tv [untitled] April 4, 2012 11:30am-12:00pm EDT
where the enrichment would be shipped out. you would find if this first meeting is a success, there will be a second meeting. and the second meeting will come very quickly, because everybody is afraid of drawing out the process. and if that happens and there's a second meeting and there is a stepping down to 20% enrichment by iran and move toward a swap and we would move toward freezing sanctions -- which is incredibly different, because they're mandated by the u.s. congress. speaking of a nightmare, that would be an outright nightmare. the way to sell it would be if you're getting concessions to the iranian side, this the last chance to reach an agreement. and that's the good way to see sanctions. >> please. >> sanctions are blemished. they do hurt certain u.s. objectives and promote certain u.s. objectives at the same time. in terms of hurting the u.s.
objective of democracy in iran -- if that's not the ultimate u.s. objective, it should be. sanctions are hurtful. they do hurt the iranian middle class, the same people who came out to the streets of tehran and other cities in 2009 to protest against the government. sanctions hurt our allies with iran. not just iranians within iran but there have been reports that sanctions are hurting the iranian community in the united states, canada and sweden and that doesn't help the united states. in terms of promoting u.s. interests, the sanctions have made the cost of iran's nuclear program harder. if they decide to weaponize their program, they have to consider even more damaging sanctions. i do think that sanctions make iran think -- or rethink its policies quite a bit. and potentially cause s fissure
within the government where you have guards that are involved in the air yan economy be hurt by sanctions and pressure the supreme leader. also, i think sanctions help contain iran. if iran developed a nuclear weapons capability, it would be in a much weaker state, wouldn't be able to project power in the middle east as well. and sanctions, finally, show other countries who are thinking of violating the nonproliferation regime that there are costs associated. so if iran decides to go nuclear and saudi arabia thinks, well, we should obtain nuclear weapons, it will look at iran and see all the associated costs. and so in that way, sanctions are beneficial. i hate to say it, but there are benefits to sanctions. >> one quick code to this discussion. a month ago, there was a sort of unnamed u.s. official, talking about the sanctions. what is the goal of the sanctions? and the quote -- i forget the
exact quote, but it was something like regime change is the goal of the sanctions. and then people said, whoa, whoa, regime change is the goal of the sanctions? and then he said, well, not regime change, just sort of to cause pain to the government in iran, et cetera. i think that's clearly what's going on here. there's an effort to create fear in the iranian government that the domestic political situation may be so offended by the sanction caused pain, but you get a lot of bang out of the buck of destabilizing the government. there was this walkback that came. well, not regime changing. we're doing something else. but i think in the main -- the breath of these sanctions clearly is designed to cause iran to fear destabilization and that fear of destabilization, in turn, to cause iran to come to the table, to attempt to get some relief to where it doesn't fear destabilization as much.
>> thank you. on this end and then we'll get the other end. mike? >> thank you. i'm with peace code pink organization. i wonder, and particularly logan, i think, why can't we get more republicans that are friends of yours at cato on the libertarian side to join with some of the progressives in congress, like barbara lee, who put forward these bills for diplomacy? it seems like we get walter jones and maybe ron paul but that's about it. what can we do to strengthen this call for war in congress? >> i guess that's targeted at me. i don't know is the answer. there are too few libertarian members of congress in my view. so, i will loudly endorse that sentiment. no, i think that -- look, if
you're looking at it from a congressional standpoint, there are lots of reasons why you would want to sign on to another sanctions bill and there's lots of reasons why you wouldn't want to sign on to a jones/lee bill. and lots of them are political reasons. creating counterveiling is a good thing to do, but a tough hill to climb. so -- >> on this side? >> david eisenberg. this question is addressed to miss lee and mr. logan. diplomacy seems the only viable all tern it active. military attacks are a nonstarter for reasons i won't bore people with. but i would ask you to assess -- it would seem the constraint on effective diplomacy is, in part, restrained by domestic political opposition and i would ask you for your assessment, how
seriously -- how much of an impediment is the current domestic position, neoconservative elements to the administration? i noted in the news this morning that mitt romney is starting to turn to the obama administration and focus its critique on its foreign policy, which is a bit like pee wee herman challenging mike tyson, but i would appreciate your assessments. >> sure. president obama said something very sensible. i forget whether it was in h his -- i think it was in his speech to the apec convention where he pointed out that the only way you can actually get a country to not build nuclear weapons is if the leadership of that country decides not to build nuclear weapons, that there's no other permanent way to stop nuclear proliferation. i thought that was a really key point. so he's basically saying we have sanctions. we have other tools, but ultimately it's going to have to be a decision of the iranian government.
he was saying, in effect, there was no military solution to the iranian nuclear program even though he insists all options remain on the table. i think that's very useful. we've seen certainly mitt romney and others apart from ron paul beating the drums for an even more aggressive posture toward iran than that of the obama administration. so, i think it's going to be very hard to get anything accomplished before our election in terms of something that would require real u.s. concessions. i think that's just a fact. so, the best we can hope for is to start a process and to keep -- if the iranians can simply slow the program at this point and not continue to do more and more provocative thing s -- one of the problems that we've had is that the iranians keep sticking their finger in our eye with one announcement after another. in january they announced they
sta started to enrich uranium beyond 20%. this is what israel fears most. if iranians can be sensitive enough to u.s. politics, which is a big leap -- but if they can be, and if they can simply restrain themselves so that the next iaea report is not so alarming, i think we'll buy enough time with talks so at least to get through our electrics. if obama is re-elected, i would hope that he would be able to be much more proactive on this. >> i have a couple of quick thoughts on romney. an article in foreign policy in the last issue date by karl rove and gillespie saying don't believe all this about the voters not caring. the republican candidate should really go all in on the foreign policy critique of obama. i would be very wary about taking political advice from karl rove about how to use foreign policy. it looked pretty good in 2004, didn't look so good after that. so, there was a lot of discussion about this article. and i think romney is -- appear
s to be taking advice to get a foreign policy critique going. what's interesting is that obama has tried to pair it back saying all these people on the complain a -- campaign are complaining about what i'm doing. why don't you tell me what you plan to do? voters don't like iran, certainly don't the idea of iran having a bomb. if it comes to if i'm elected promise, i promise we will have a war with iran, that's a different political calculation. so, there's lots of, again, hand waving and table pounding and you're apologizing for america and all this sort of atmospheric stuff. what obama appears to want to do is have a precise policy discussion. so war then? i think that's how he thinks he can pair it back. whether it that that will work,
i don't know. >> right there and then i'll get some in the back. it's hard for me to see in the new auditorium. these lights are really bright. >> they are. >> milton hoenig, international center for terrorism studies. in going for a diplomatic solution, how do you deal with the iaea's persistent demand for answers to its questions about the military dimensions of iran's program? >> michael, will you take that one? >> sure. right now the iaea is seeking to get access to a military site where they think in this container, which is in a shack, that iran may have done tests for a trigger for a nuclear weapon and may have used uranium to do it. you have a line in the sand being drawn by the iaea. you have a confrontation, which could really play big in the june report. that said, i don't think any of this will impact the diplomatic
process. and i've been told that by people from several members of the p5 plus 1. and the reason for that is that, first of all, it's not new that iran is not cooperating with the iaea. it's not new that iran is hiding nuclear work from the iaea. and i think there's a divorce between the diplomatic process, which itself is so tentative, and the iaea investigation. short answer to your question is whatever happens at the iaea, unless they happen to discover that iran is actually working on a bomb somewhere, it will not affect the diplomatic process and the effort to get talks going. >> in the middle there? please wait for the mike. >> i'm ray mcgovern from professionals for sanity. >> please speak up, sir. >> okay. i see a kind of surreal aspect to this discussion.
there are two elephants that are in the room that are either referred to by euphamisms or not at all. one is the domestic political considerations. what is meant by that is the israel lobby and our president's intention to march in lockstep with israel. that's number one. number two are the facts. and this is my question. it is widely recognized, not only by the u.s. intelligence community, but by the israeli community, intelligence community and by both defense minut ministers that iran is not working on a nuclear weapon. the way it's phrased is iran has not yet decided to work on a nuclear weapon. english tells me they're not working on a nuclear weapon. we have all this rhetoric about we have to stop them from doing. and if they're not working on a nuclear weapon, how do we stop them from not working on a nuclear weapon? the last thing here is that the
defense minutister of israel ga an interview on the 18th of january. he was asked, do you agree with the american assessment that iran has not yet decided to do a nuclear weapon? he said yes. next question, how soon could they get it? and he said it doesn't matter. it doesn't matter because they would have to throw the iaea out. they have not done that. when they do that, come back and ask me. i'll make an assessment. >> thank you. >> what are we doing here? what's the premise here? they're not working on a nuclear weapon. why do we have to stop them from not working on a nuclear weapon? >> this is something i wanted to ask about, barbara. i think you raised it. how significant is it that at the time of the apec convention, president obama clarified the objective of u.s. policy is to prevent a weapon as opposed to
weapons capability? and how significant is it also -- again, to justin's point, that congress' language and sanctions in their measures is different? what is really going on here? >> first, fo the questioner, i don't think obama is marching in lockstep with apec. and i think this distinction that he made is really crucial. iran already has a nuclear weapons capability in the sense that it has scientists who know how to build a bomb. it has enough enriched uranium to make maybe four or five nuclear weapons, if it decided to do so. it could make a device, put it in a suitcase and deliver it somehow. perhaps it couldn't put it on a missile yet. it's a meaningless term now to talk about nuclear weapons capability, even though that's a term that the israelis and apec has been throwing around for years and congress continues to throw around in this resolution. that was the most important thing to me in what obama said at apec. if you'll notice, netanyahu
picked up the same language afterwards and also referred to a nuclear weapon and not nuclear weapons capability. that's the victory in terms of clarity. it means that iran can do a lot of things that it's already doing as long as it doesn't actually build a nuclear weapon and it doesn't have to face the threat of military action from the united states. >> mike? >> the distinction between the capability and a weapon is absolutely crucial. and it is a big difference between the united states and israel. the concern to the israelis is that iran is developing -- iran is really not ready to break out and make a nuclear weapon. they don't want to make one weapon. they would want to make several. in answer to your question, iran was discovered in 2003 hiding two decades of secret military work. and especially before 2003, there were a whole range of
activities where it begs the question, why are they doing these things? and when iran was both unable to answer those questions and then more activities came up, that's when the investigation began. and iran has not cooperated fully with the investigation. so, yes, there is no smoking gun that iran seeks a nuclear weapon. and the united states says iran has not made the decision to make the weapon and that they may even have stopped weaponization work in 2003, but iran has never owned up to the work they were doing before 2003 and that the iaea feels they were doing after 2003. there are, i think, legitimate questions about iran's intentions. the capability that they are able to amass is legal under the nonnuclear proliferation treaty. the concern is that they will advance on several fronts with enrichment, technology for missiles, with technology for possibly weaponizing.
and it is at that point, when they put all their ducks in a row that they would do the so-called breakout and it would toob late to stop them. that's the difference. one thing to note about obama. bush -- president bush would always say it's unacceptable for iran to have a nuclear weapon. the obama administration has deliberately changed that language to say they will prevent iran from getting a nuclear weapon. you have this shifting field where it's hard to define what's go i going on. but i think the administration has staked out a position, which in a way is more forceful than the bush administration. the israelis are very uncomfortable with the american definition of what to do and we have to see how it develops. >> i think there are very real differences between israel and the united states on the iranian nuclear program. israel is a small country. it's in a very tough neighborhood. it's surrounded by iran yan allies, including hezbollah, hamas, syria.
p potentially one iranian nuclear weapon or even iran's capability to produce that is seen by a lot of israelis as an existential threat. there are a lot of differences with the iranian nuclear question but israeli's top leadership, including president netanyahu have this viewpoint that even a virtual nuclear iran is very dangerous, whereas i would argue although the united states does not want even an iranian nuclear weapons capability, it is better able to handle that capability. its interests are not as at stake as israeli interests on the issue. and president obama has stated that containment is not his policy. but he's also going for re-election.
and policies change after presidents are elected. so, there is a possibility even that the united states could move toward a policy of containment toward iran and i don't think this is something that israelis want. not just the israelis, but our other allies in the middle east, especially arab countries of the persian gulf. >> time for two more questions. on this side, i have two folks right there. keep your hand up high there, greg. there you go. >> greg talman, arms association. i agree with the skill of obama handling the israeli pressure in march but it does seem that in the process of doing that, he ended up making a very clear promise that if iran moved to acquire nuclear weapons, he would respond with military
action, which is, in essence, an endorsement of the george wncht bush plan of attack. my how is that heard in tehran? does it make a difference? does it just confirm what they always thought? or -- >> can you comment on that, alireza? >> it seem they get better organized and move to deterrent? >> one of the arguments is that we have to present realistic military option towards iran, that if there's no military threat, that iran would not come to the table. i think actually looking at the iranian nuclear program it is motivated by insecurity and fear. fear of u.s. military capabilities. so i don't think necessarily that the threat of attacking iran's facilities by the united states or israel is necessarily productive. you can argue that that threat
actually make compel iran to weaponize its program in the future. even i think sanctions, we don't entirely know if sanctions will have the effect of dissuading iraq from weaponizing. it could get to a point, if the regime feels that its in peril, it could see a nuclear weapons capability as a solution to its problems. so threats when it comes to iran i think have a very limited effect. iran is already under the inpregs that it face as military threat by the united states and israel. i think reiterating that constantly is not necessarily productive. >> last question. john, do you have a question? that was it. okay. so i have time for one more question right there, sir. >> sorry. >> thank you. from the regional governments representation, united states. my question is particularly directed at mr. nader, with
these sanctions and further squeeze on iran, what do you see iran doing in the region, particularly? and in iraq specifically to push back? do you see that iran taking it out on u.s. and u.s. not allowing such a thing to happen where you, where iraq become as battlefield and a proxy war happens? >> so your question is how would iran react to sanctions regionally? >> correct. >> iran is kraereacting to u.s. policies overall in the region not just specifically on sanctions but we have to look at the entire u.s. policy towards iran. iran is influential in iraq. it is hoping that the u.s. withdraws from afghanistan without maintaining permanent presence in afghanistan. iran is very much against any sort of status forces agreement between the united states and the afghan government and it's exerting a lot of pressure and influence in afghanistan,
including army, the taliban and very limited manner. so there are ways to exercise this power. reports suddenly that iran is also helping rebels in yemen, the rebels in the north and potentially al qaeda, and this is just not meant for the united states. it's also a signal to saudi arabia and countries like the uae that are supporting the u.s. sanctions regime against iran. and, again, looking at sanctions, drawbacks, weren't of the drawbacks, there you are things iran canhe region to counter when it is faceed by sanctions and a u.s. military attack. iran, despite the loss of influence, a very powerful actor in the region. the fact iran threatened to close the strait of hormuz is in itself an act of deterrence and retaliation. this is iran's way of saying that, if the united states hurts
iran's economy, iran can also hurt the u.s. economy. and, of course, it's not on the same scale. iran's economy is being hurt much more, but there are things iran can do to retaliate and that's why military option, it's not really a solution, because a potential conflict in the middle east with iran would be very messy, and could take years to come to an end, basically. >> do you want to add anything to that? >> i think particularly in the assad regime in syria goes down ir iraq and afghanistan will become major battlegrounds. iraq is not in a good state. nobody talks about it, but there are still bombs going off and so on and iraq is, and afghanistan to play because of their long borders. so i don't -- this is a reason
against the military option, and something that we should be aware of as we go forward. >> all right. very good. please join me in thanking our panelists on the first panel. president obama signs the stock act today. that's the bill to stop members of congress and their staff from insider trading using information they get on capitol hill. c-span2 will have live coverage of the bill signing at 11:55 eastern today. and at noon eastern on c-span, republican presidential candidate mitt romney speaks before the americans society of news editors conference. mr. romney won wisconsin, maryland and the district of columbia primaries last night. and all this week here on c-span3 we're featuring a look at president obama's 2013 budget request. this afternoon at 5:25 eastern, veterans department's secretary, both president obama and house republicans want an increase for that department.
and at 8:00 eastern, american history tv primetime and a look at who "time" magazine might pick for person of the year in 1862. amonk the historians who nominate for the most influence person on the national stage 150 years ago. this saturday at noon eastern on c-span2's book tv, join our live call-in program with distinguished former navy s.e.a.l. and author chris kyle as he talks about being a rodeo rider to a u.s. sniper. at 10:00 p.m. on afterwards. >> you think of yourself as a family and a team. she said when i get a raise at work he's so proud of me. it's like we got a raise. our family got a raise, but i really felt as though she redefined providing to include what her husband does and had a lot of respect for what her husband was doing. >> the richer sex author, on the
changing role of women as the bread winners of the family and how that impacts their lives. also this weekend, america the beautiful. director of pediatric neurosurgery at johns hopkins ben parson declares empires past with america and shares his thoughts on what should be done to avoid a similar fate. sunday, 3:00 p.m. book tv, every weekend on c-span2. this is c-span3 with politics and public affairs programming throughout the week, and every weekend, 48 hours of people and events telling the american story on "american history tv." get our schedules and see past programs on our websites, and you can join in the conversation on social media sites. and now, a number of former white house advisers discuss internal deliberations over middle east policy. former middle east policy adviser dennis ross says, former egyptian president hosni mubarak dismissed president obama's
warnings last year saying, protests in his country would be over in a few days. he's joined by elliott abrams and steve haslett hosted at georgetown university. thank you for joining us on a symposium on religious extremism, lessons from the arab spring sponsored by the religious freedom project of georgetown's berkeley center for religion, peace and world affairs. i am timothy shaw, and associate director of the religious freedom project and it is my pleasure and privilege to introduce the second of our three panels today. the panel we are calling our keynote on the policy implications and policy lessons that can be drawn from the connection between religious freedom and religious extremism. especially for those countries
of north africa and the middle east that have been affected by the arab spring. the idea that religious freedom may be an effective policy strategy for addressing religious extremism is not new. consider the policies that thomas moore designed for the island of utopia about 500 years ago. in utopia he writes, "there have been constant quarrels about religion and the various warring religious groups refused to with each other. but more continues, "if