tv Book Discussion on Iran and the United States CSPAN August 13, 2014 8:00pm-9:28pm EDT
watch us in hd, like us on facebook and follow us on twitter. >> coming up, book in prime time with books about u.s.-iran relations. first, we have united states: an insider's view on the failed past and the road to peace". now the former iranian national security administrator talks about iran and the united states relationship in insider's view on the failed past and the road to peace".
we are insider's view on the failed past and the road to peace" and. sain sain he is here to talk about iran's program and the conflicted relationship with the united states and his own close personal association over the years with the two principles on the iranian side in the current nuclear negotiations. this makes him a perfect quest for ipi tonight because this is a -- guest -- because this is a tantling time for the united states and iran. the two countries have been sworn enemies for the last 35 years but as many people have pointed out they are also two
and become rivals who maybe to cooperate on issues where there is a common issues. the u.s. and china and russia are call in issues. that is why i used the word tantalizing at the offset. this is marked by deep and misoccurring trust on both sides. the result is a breakdown between the united states and iran that lasted longer than the breakdown between china and the united states. building trust is elusive particular if one side doesn't understand what the other side thinks and why it does. that is the value of this book. and i can think of no better person to explain the iranian viewpoint to a western audience than seyed hossein mousavian who
was at many events who did his und undergraduate here and has been doing research and teaching at princeton. i can recommend his book and it is for sale at the door. and i should tell you it is proved to be so poplar that we had to send out to the publisher to get more in. and he will linger a bit at the end to sign copies and chat with you. he was here two years ago to discuss his first book and i am delighted to have him back here potentially at this moment for our two countries. welcome and the floor is yours. [applause] >> thank you. first of all, i would like to extend my gratitute to warren
and his colleagues at ipi -- gratitude -- for planning this event. i came to the united states in mid-1970s and left the u.s. some weeks before the victory of islamic revolution 1979. i came back in 2009. 30 years later. in these three decades i had an opportunity to be engaged in major events and occasions related to problems between iran and the west from hostage taking crisis in 1988-1989 to afghanistan crisis to the
nuclear crisis, different administrations, different peri periods. working in foreign ministry. most of the time i spent on problems and relations between iran and the west. i was seven years in germany as ambassador and it gave me a great opportunity to discuss with you t. we had critical dialogues with the difference on human rights, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and all of the issues including hezbollah. officially and unofficially. when i came back in 2009 to the united states it was different because i didn't have official
hat or access to tens or hundreds of american foreign policy experts and journalist to sit with them and discuss very, very openly, sincerely and frankly the disputes and problems between iran and the united states. definitely these four-five years gave me a great understanding about the american perception and how americans view the iranian's foreign policy making system and the disputes between iran and the united states. in this period it was very clear for me there is a big gap on correct understanding of iran. rarely can you find a foreign
expert in the united states with the correct understanding of iran. of course no one can blame anyone because first of all we had no relation during 35 years and there is no exchange between journalist and scholars and academics and iranians and americans. that is why i felt in a unique position knowing i spent nine years in the united states over thee decades in the iranian policy making system to write a book about the relationship between iran and united states. tehran and washington have experienced one of the most
dysfunctional relations, if not the most. one of the most hostile relations if not the most. and during mordern history, i can rarely find -- modern -- such a style between the united states and any other country. even with the soviet union there was relations and ambassadors. even with vietnam with the wars and everything the united states and ambassadors have official relations. but iranians and americans have failed to establish a had been and experienced all means of hostility. economic, covert, cyber, political war. the united states definitely tried over three decades to bring regime change in iran and
lens of iranian culture. policy making structure of the country and how iranians view americans and the united states. i did my best to be balanced in order to explain both point of views but i think that the advantage or my objective was more to explain the iranian point of view because of the vacuum in the west lit. i talked about a century of 1856 to 1953. i have 25 years of relation between iran and the united
states after the revolution, the time the united states supported the pshaw but the focus is during the war and eight years of the presidents and eight years presidency of the reformist and eight years president of the conservative or radical. it doesn't matter what president we have, i have explained many events that all presidents tried
to bring approachment between the iran and the united states. and they made a lot of tries over the 30 years and all have failed. there has been the same approach, not always from the u.s. administration but some of the administrations in the u.s. since 1979 tried to also bring an end to the hostilities between iran and the united states and americans have also failed. that is why one of the main issues in my book is the root causes of the failures of the iran and u.s. during the years. it is about the mistrust, mutual mistrust, about misunderstandings and per exceptionss and calculations.
the reason and mindset of the leaders why and what is the reasons and the evidence and the facts is he cannot trust the u.s. interesting issue is despite the leader doesn't have leadership he doesn't have different approaches to the united states. you would see stories that i explained during many of the presidents and at the end it came to be correct because they all failed.
i wanted to present a road map for iran and the united states to end the hostilities after over three decades. my main objective was to use my experience, my knowledge, my engagement in many many events between iran and the united states and iran and the west and understanding both parties to present a roadmap. a comprehensive road map of how iran and the united states can improve the relations. actually tehran and washington have decided, wrongly i believe, to focus on the nuclear deal and want to discuss other issues after the policy.
one of the major steps between tehran and washington which could pave the way for a normal relationship would be civilian diplomacy. if you have hostilities between the states i cannot imagine the nations together. i do not see legitimate reasons why we prevented the two nations too normal relations together. that is why civilian diplomacy is one of the major issues i
explained in detail. many, many other issues as well. the other subject i have introduced is about the end state on differences. we had many piece meal approaches during the last 40 years. the reason for the failure, one of them, is because iran and the united states have relied on peace meal approaches. they have never engaged in a comprehensive dialogue and for the future my understanding is iran-america problem doesn't limit to nuclear. it is not only about terrorism.
it is not only about peace process. we have to engage in a comprehensive dialogue to put all bilateral, regional, and international issues on the table to negotiate. to be able to agree on differences, iran and the u.s. want to see the end state on every issue from piece process to terrorism to weapons of mass destruction. i give you just one example. we say for ten years some years i was involved in negotiations. the reason was iranians want to see the end states. for iranians the end state was recognition of the rights for
peaceful nuclear technology including enrichment. and during our time, or p5 plus 1 was never in a position to accept the full rights of iran on this including enrichment and that is why iranians could never sign to any deal during the ten years of negotiations. for a period, the read line for the united states was no enrichment in iran. this was the main reason they could get together for a deal. but recently the united states recognized this isn't correct policy. they changed no enrichment to no nuclear bomb. when the u.s. red line moved from no enrichment to no nuclear
bomb then the end state for the united states should be no nuclear bomb. that is why they could sign a deal in geneva in november of 2003 because both parties could see the end state. iranians were sure at the end they write including enrichment would be recognized and respected. americans or the war powers they could see at the end iran would agree to different measures, transparency measures, no capabilities measures making sure the international community knew iran would not seek in the future nuclear bomb. this is the case about every other disputed issues. if they can see the end from the beginning they can enter for a
comprehensive deal on every issue. the other issue which i have discussed in the book is the wrong strategy both from washington and from tehran to focus on the differences and forget to talk about the commonalities. warren mentioned a statement from kissenger that iran and the united states have huge common interests. it is true. iran and the united states both face the rise of one of the most dangerous versions of terrorism during the history of mankind. it is a threat to iran and the united states. they both are worried about the
crisis of iraq and syria spilling over into the region. they are both worried about a break of sectarian war to the whole region. they both want safe passage of oil and energy from the region. they both don't want to see the possession of terrorist on the oil resources of the region which can be a threat to international oil markets. and stability in iraq, and integrity prevents the collapse of iraq as a state and nation is a common in the between iran and the united states. and practically they have supported the same government in iraq and even in afghanistan for
a decade. they have supported karzai despite the differences and supported al-maliki despite of problems and hostilities. this is one of the main problems and in order to build a future we need tehran and washington to begin to negotiate, to talk, to cooperate on the issues of common interest. from drug trafficking to organized crimes to stability in afghanistan, iraq and syria, to security of energy, stability in persian gulf and many other issues which are vital to the national interest of the u.s. and iran both.
i am not going to take too much of your time to explain every detail of the book but i believe there is a chance. there is a serious chance, i believe. when i am looking to the current situation of the middle east i see iraq and syria on the brink. taliban is coming back in afghanistan. pakistani crisis seems to be going and the scholars are worried about the future of pakistan. whether we like it or not and
whether the u.s. likes it or not iran is one of the most stable countries in the region. despite 30 years of the war and everything iran is one of the most stable countries. i look at the area and say iran and turkey are the most stable countries. others have instability like iraq or afghanistan or they are vulnerable to the crisis. this is additional responsibility for tehran and washington to cooperate. i don't believe the crisis in the region will only be resolved by cooperation by iran and the united states. we need to engage other powers
like saudi arabia and turkey. we need a regional corporation system which i have discussed in details in the book in the persian gulf and the region. i would prepare warren to stop here and go to the questions. [applause] >> i am going to ask a couple questions of my own and then we will go to the floor. hussein, you mentioned saudi arabia and the need to include them. i want to ask you about something that is current right now. as we know the foreign minister of iran at one point proposed
going to the gulf states to present a case that is not poplar in the gulf states. i think we wanted to go and there was no invitation forthcoming. i think that changing and one is hearing there is a chance there might be a meeting between saudi arabia and iran. can you report where that stands? the saudi arabians opposition to the middle east a struggle between saudi arabia and sunni on one end and iran and the shiites on the other end. how does that stand? >> i don't know whether we have any change because still there is no official invitation for the minister to visit the area.
>> i was going to say in the book also hassan tells a fascinating story of when why was chosen to go to saudi arabia and i think you met the king? >> yes, we was crowned the prince after the time. it was after eight years of war between iran and iraq which saudi arabia supported saddam hussein and we had 300-300 iranians massacred. the hostility was extremely high. i went and met the crown prince and he was the main decision maker at the time. three or four others met in his home privately from 11 at night
to 4-5 in the morning. and we were able to agree on a package for bilateral relations. that is why the relation from 1996-2005 at the end of the president's period and the whole period of the next we had the best relation between iran and saudi arabia and even better than the relationship during the shaw. this is the reason i believe the iran-saudi arabia crisis can be managed easily. i understand the saudi arabians are concerned about the rise of iran. when they look at afghanistan, iraq and syria and everywhere they see iran has the upper
hand. that is why they mobile mobilealized the forces but they are on the wrong track and they would be the victim. iran wouldn't be vulnerable to the wave of terrorism but i think saudi arabia would be. they are investing on the wrong track. the notion of bringing a balance between iran and saudi arabia in order to sit and negotiate is really -- i really don't understand. because i feel that saudi arabians want to have a balance. it is in the role and influence of saudi arabia and in the region to negotiate. after 30 years of all types of pressures and sanctions and war
and use of chemical weapons now iran is the most powerful and stable countries. how long we have to fight together in the region in order to bring balance -- i think the notion is wrong. i believe the terrorist are the same threat to iran, united states, europe and even saudi arabia. i mean they are against what they say imperilism, u.s. zionism, shiites and all of the region. i believe they are all in one boat and they should sit together and discuss openly and
frankly all concerns. there are two big covers. in the sunni war, saudi arabia is powerful and in the shiites iran is powerful. and i remember talking to crown prince who is the king now he told me the three pillars of the region are saudi arabia, iran and iraq. and we cannot cooperate are saddam. today saddam is gone. and there is no reason three pillars of the region should not and could not fit together and create a regional cooperation between iran, iraq and the other countries. >> you said tonight and you said in the book that three different
precedencies in iran including the presidency of the latest failed. why do you think this one might work? >> in my understanding i explained in the book he made the most effort, even more than the others to reach the united states. he was the first president who wrote official letter to the u.s. president obama. he was the first president congradulated a united states president. the high level talks began during his era which the
secretary of national security in geneva in 2009 and it was a very secret talk between the iran and united states began in 2012. it was again during the next president. the reason i said warren, tehran and washington have failed in the last three decades is pie piecemeal approach. they have never had a comp comprehensive strategy. they need to engage in dialogue on all issues. just focusing for nuclear for
ten years. a decade we are fighting on nuclear. really iran and the united states problems are limited to the nuclear? this is the problem. >> but in fact the negotiation we are looking at now is piecemeal and focused just on the nuclear and they said we will not deal with anything else consciously and they will try to settle on this and build on it. i think from talking to you and reading the book you think that has a chance, don't you? >> the realities in the region i think would bring a mindset change to tehran and washington. iraq is one today. they feel a threat to the national security of the united states, iran, saudi arabia, and the region. that is why i believe there is a
chance because unfortunately the recent crisis in the region is educating tehran and washington to engage as soon as possible in a grand bargain. >> if this negotiation -- my own thinking is the reason this particular one might have a better chance is you have an elected leader of iran who was elected on a program in an election that was certified as fair and open by international authorities. you had a president who ran on a program and you have a foreign
how important is it this particular one succeed? >> i fully agree today we have a golden opportunity because here the combination of obama, kerry and chuck hagel is something we have never had after the revolution in 1979 in the united states. during the period before it wasn't much different. however, when you ask me what
happens if this fails, i believe the same happened to others because they all tried and they all failed. >> since we are talk about the supreme leader a little bit and when i asked what happened happen to them i think i am saying what would the supreme leader say to them or do to them if they fail. i wanted to ask you just structurally how does the iranian government work? you have a president. you have a congress. you have a national security council. i think you served on it. and yet on top of all of that particular when it comes to foreign policy you had the
supreme leader. how does it work? how do you, for instance, someone like you, communicate with a supreme leader and how does he communicate with you? >> the structure is similar to washington. you have congress and you have parliament. the supreme leader authority in our constitution is similar to president obama's authority in your constitution. president obama maybe able to veto the congress decisions and legislation but the supreme leader of iran cannot veto legislation by parliament. we have national security council which is the most prominent institutions to decide on major issues related to politics and security like
nuclear and like iraq and afghanistan. he is deciding there is a dictatorship and he vetos everything and no body has no authority and this is totally a wrong perception here. it is true that he is the ultimate decision maker on foreign policy like president obama is the ultimate decision maker on foreign policy. but during his leadership he has agreeed with over 90% of the decisions made by iranian national security council.
>> rarely. perhaps one or two during over two decades of his leadership. i have explained one example that was veto was the time that iranian diplomats were assassinated in afghanistan and everyone was angry in iran and the majority of members of national security council believe that they should go inside afghanistan after the taliban like when afghanistan was being invaded. but the supreme leader decided not to intervene. this is very rare. >> when you talk to americans about iran and the united states
obviously one of the great issues is israel. while the rhetoric has changed and we do not want to wipe israel off the face of the map. for those that would be curious, i want to ask you, what would you assume the united states and iran reach an agreement, is it possible to imagine iran any one day recognizing the state of israel? if that is not possible is it possible to imagine iran not protesting the existence to the state of israel? is there a possible compromise
there? >> what is the change in israeli position during the periods? the israeli position has remained the same. therefore it doesn't matter if someone in iran denies holocaust or condemns holocaust. it is just some instrument to use and play against iran in international public opinion. to play with the major iran. otherwise, just tell me any changes in the position when there was jews gathering were the new year, they powerfully condemned the holocaust. the israeli position is the same. therefore i don't believe a change in iranian position would matter. this is a fact.
you can compare. second the problem is everybody is talking about iran not recognizing israel. 90% of muslim countries don't recognize israel. the majority of the united states allies don't recognize israel like saudi arabia. why are you talking about iran only? for 40-50 years you have not been able to convince your allies to recognize israel and you blame iran? we have 57 muslim countries that don't recognize israeli.
this isn't an issue with iran. but warren, can you find one evidence during president reins and any official stated wiping israel off the map? you would not find it during certain presidents. you would find some very high level statements that said we would not disturb peace process. it was a green light signal that if there is a deal iran would be prepared not to disturb peace process. but was there any changes during the united states position when the statements were made that we would not disturb peace process? there was no statement about wiping israel off the map.
during the last 10-15 years netanyahu's rating up and asking for military strikes against iran. and no body criticized netanyahu. why are you asking and putting pressure on the u.s. to attack iran but if iran denies holocaust like earthquake in the u.s., you know? if netanyahu ten times a day repeats attacking iran no one cares. >> i was just saying it is the reality of the situation. it wasn't great public relations for him to speak that way at the time and it made it more difficult. >> even when he made the statement against holocaust i publically rejected his statements. >> i am saying i am talking about a president who had you jailed after all. let me ask you and then i will
go to the room. in the introduction i imagined a situation where if the fuclar deal work -- nuclear -- deal works and you have a deal, you could turn iran from being an enemy into being a rival. we have differences and we will pursue them and we can pursue them aggressively and with great competitiveness. and the analogy i said is this is like the united states and china or the u.s. and russia or even the u.s. in the old days and the soviet union. is that a fair way of looking at what might be the truth about iran and the united states? >> i look at this case a little different warren because rivalry
between iran and the united states and the region perhaps during last 30-40 years, yes. but to my understanding the united states is going to leave the region within five years, ten years, they are going to leave persian gulf. they are not going to have any more military strikes. they don't want to have any invasion of any country in the middle east. when it is iran, egypt, or syria. they are lost millions because of wars in afghanistan and iraq. on the oil issue, it seems they are going to be independent within some years and at least they would not be that much dependented on the oil from the region. therefore if the united states strategy in the region is going
to be changed with engagement and military basis and spending millions to keep the military presence i think it is changing. if it is going to be changed the rivalry would be between iran and saudi arabia. i look at the issue more of the complication as we see the region and we need to find a solution within the region and then discuss about the united states and russia. the fact is the two major powers iran and saudi arabia are strategic location of the persian gulf and 40% of the oil is coming from the persian gulf.
on the occasion of the departure of the united states, the vacuum we would face soon, look at the vacuum after the departure from united states to iraq or afghanistan. and the crisis and the danger of spilling over to the whole region -- this is the reason my proposal initiative and suggestion is a regional cooperation system as soon as possible between iran, dcc and iraq for peace, stability and security in the persian gulf. and a type of cooperation they have like in europe. we can have the same system in persian gulf. >> i would love to get questions
from the floor. c-span is here tell -- televising this so hold the mike clearly and identify yourself or organization. i think we will take 2-3 questions at once starting in the front row. can i ask you stto stand? >> hussein you expect me to ask you a question that is not easy for you. >> always. >> we differ on the spin you making of the relationship between iran and united states. it was the american war in iraq
that gave iraq to iran so this is the point of view held by several people in the region and beyond. if you want to speak about the grand bargain which is a good idea. can you kindly tell me what would the elements me? how willing is iran to give up its ambitions in iraq and syria? this is the number one problem that iranians have with the arabs and the saudi arabians in particular. iraq and syria are arab lands. and it is maliki in iraq who has failed iraq and the intervention in syria, including hezbollah, going cross borders and becoming one of the cross-border armies that fought in syria and gave rise unfortunately to the terrorist, the sunni terrorist, like isis or isil or whatever you want to call them.
what is going to be done to have that grand bargain work? i would very much be interested in details on your part. and don't tell me about the secular region thing because you understand it has been rejected already. >> i think we will answer that one question. robin being the good journalist she is gets about 3-4 questions in one. we will get to the two of you afterwards. >> when you talk about iranian ambition and you use the example on iranian influence in iraq you should never forget iraq invaded iran for eight years and it was arab regional countries supported them. irans were killed and damage.
saddam used chemical weapons to hundreds of thousands of iranians were killed or injured. saudi arabia, arabs, the united states supported the use of chemical weapons. you forget this part of the history and you talk about today's influence of iran. iran's influence is defensive in iraq because you forget the part of the history when you invaded iran. if iraq, arabs, they have not invaded iran after the revolution, the strategy if the region would have been different. you cut a part of history you should not. no one in iran would forget what iraq and the support of hundreds of billions was paid to saddam by dcc to support the invasion.
this integration of iran was the target of this. saddam announced it as part of iraq and you and everyone supported. you forget the notion of refp change. if iran has influence in the region this is defensive. grand bargain -- first of all is about cooperation on comm commonalities. the iran and united states have differences and they have commonalities. the vacuum in the last 35 years is about cooperation, negotiation on commonalities.
establish regional corporation. and this is a must for the region. because to my and understanding, the u.s. is not going to pay for the region. answer my an understanding some countries would not be able to employ to u.s. supplies for the security. so we need the region for security. this can be a part of a grand bargain because i believe the u.s. was opposing the regional corporation system. now the u.s. does not oppose the regional cooperation. and then the crisis. we have crisis in afghanistan,
crisis and iraq, crisis and syria. syria, of course, it would need to have russia. it would need to have regional powers like saudi arabia, the iran and big powers like the u.s. and russia to manage this year in crisis. but iran should be a part of the solution. otherwise isolating iran and syria would never be able to put a solution in place. that's why geneva one fails. that is what geneva to fail. if you are going to have geneva three without iran it. >> we will take to now. be. >> i'm a journalist. i have a question in regard to iran.
does this present opportunities for cooperation between the u.s. and iran although both sides of officially denied that? and secondly, how do you see the future of iran? would you agree that a unified solution is a good solution, or would you see that there is enough? thank you. but. >> your question was about opportunity on iran. >> iran. >> hi. margaret williams, and beyond. two very quick questions. the first one is regarding turkey. i am wondering if you could elaborate on how you think iran sees their relationship with turkey going forward, particularly iraq and what has happened in muzzle and elsewhere. secondly, can you talk about him and how potential for some sort of dialogue
between iran and saudi could possibly materialize. >> yemen is the easiest. compared to iraq and syria. iran and turkey have had a cordial relationships for 400 years. there is really been no deep reaches hostility between iran andthe half had for 30 yea, 40 years after revolution to look at the economic relations between iran and turkey. anand and my those big nations in the region.
you have egypt, turkey, iran, of big civilization in history. the biggest nascent -- nation in the region. none of us can be neglected for any kind of region and arrangement. i always believe that the iran tester correlation is crucial for stability in the region. also for relations with europe and the west which always can play a role here for a short time in syria there was a feud between iran and turkey. immediately recognize that this is not in their long-term interest. now they're trying to not desert the bilateral relations because of the syrian issue. iraq definitely is. i mean, but whether they officially, the iranians are
americans officially stated and not, you cannot deny the current terrorism is a threat to iran and the u.s. we cannot deny that iran and the u.s. both are avoiding further u.s. political intervention in the region. i mean, before it was different. now they have a common understanding, washington and tehran, they both want to avoid further u.s. military intervention in the region. they are both very worried about the position of oil sources in the region by terrorists. i mean, this is of concern for the u.s. to my concern for iran because the safe passage of oil is extremely important for both tehran and washington. from the early days of the
syrian crisis iran was born in the international community that the crisis would spill over into the region. no one unfortunately paid attention. it was clear that the route would be the first victim. to my understanding after iraq in jordan and then lebanon and in saudi arabia. if there is not an immediate solution to teheran, the current crisis in syria and iraq. they are interrelated. we cannot do one without the other. there are very related. as i said, tehran and washington have supported this same government in iraq. they want to prevent a disruption of the post said on hussain system. this would be a failure and
boehner sectarian war really is a matter of concern for tehran and washington. integrity have an iranian, including some of my friends in tehran, they believe washington is after disintegration of iraq. i personally do not agree this is the case. i believe washington is seeking integrity of iraq. they do not want disintegration because they know if there is disintegration pin and syria were iraq and then the region would be vulnerable to further disintegration. it is very clear. >> okay. um hmm three in a row.
>> first, i have noticed you have not offered a word of gratitude to president bush for having taken care of iraq and saddam hussein for iran. maybe he deserves a bit more memory. i do wonder whether he may exaggerate a bit the intentions of the u.s. to plan of the region which i have not seen signals of a wholesale yet. let's focus on the region itself. must be a blow to the iranian sense of importance that for all of the convulsions of the arabs during and the rise of would be islamists democratic movements nobody looks to the islamic republic of iran as a constitutional model for anybody in the arab world, even islamist democracy which then raises the kutcher -- question what are iranian purchases in the broader region? what kind of influence does it really exert on any of the other countries other
than through the couple proxies', has allowed and passat to homemade has provided tangible of rebels. and those relationships matter of conviction, she added loyalty more simply expedient, cut the right deal with washington and you can cut these loose and in. >> hold that thought on they are saying. >> catherine n. gerard. i would like to know a little bit about the role of the revolutionary guard with respect to relations of iran and the u.s. what their role is created. >> from global parliamentary services. could you say a little bit more about the possibilities of cooperation or date on or
whatever between iran and saudi arabia? because one of the country's you referred to that is facing possible problems is pakistan, and there is really their rival new through proxy's and particularly malicious that is affecting the stability of the country. i would like to hear a little bit more has to wear iran in saudi arabia may go. >> all right. him. >> iran and saudi, and definitely they have all lot of contention in the region. no doubt. but whether all we can find a solution are not, i believe we can. i personally have been involved for a decade of good relations between iran
and saudi arabia. i personally consider backing a bill as a moderate he, and i really cannot imagine the moderate part of it saudi arabia , although the root cause of finances and logistic support is coming from and not only saudi arabia but, i cannot imagine any one liking to see such hostility between iran and the u.s. between. ♪ and saudi arabian and new. and nine maintain iran should use the opportunity that timing king abdullah is alive to create a new rapprochement between iran and the u.s. because i really don't know what is
going to happen between 85 yes. after this transition, the problem we have in saudi arabia. no one knows what will happen after king abdullah. several -- in 1988 and an element 1989 and an unborn when president bush invited iran for good well for a run to facilitate the release of western hostages, american hostages. although i have explained in my book, another friend and foreign ministry, were invited to manage this steelman. and we did it. but very frankly we could not make a deal.
it was the revolutionary guard facilitating the release of hostages. in 2001 the war on terror when, again, the u.s. invited iran to cooperate. it was impossible without the revolutionary guard corporation and to bring iran and the u.s. to cooperate to fight in afghanistan. it was the revolutionary guard. and so it depends how you deal with it. if you are nice, they will be constrained. [laughter] been there would result. they have a sense of power and organization. there are extremely powerful and know how to react. iranian regional objectives,
i have explained in my book one store in. it was my mission to germany when i met foreign minister genscher and. and the fed issue he raised with me was the possibility of the regional cooperation system in persian gulf. but you don't like it. and she doesn't like it. them that peron would be positive. he was really sharpton every then he asked me to manage to iran to support the president. and pit he was given car plunged to go for regional cooperation. it was in 1919. not in 2014.
it rose right after the war. and almost shocked. he came to washington, and washington declined. before you can see from the beginning iranians have been seeking for a type of regional cooperation. and reliably was the foreign minister in 1991, 92, 95. he paid a visit to all countries. that time i was in foreign ministry. and he raised the unwillingness to establish such a corporation. but gcc was not in position to agree because of u.s. position, opposition. to really to believe iran is going to have a dominant role in the region.
the conventional understanding here, iran is preparing more regional cooperation with the neighbors, including saudi arabia and. when i said about the u.s. departure from the region, i never mean immediate. gradually with the intent of 15 years, it is my understanding that the u.s. is going to tear the gradually decrease its role in, investment in the region which could take five, ten, 15 years. it is not going to happen in one year. >> i have time for three more questions. one for my colleague. i will go one. the woman in the address. and. >> thank you for your speech. average four to reading your book. my question brings us back
to iran and inside the country. in it is very fuzzy when people report that president will have on hard time convincing the hard-liners, this big umbrella, the hard-liners began you tell us what your assessment is of the hard-liner challenge, and do you think -- of far can he go before the tight rope that he is seemingly walking around the. >> just make it very simple for you next week. what is our role here in washington? imbibing hal obama, the problems the president obama in congress seem, this is exactly the same as radical as the hard-liners, a exactly where amish.
>> thank you. >> hello. thank you for your presentations. i am an international security consultant. and i have a question visa the your position that the u.s. is gradually, gradually disassociating or disengaging like the middle east? and i want to bring you forward two years from now where we have an incoming -- this is a hypothetical. an incoming republican president in washington, republicans or the majority in the two houses of million of what you to put your book and its recommendations to years from now on the future in a want you to pay particular attention in your response to the issue of u.s. commitments to. >> i have no doubt about u.s. commitment to israel president obama's the tab for the piece process. it was not iran.
the u.s. president, john kerry, that 2-state solution they oppose the u.s. president. but this point about this fact, i know about the u.s. commitment to security of israel, i have no doubt, but the issue is whether israel is making rate policies or they are isolating themselves some and blaming the lsc. this is whether we would have a republican president or not, we may have. him this is, to my understanding -- many am wrong. i really -- for me it is difficult to imagine a republican president i think
america has a good lesson in >> and then the final question. a former colleague from the new york times. >> thank you. wonderful presentation. >> my name is adam beckham of former times person and independent. much of the discussion has been framed in geopolitical terms, but the question that occurred to me is, the school of thought in part by people war in one of very well which sees the instability in the region, especially originated in syria, the failure of political systems to respond to environmental issues. and so i wondered if you might be able to comment a little bit from that perspective and also, if you are except that you -- >> what you mean by that? >> well, syria and half and then led to instability and the failure of the regime to respond in a meaningful way.
i mean, tom friedman did a documentary. so i wonder if you could respond a little bit to that and also if you accept that view, the you see opportunity for cooperation between the west and the iran and environmental areas ? >> on surrounding myself i believe the president booktv.org made a mistake at the beginning. he could have had better treatment preventing the crisis. one. second, today the reality is that the assad government is part of unburned integrity have statement and nation of syria. believe it or not, assad
today is collapsed. who is going to govern syria who has the better alternative. what is alternative? who is alternative? do we have a united opposition? do we have a united war in syria? the fact is that the army in new and the security establishment of syria still are relatively united. compare syria with iraq. a problem today with iraq. the u.s. made the big mistake to dissolve iraqi security system at the beginning. for ten years the u.s. invested billions of dollars some to educate or to train or to organize a new army and security system. and you see that the army is weak today to confront its 1,000, 2,000 insurgents.
this is the failure of the u.s. but i think the iranians are wise enough to support assad and his government to prevent the collapse of army and security establishment. no one knows what is going to happen after environmental issues. one, i think on weapons of mass destruction in the middle east, the only realistic major success has been dismantling have cyrian chemical weapons. we don't have anything else. and this is only and only because of trilateral cooperation between tehran washington and moscow. therefore, you can see if there is real cooperation what can be the result?
no one else could convince assad to give up his chemical weapon because the chemical weapon was against the israeli chemical weapon. the refugees, i mean, today really there is a big room between the regional countries, iran, and the u.s. and for humanitarian assistance. we have 9 million refugees displaced. perhaps 50 percent of syria is destroyed. we need the refugees to go back to their home. if there is any possibility of cooperation between iran and the u.s. and syrian first of all, i believe that we need to bring the
original powers to corporation. my idea is our five plus p5. --, permanent members of you in security plus five regional $1.1. iran, saudi arabia they need to be together to find a solution for syria. second abcaeleven need to agree on some principal one they're helpless. they don't have any real united opposition to negotiate. some principals like integrity of syrian manhattan, like the rule of majority.
i think ron regional power, they can agree upon and then after a rain on the principle there would be a transitional time. the refugees come back. billions of dollars for investment for humanitarian affairs. resettling the refugees in cerium and then go to a free election. make sure of that this is a reelection. then then whomever the syrian select, everyone will respect. >> thank you for that question penney's it enables us to bring the argument back to the united nations. as i told you