministry, there was awareness of the book and its contents.
>> thanks. thank you very much for this really very interesting historical discussion, which is so rare as was read before. my question originally was about how people understood khomeini and partly because of the book. the book was there for a very long time. from the early 1970's. does not really present the doctrine. they had ways of not taking it at face value, so let me ask a different question. could you say it little bit more about that?
referred to the students .oming in i suppose the more modernized students were from the united states and elsewhere. what was the content of their islam? was it already khomeini's views of things or was it something else? >> i think it was mostly --ormed by the thought of shiaism istion that a progressive ideology. basically, what they were trying to do was to out socialists the marxists. we are every bit as progressive. etc. e about corruption and you saw that.
i've talked to a number of university presidents at the thatand they were noticing the number of women students. there was certainly a trend. precedes the revolution. >> [indiscernible] >> they were most -- i think there were two kinds. one was the people from a traditional background, but whose parents would have had a much more traditional religiosity. first-generation college students. they basically found themselves in a tension between the atmosphere of the university and the atmosphere of the home, which was very traditional. they solved this tension by becoming progressive islamists.
if you like. group, a also a second smaller group, from a secular background -- who rediscovered their spiritual roots. iranasically thought that had thrown out the baby with the bathwater. trend begun by oppositional people. toward the end of the regime, the shah discovers this as well. by 1974, 1975, there were people within the regime which were preaching this gospel of the spiritual orient versus the materialist west and all of that. there was a coming together around these values of a progressive islam. remember, enough to
older, that in 1979 i actually knew a fair number of iranians in the united states who were protesting. were becoming more explicitly islamic and their protest. even though in their daily habits of which i have some knowledge, they would not qualify as being particularly islamic. they are becoming explosive and it is becoming difficult. everything is mixing together and it is becoming a very unstable fuel. about thetioned universities of the population of the university changes. of thepopulation seminaries by the 1960's. it is a point that there was a time in one of the successful
luminaries are people of high officials would enter the clergy. , those people are not entering the clergy, so there are people from lower classes, provinces populating the clergy, the seminary. by the time you get to the 1970's, you get this dichotomy of these 50 erudite ayatollahs debating. the power of khomeini comes to that the complexion -- the social complexion of the seminaries changes. when you read the reports according to the u.s. governments, they identify 95%
of seminarians in terms of political disposition. you see this -- the tragedy of -- he was the victim of his own success. he tried to modernize the .ranian society it turned out to be successful. there has been some evidence of it and that alienated the landowning aristocracy. he tried to create opportunities in urban areas that changed the complexion of the lyrical community to his disadvantage. he tried to create scholarships for students. they went abroad. every step of the way. the emancipation of the women movement. >> that is one of the most important things. >> i mean, the tragedy of the shah is that if he had not tried
to modernize and better the society, he might have been in power. [laughter] 1965, the late sir huntington has a whole chapter about that. the tragedy of the modernizing -- modernizer. >> i want to ask as delicately as i can -- >> you don't need to be that delicate. >> about the two types of shah elites. the elite of the 50's and the 1960's. emini.such as the father. , the last onele of that generation included, who had a sense for the country, who could make decisions without the shah.
the parliament functioned as an institution. the military leadership could act on its own. by the 1970's, late 60's, you have a different elite. don't know how you get a phd and hydraulics, but fine. they don't have a feel for the country. they believe the country should resemble a paradigm that they are learning at the ted kennedy school. they have no feel for it. they are in a bubble talking about their paradigms and the is person who continuously saying things are really, really, really bad in his diary is the last of that generation. elite andah have an previously that elite saved him, but he had elites in 1979 that
could have saved him -- i apologize in advance for what the joke is. if you want to find the shah's elite, go to the lounge. i don't mean to be disrespectful. [laughter] but i do want to have a defense of that elite here. >> i don't have a defense. >> i do. did that delete abandoned the -- elite abandon the shah in the fall of 1979? everyone comes back waiting to see what the shah will do. when he does nothing, then the people started to leave. if he had taken command, that type of elite could have served him as good as the traditional elite. but how would you assess?
you know, the people that you were talking about, particularly belonged40's -- they to a different -- [indiscernible] you must also have in mind that they also belonged to a different time. things were changing. even then in iran. the period.rt of time, theyperiod of were out of play there. then when the second world war in the allied occupation take veryhey
important steps in the shot is shah is very young at the time and he plays around and is governing, but he's got the relationship with the military. that both, there is they also did not particularly having the importance of the shah there, even though they accepted him and so on. forward, were moving several things happened. one of them was the question of theonalization of oil
soviets had a very difficult implications offor a vast number of people in iran. there were all of those things involved. i'm not quite sure that they were in a position to save iran. to save the shah. ,n general, when you look at it one of the things that could have saved the shah -- then at the end of it, you have a ended up in the tragedy of the fall the way in which he did. it is a very unfortunate thing. i will also tell you something. beginning, the shah wanted him to become prime minister.
the way in which he wanted things in order to become prime minister or things that the systems could not accept. these are funny things that happened. he asks them to become prime minister he says that he will, but you have to go and ask the british. said why? my father never asked the british or anybody if you want to do have a prime minister. said that you are very young, you don't know these things. he said the russians mean nothing in iran, you don't have to ask them also. .e asks the british
he says, listen, you are in the middle of the elections and you don't need to do this now. again, that was later. says -- [indiscernible] he says a want you to work as prime minister. he says, yes, i will. in order to do that, i have to be able to go back. that was against the constitution. therefore, that doesn't happen until later on. then, a member of the parliament that was very, very close to the shah, he suggested
that he remember the name of the guy? essentially, there were these , theionships at the end reason why this happened was that he closed the left. once that happened -- >> they had a feel for the country. and they could speak to the shah . thehah they could speak to -- they could speak to the shah. >> the field for the country does not mean -- >> well, there is a pattern. >> in many ways, more nationalistic. not as easily talk to example with the british, that they would ever go and do that. that that is sure the correct thing. storylways remember a
that bernard lewis told me that he was in iran in the mid-1970's and he was the guest of the group of generals and he had a cocktail and they were talking the general's world complaining about the americans. that they can't do this without the american approval, they can't do this, they can't do this. the americans are checking them everywhere. they just feel neutered. afterch bernard, listening to this for more than a half an hour, he just turns to them and he says, can you pee without the american approval? [laughter] >> just to add that after the 1963, we knowjune that a delegation of the other statesmen went to see the shah to tell him to be a little bit more careful.
he threw them out. so, in some ways, it is his own doing. not only at the elite level. remember that one of the people the shah was aor man, the brainless as he was called. by the 1970's, he no longer had access to the court. tried to mobilize the streets, but nobody would listen to him anymore. that is when he fled. there was a disconnect with some of the elite forces in iran society. >> we have a very quick question. >> i'm a former state department official. i wonder if you and the but put the iran revolution in context. a little bit out of the exact details of how it happened, what happened, but the significance of the revolution in terms of
the soviet revolution, the comintern, the whole role was to spread revolution. it was a global revolution. it was really not even supposed to be in the soviet union. how does that relate to iran? based on their view of the revolution, as they understand it, are they trying to say that's a formula for spreading the revolution in the region, in other similar countries, or does it not apply? >> i mean, that's a very good question. it's a big one. i think there's been several transformations in the way the regime views the export of the revolution. i still think it's a vibrant proposition, but obviously the regime's relationship with the sunni world, sunni fundamentalists, sunni radicals,
has shifted radically. you can look at, you know, someone who obviously at one time was probably the most trotskyite of the primary characters. by the end of his life, he was certainly no longer there. i think the regime expands now primarily through using sectarianism. i think it's been highly successful. so do they still in theory see themselves as a vanguard of an islamic rebellion? yes. in practice, however, i think it's changed significantly. >> i don't have any time. i think that's it. i'm sorry. that's all the time i have left. i want to thank the panelists for coming, and thank you all as well. [applause] >> i couldn't agree more. >> on behalf of fdd, i want to thank the professors, ray, and my colleague for shaffering your
-- sharing your insights today, stemming from your personal experiences and also from your keen analysis as scholars of the iranian revolution. fdd offers the opportunity to share a range of expert views so our audience here in d.c. and those listening on c-span and livestream can benefit from your expertise. today, the islamic republic is at the center of much turmoil in the region and beyond. yet, iran has a proud history and a population that may be poised to take back the reins so that they may fulfill the hopes for a representative government and a free society, which the revolution arguably failed to deliver. i want to thank you for a most illuminating, timely, and rich discussion, but speaking of rich, we are honored to have with us rich goldberg to provide remarks on behalf of the administration, brief remarks, picking up where the panel left
off. rich will reflect on policy today with a look toward what the future holds. rich goldberg is director for countering iranian weapons of mass destruction at the national security council, where he plans, directs, and coordinates the development of policies related to denying iran all pathways to nuclear weapons, countering iran's development of ballistic missiles, and other delivery systems, and stopping iranian proliferation of such capabilities to its allies and proxies. he coordinates interagency development and enforcement of economic sanctions to counter iranian wmd and missile programs. rich has years of experience dealing with iran policy, working across the political aisle. he was regarded as one of the most creative and effective staffers during the ten years in which he worked on capitol hill as deputy chief of staff and senior foreign policy adviser to senator mark kirk. there he drafted and negotiated
legislation promoting human rights and democracy in iran, including sanctions targeting entities that provided the iranian regime with the tools of repression. rich is a reserve officer in the u.s. navy. prior to joining the nsc, rich served as a senior adviser to fdd. we're honored to have you here with us today, rich. please join me in giving a warm welcome to rich goldberg. [applause] >> well, thank you so much for that introduction. thank you for having me, fdd. 40 years of failure, that's what the islamic republic has produced for the iranian people. in a country with such vibrant
history and culture, advanced educational opportunities, and plentiful natural resources, the people of iran rightly look at their leaders today and wonder, where did all our money go? billions of dollars wasted on terrorist organizations far away from iran's borders, billions of dollars wasted on threatening missiles that serve no defensive purpose, billions of dollars wasted in syria, billions and billions not spent on the iranian people. inflation is out of control, prices are rising, and iran's leaders spend money, sending missiles to yemen. workers are striking, the rial is under enormous pressure, and iran is headed into recession, but leaders keep pouring resources into syria. layer on top of that the decades
of corruption, graft, and diversion -- money siphoned away from the iranian people for the personal enrichment of an elite few. 40 years of failure. it's no wonder the iranian people are finally asking a basic question. where is the money going? 40 years of failure is 40 years too long. the iranian people could have a much brighter, much brighter future if their leaders chose a different path, the path of a normal nation. as secretary pompeo has said, the united states is prepared to fundamentally change the relationship with iran, including diplomatic and economic relations, if iran's leaders fundamentally change their behavior. comply with international obligations and expectations when it comes to missiles, nuclear activities, proliferation, and human rights, release our citizens, end state sponsorship of terrorism, stop threatening your neighbors and fomenting chaos outside your
borders. until iran's leaders decide to put the interests of their citizens ahead of their own self-interest, the u.s. maximum pressure campaign will continue and strengthen. we know where the money goes, and it doesn't go to the iranian people. so the united states will do everything we can do to dry up the money the islamic republic uses for illicit, dangerous, and destabilizing purposes. when the president says maximum pressure, he means maximum pressure. as special representative hook recently noted, jurisdictions that receive significant reduction exceptions to import iranian crude should not expect those exceptions to be renewed. the oil market is well supplied and can absorb the loss of iranian crude. u.s. sanctions will be enforced.
as ambassador bolton and the state department have repeatedly said, special purpose vehicles are no exception. more sanctions are on the way. the reimposition of sanctions in november should be considered a first step. it's a baseline, not a finish line. 40 years of failure, 40 years too long. we know where the money goes, and like the iranian people, we've seen enough. thank you so much. [applause] >> thank you so much, rich. our goal today was to better understand the role of the iranian revolution and what it played in terms of the annals of iran's history and to explore how iran can one day achieve the aspirations of its people. according to reporters without borders, in the first 30 years
following the revolution, 860 reporters were arrested, imprisoned, or executed, and many more have since been. fdd shares in the hope of seeing iran a free country with the kind of discussion we had today is possible without retribution. please join me in once again thanking my colleagues and rich goldberg and our distinguished panel for a really enlightening and interesting conversation today, and we look forward to having you with us again in the future. thank you. [applause] >> "washington journal" live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. this morning, jim himes joins us
to talk about the war powers act and fridays budget deadline. discussion about the state care donovantal slack. be sure to watch "washington journal" live at 7:00 a.m. eastern this morning. join the discussion. >> tuesday, we are live from dearborn, michigan, for the funeral of a michigan congressman, who died last tuesday at 92 years of age. cspan2, the senate continues work on legislation regarding public lands natural resource management.
the chamber votes on whether to advance william bars nomina tion as attorney general. in the in operations the pacific -- indo-pacific. >> there are nearly 100 new members of the house this year. anthony gonzalez was a football start before being drafted in 2007. after injuries, he earned is mba at stanford. served over a decade in the state house.
>> have you seen c-span's newest book "the senate"? hundreds of gorgeous photos. magnificent, says dawn richie, senate historian emeritus. and senate historian richard baker says, mesmerizing photographs establish this book as the ultimate insider's tour. to order your high-quality paperback copy of "the senate" for just $18.95 plus shipping, visit c-span.org/senatebook. >> former texas rep. beto o'rourke held a rally in el paso, texas. this portion of the event with mr. o'rourke. this is just over 15 minutes. mr.