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tv   U.S. Policy Toward Iran  CSPAN  July 17, 2018 12:16am-1:18am EDT

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on c-span2, the senate continues work on judicial and executive nomination scheduled for the week and on c-span three, federal reserve chair jerome powell testifies before the senate banking committee about monetary policy and the economy. that's live at 10:00 a.m. eastern. you can find all of its streaming online at and on the free c-span radio app. the national iranian american council hosted a discussion on u.s. policy toward iran. foreign-policy and nuclear security researchers spoke about options for the u.s. following its withdrawal from the iran nuclear agreement and sanctions. >> thank you for joining us.
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i am the vice president for policy of the national iranian council. i would like to thank senator markey as well as the rockefeller fund for sponsoring today's event. jcp away 2.0, iran, europe and the future of the run deal. we've got a great panel. we have kelsey davenport who is one of the top experts on the run deal, nuclear nonproliferation, she joins the association in 2011 as a junior piece fellow. she previously worked for jerusalem -based think tank researching security issues and she is a term member at the council on foreign relations. sitting next to me is john glaser at cato, his research interests includes grand
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strategy, u.s. foreign policy in the middle east, the rise of china and the role of status and prestige at international politics. they'll be joining us, he is the research director and formally served at the state department. to start the conversation off, i think for many iran watchers, we are looking at what the trump administration is doing, looking at the regional situation, and it seems like the cloud of confrontation may be gathering. shortly before the trump ministrations decision to withdraw from the run deal he appointed john bolton, someone who has openly and outspokenly advocated for military strikes on iran. he also nominated mike pompeo to be secretary of state.
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the ministration has withdrawn from the deal unannounced that the u.s. is going to impose sanctions not just on iran but also secondary sanctions on u.s. allies and other parties to the jcp away if they continue to uphold the terms of the agreement. those sanctions will come online in august. there's already some announcements from europe about how they plan to stand up against those sanctions, but how that plays out remains to be seen and i'm sure our experts will have some commentary on that. we also see the administration coordinating closely with u.s. regional partners who happen to be the chief rival in the region, the israelis and the saudi arabian government, and i think there's also this open question about is the trump administration policy toward iran regime change but we know
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that john bolton is a frequent speaker at events held by the mek which is a group that has been accused of terrorism which seeks to overturn the iranian government, most recently at the event in paris, rudy giuliani spoke before the group and repeated something john bolton had said which is that the next gathering would be held in tehran. despite this they say the regime change is not the policy, but with everything that's going on, we are trying to deduce what that policy is. secretary pompeo is speaking before a group of iranian americans on the topic of raising iranian voices. it's an open question what he's actually going to call for at that speech which is
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this weekend. to help us unpack this and talk a little bit about where they go from here, how does europe and russia and china respond to what the trump administration is doing regarding the sanctions, is there another strategy here at play. that's the conversation we will have. to kick it off, i'll start with john, but what is the trump ministrations that strategy on iran. >> i think it's more of a lack of a strategy than a strategy. some of things you mentioned about finding the voice of the iranian people and sort of economic warfare against iran, these are old tropes that officials can fall back on when they don't have the creative new strategy of their own. trumps opposition to iran and the run deal doesn't come from a rational assessment of the
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u.s. interest in the threats to our security. i think he has an intense hatred of the jcp away because it was a success of his predecessor, not because the details. i'm sure to this day he's never read it. he can explain to anyone in the room about what's actually in the deal. so it's a lot of ink incoherent. think about how these policies toward iran blend with what u.s. interest might be. is it in our interest to destabilize one of the most important countries in the region? is it in our interest to foment unrest which is the default policy of the ministration. is it in the trump administration interest to harshly impose sanctions on the iranian government while also claiming that their
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primary concern is the iranian people. sanctions will hurt the iranian people far more than it hurt the regime itself. associate the meeting with the mek and speaking on their behal behalf. this notion that they're actually concerned about democracy in iran is silly. it's based on nothing except a lack of policy at the top that has its origin. to follow up on that, is there, you got the president on one hand who you say and others say is motivated politically to unravel this deal because of his predecessor.
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what about the rest of the administration. is there any coherent policy that is being put together outside the purview of trump or is it just total incoherence? >> just one point of incoherence before handed off because there's kind of almost a perfect laboratory test going on to see whether or not trumps opposition to the jcp away is based on substance. he's gone to negotiate a directly face-to-face with kim jong-un and he's praised himself for those discussions, he says there's no longer a north korean threat, were working on this, they've made certain commitments the 2d nuclear and so on, but the criticism of the jcp away prior to this opening was that it only focused on nuclear weapons and not on human rights violations are not on the regimes policy.
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no part of the joint communicate that i could discern focuses on north korea's human rights abuses which are an order of magnitude worse than what iran does. same goes for its foreign policy in its region. there was no plan for that kind of aspect. it's only focusing on nukes which is what they did which goes against the rhetoric. this is a bunch of incoherence. >> what you think. >> great. >> first thank you for inviting me too be here with all of you. i know there's another meeting going on that might be of interest to some of you but this is a critically important issue. thank you all for coming. first, to get back to your question on strategy, i don't think there is a strategy toward iran, at least not a coherent one. i agree with what john said. one element i want to dive more deeply into because i do think there's some coherence around this point, they're
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using sanctions as the tool to get iran back to the negotiating table to achieve this mythical better deal and that's where the confusion and coherence come in for their framing sanctions as a strategy and it's not a strategy. at the tool that can be used as part of a broader strategy. just to unpack the question a little bit more, i think it's important to look back at how the obama administration used sanctions in the lead up to the negotiations. now, despite what iranian officials say, i do think sanctions played a role in pushing iran to negotiate on their nuclear program and they played a role because the united states but a great deal of effort into it sanctions the policy, meaning, it got states like russia and china on board with enforcing the sanctions that were not necessarily in the economic interest of those countries.
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the obama administration managed to persuade put not to sell certain armaments that were not even covered by u.s. security council resolution in the lead up to the jcp away. just an example of the very careful diplomacy that went into crafting and building that sanctions coalition, now you fast-forward 2018 and trump has essentially alienated key u.s. out allies. he's alienated partners in the jcp away and blatantly disregarded their security interests by withdrawing from the deal for no reason and re- imposing sanctions. the idea that the trump administration is going to get the same support to build any sort of pressure is regime is ludicrous. they talk about building the strongest sanction regime in history and that will put pressure on bringing them back to the table and result in a better deal. really this is not a
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strategy. i think we have harmed our ability. essentially what we've done is reimpose sanctions on europe while they're trying to support and sustain the deal is invite them to take steps to circumvent u.s. sanctions. what we have done is played into a deep-seated frustration in europe that u.s. secondary sanctions violate sovereignty and now that they've been reimposed in an area where the eu has expressly asked united states two for to refrain to implement the deal, i think further along, even when the u.s. does want to impose secondary sanctions that the eu might agree with, we could have trouble bringing along our european allies even when our goal of the same. really all we've done is imperil the deal and shoot ourselves in the foot when it comes to using sanctions down
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the road. >> i want to get back to the sanctions but i want to ask you, i think if we take it at face value, there has been, were going to bring them back to the table. i don't know how credible that is given how difficult it will be to reestablish those sanctions. what do you think of the administration strategy, whether it's the president strategy or elements within the administration, what do they want from iran? what is the goal here? >> they want capitulation. it's plain and simple. they want regime change. it's just regime change by different means then during the george bush administration. we should make no mistake about this. it's less than honest to assert anything other than their trying to collapse the
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iranian economy, trying to overthrow the iranian government, they don't care about the iranian people because sanctions disproportionately punish innocent iranians as opposed to the government itself. it creates a whole network of black markets but again this empower the private sector and empower the worst characters inside the country and this administration doesn't view geopolitics or foreign policy the same as any of its predecessor. it is the crudest, sharpest, but one test example. they view the world and it's very black-and-white. they divide things into good and evil and the definition for good is not how you treat your own people, is not democracy, human rights, society, freedom of press religion. if it was that we would be best friends with saudi arabia.
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perfect example. the metric for this is do you accept the fact that america and its closest partners in the region, israel, saudi arabia are going to set up rules of the game for how security is going to work it if you up except those rolls in the game and we let you treat your people how everyone. again, saudi arabia is a prime example, but if you don't accept the rules of the game than we do everything in our power to weaken, destabilize and overthrow. is there a policy or strategy? no. you don't take my word for it. beyond regime change, no, career u.s. government officials tell me there's no policy coherence produced no strategy. the throwing gel at the wall to see what was that. there's disagreements inside the administration about what the policy should be and how to go about it. it's dangerous on all the
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level levels. it's going to be incredibly difficult for any successor to the trump administration to put humpty dumpty back together. i'm deeply skeptical as to whether or not they can. we are back to this paradigm where instead of talking to iran were talking about iran and that paradigm produced no positive results but it was republicans or democrats. they're both guilty of doing this in the past for that paradigm produced no tangible benefit to american interest. just pick up on a couple points, what the trump administration is after is capitulation. the fact that iranians know
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this is the core reason why none of this is going to lead to some kind of deal. nobody wants to engage in negotiations their understanding of success is going to be full surrender on my side. diplomacy is about mutually agreed-upon concessions and compromise to reach some better and at the whole. part of what's wrong here is that trump sees the world, he's a machine for confirmation bias. when north korea came to the white house and said, or sent through their subgrant counterparts would like to meet face-to-face, this is an indication of the maximum pressure policy. they scare the north koreans so much and now he's all buddy buddy with them. that's actually not what occurred. there's other factors outside of that context that brought the north koreans to the
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table. they can set more equally across the table. the fact that they see that were out for capitulation is not going to mean successful diplomacy. when they see us make absurd comments like the administrations comments recently about iran regarding yemen, there actually claiming what no human who looks at this issue thanks which is that the humanitarian catastrophe in yemen is iran's fault. their shooting missiles over into saudi arabia. it's delusional. the people of yemen are suffering because saudi arabia has been relentlessly bombing in impoverished and defenseless country for years with u.s. help.
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it approaches deliberate starvation. this is our fault in the golf arab state fault. this kind of absurd politicking and throwing crazy accusations around is not pointedly to some kind of jcp oa 2.0 or future diplomacy along the line. that's a signal that trump isn't interested in negotiations. so for the u.s. options, i think there's a question, is an effective sanctions regime necessary for the united states pursue whatever this goal actually is. what is the mood among european officials, what is the mood, what is the reaction? i know was just reported that
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blocking mechanisms were approved to attempt to protect european companies from u.s. sanctions snapping back. what is the mood, how effective will european pushing back against this, how effective is the united states going to be in actually ramming these through and how will that be felt in iran. and when you hear from kelsey and rather on the impact inside of iran. >> you think the policy community here in washington has to be very careful not to underestimate just how upset the europeans, particularly the british, french and the germans are over the u.s. move to reimpose sanctions. one thing that i think became abundantly clear in the manner in which trump pulled out of the deal on may reimpose and all sanctions when there was no legitimate reason for him to impose sanctions, and
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express defiance of our partner security interest was that it did incentivize and build momentum in europe to take that were not really on the table for europeans prior to trump's actions. that includes that regulation that jamaal just mentioned that the phonic affairs council endorsed today. this is a very important step because essentially what it does is, within the european union regulation, it forbids companies from cooperating with u.s. secondary sanctions. it essentially provides a more secure channel for them to continue to do business with iran. europeans are also taking steps to try to change the mandate of the european investment bank. that could facilitate loan activity to facilitate loan transaction. the question is, the europeans have taken the steps and i think it sends a very important political message to iran that europe is willing to do this, but will it be
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enough? if you look at how the united states has perceived sanctions against iran in the past, it has been very heavy on the penalize asian phase, the united states has extracted high reputational cost for companies that have violated u.s. sanctions on iran and as a result that has created a culture of fear and threat that when companies are weighing their cost-benefit analysis of doing business with iran, even if they can legally and permissibly do so, companies may be steered away from those business opportunities because they're concerned about the emphasis that the u.s. has put on compliance and questions of reputational concern. even though the europeans are taking these steps, i don't think it's sufficient at this time to actually provide iran to access to some of the relief in order to sustain the agreement in the long term. i think the europeans are going to need to be more creative as well as the russians and the chinese to
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find some more secure banking channels so transactions can be facilitated in a way that does not touch the financial system because that's a real target for u.s. sanctions so the businesses that are willing to go into iran that can continue to do so. >> i couldn't have said it better. kelsey did a really good job of outlining a variety of important issues, and i don't want to build on that because here we have a situation, i spent the most two months in europe and to say that they are livid would be an understatement. to say they are be willard would be an understatement. to say that this isn't any way shape or form good for american interest, to trash and irreparably damage transatlantic relations that have been constructed since the end of world war ii, to say that anything less than a calamity would be foolish.
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the europeans are actively discussing things they never even thought they would have to consider, and once you construct something, once you build political and economic infrastructure outside of america's domain, outside of what america has built, controlled and forced for the past 70 years, you have zero incentive to destroy it, to deconstruct it when trump's successor comes along. this is not a situation with things are just going to go back to normal when his successor comes. it's not. the scary thing is, europeans don't know how to do this because, since the end of world war ii, no political official, mind you political has had to consider what's like pursuing and achieving european interests both as a continent and in their
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individual states outside of the construct of american hegemony. they literally don't know how to do it. they are figuring it out as we go. the response from the treasury department and the white house and the state department, you don't have to take my word for it, google it. it is we are going to punish you. how dare you try to do business with iran and keep this nuclear deal alive. yes we will punish your company's annual governments. we are actively destabilizing european governments right now. and cozying up to the moped most reprehensible leaders in europe, particularly the hungarian leadership. i just want to be crystal clear about how things stand in europe right now. if people sit there and tell you with a straight face that were on the same page with europeans and all is well, it couldn't be further from the truth. this is a disaster and unmitigated disaster of epic proportion. let's be crystal clear about
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that. in terms of what's going on inside iran, it's not good. it wasn't that prior to the trump administration and a real position of sanctions, even if they find ways to create workarounds that don't previously exist, the economic situation is that it continues to be bad, but the question is what's the goal? what's the metric or policy success that the u.s. has. if the goal is regime change, i find that to be highly unlikely. trump doesn't have magic powers that all of his predecessors didn't have in pursuit of regime change in iran which literally all of his predecessors have tried in some iteration. can they collapse the iranian economy? is it in china's interest and russians interest for the
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european interest for that economy to collapse? i would argue no. i think most people would argue no. you have a situation where mike pompeo will come out or trouble come out for bolton will come out and i'll say the people are sick of the regime. this is something that has been said every year since 1979. i would like to thank iranian people are smart enough to think two things simultaneously meaning yes our political, economic and social aspirations have been long on that our government however, we look at all the countries that surround us, at least were not that. at least were not iraq or syria or afghanistan, at least we're not these countries that the united states has directly or indirectly help destroy the political economic and social fabric of these countries. they just did a poll, the arab center, washington d.c. just a
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poll with a pulled the broader arab world about popular and unpopular governments. guess who was number one, unpopular? us. iran was number for, but us. we were number one. and often times with a well the iranian people are the most pro- american population and middle east. i would say slightly differently. i would say the least anti- american and neither that's changing because you can dislike your government by simultaneously not appreciating the united states of america trying to strangle you economically. iranians are capable of thinking both things. so what is that response? when we anticipate that response if sanctions go online in august and other companies continue to pull
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out. what to expect iran to do? so far they've remained in the jcp away. what to expect is the recourse? >> what was seen them over the past few months in response to trumps very provocative statements about pulling out of the deal and his decision to pull out of the deal is to announce additional steps on the nuclear program that do not violate the jcp away, but i think, given indication of how iran could advance its nuclear program if it no longer felt constrained by the deal. some of these we saw early on. iran expressing an interest in nuclear propulsion. iran can do preliminary research that's not a violation of the deal. we saw around the side to announce it was going to construct a new centrifuge facility. so long as they are not actually building the
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centrifuge, this is not a violation of the deal. we see these steps were i think iran is reminding the international community of how can we puppets program. there also have been a number of announcements from prominent members of the organization and the honey government about what they will do if the sanctions relief does not come through, if they're not satisfied with the european package, that includes steps such as returning to higher level of enrichment. under the deal iran is set to a very low level of enrichment at 3.67% and a favorable back up to 20%. that's still more of a concern. they talked about bringing more advanced centrifuges back online to enrich uranium. again, that would be a concern. i think if iran does decide to pull out of the deal in response to the u.s. violation, i don't think we'll see any quick -- to a nuclear
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weapon. i think what we might see is iran start to move again some of the edges of the agreement, we might see them disagree with certain interpretations, perhaps producing more heavy water than they should and may be taking steps toward ramping up its enrichment program. i want underscore what a difficult position the international community would be in if iran starts to take some of the steps on enrichment. you have to remember we needed to negotiate the steel to begin with because iran had violated its commitments and there was concern about the intent and motivation behind iranian nuclear program. the deal blocked the pathway to nuclear weapons but if we get back into that gray zone where there is questions about iran's nuclear intentions and we have no established international consensus on how
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to do it, the u.s. is alienated key allies and there's no support for sanctions. we would be in a very damaging place from the nonproliferation perspective when you have that question about iran's nuclear intentions hanging over the u.s. relationship, all the activities in the region and the broader non- proliferation regime at large. >> any other, anything else you would expect? >> well, that's the most plausible scenario. i think iran, under the worst circumstances if it really feel the pressure they will push up against some of the edges of the jcp away without making a mad -- for the bomb. i don't think they would do that. that sort of back away and simplify this for a moment. trump unilaterally withdrew from a successful and incredibly robust
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nonproliferation agreement with iran. if we expect the results to be something other than iran ramping up its proliferation capacity we would be very dumb. it's a successful deal and was in full compliance according to the p5 plus one, according to u.s. intelligence and leadership of the u.s. military in this country, most of trumps cabinet, this is why it took so long for him to back out of the deal. he had a fire high officials in order to get some measure of many consensus within his cabinet. the expert community, most of the international community all agreed they were complying. if we back out of the deal and punish them for complying with the deal that significantly rolls back the nuclear program, we should not expect continued compliance. i think right now they're kind
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of waiting to see what happens, waiting to see if they make any big moves, but unless something changes, unless a new route is taken or we have new leadership, you are going to continue to see a proliferation risk in iran because of what we did. >> let's open up to questions. i want to start with congressional staff. we have microphones going around. if you can raise your hand and give us your name and affiliation, any questions? >> can i make a point over waiting for questions, i think this is particularly critical point for staffers to hear what were talking about sanctions. this often has gone overlooked. given the purpose of the jcp away, re- imposing u.s.
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secondary sanctions may put us in a position where we are sanctioning the chinese and russian firms that are doing some of the modifications that would prevent iran from being able to produce weapons materials down the road. i just want to say that because if we sanction the company is modifying the reactor, chinese company that's doing the modifications in their unable to convert that, the unfinished reactor poses more of a proliferation threat. just thinking about how sanctions is applied, this isn't just about economic pain. there's actually nonproliferation consequences for how these measures are reimposed. >> and this is an open question right now as to whether or not the u.s. were actually sanction these entities and i think it's critical that at least we try to waive sanctions about these nonproliferation projects can go forward. >> my name is william. i am an intern in the office of congresswoman from new
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hampshire. this is a question for all three of you. assuming the administration were to write now drop its current policies and listen to your advice, what would be the optimal strategy from this day going forward on how to deal with the proliferation economic, social, political situation in iran and how do you think the administration policy will differ from what you see as the most optimal plan? >> can we put the trump toothpaste back in the two, so look, there's a couple, that's a great question for this couple things. let me try to unpack it as best i can. this is not just a trump administration problem. this is a republican party
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foreign policy establishment problem because this line of thinking, the way the trump administration sees the world really isn't that different than what the bush guys were doing. this is a republican party thing like that colin powell, old-school realist republicans, their dead. they are deep and significant minority in the republican foreign policy establishment. so, the policy that we see now probably wouldn't be that different if donald trump was never born and there is some different republican president. esters of personal disdain for anything that resembles barack obama, his name, nevermind and achievement and yes there's this affinity that borders on uncomfortable. for all intents and purposes,
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you can either do what the obama administration did and go down that path and if the dialogue and diplomacy doesn't bear fruit you can use other tools. you can throughout the window critical components and only emphasize one. all of the other things are stalling tactic to kick the can down the road and delay the road between war and diplomacy. the dirty little secret is that everything that happens before diplomacy, including war is for leverage to try to stack up as many bargaining chips as possible for me and inevitable day where you have to sit down and negotiate.
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>> i have a dramatically different aspect that if i were to utter it it would surely fall on deaf ears. we are way overextended in the middle east. we have somewhere between 30 and 40000, maybe approaching 50000 troops on the ground at all times. it's hard to calculate because some are in constant rotation. we constantly patrol the persian gulf with warships, the trump administration has doubled down on our traditional alliances, israel and saudi arabia which is another way of just saying were subordinating our interest to their perceived interest in the region. we need to stop meddling, stop pretending like we can pull the strings of this entire region and yield outcomes that are actually preferable. tomorrow, if i had my say we would come back into compliance with the jcp away,
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work on lifting sanctions in an effective way, making sure iran sees the benefits from the sacrifices they made and agreeing to long-term limitations, and we should step back in general and let the countries of the region take care of themselves as opposed to us being constantly involved in a way that is simply a recipe for endless violence. i can go on and on. >> undertake a simpler approach. the trump administration said tomorrow they were going to get back into compliance with the lawndale, who would believe them? given the statement that trump has made against the deal, given his animosity toward the country and the government, and given his long history of broken promises in the foreign policy space, i just don't
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think you would have business entities willing to trust that the trump administration was actually going to stay the course. so again, this agreement comes back to the fact that it was a transactional deal, and exchange to increase, strong proliferation standards, limits on nuclear material production in exchange for sanctions relief predator not feeling the sanctions relief because they don't trust that the u.s. would actually keep that in place then you're just not going to be able to sustain that. even before trump's announcement that he was going to violate, you're ready had countries cutting back their oil supplies. before even seeing what the eu package was, they were winding down contracts in iran. i've never tried to put toothpaste back in the tube but i don't think it's possible in this case. >> i'm an intern for the
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congressman from new jersey. i know that you slightly touched upon saudi arabia, but just to make sure what your thoughts are in this matter, how effective do you think the united states relationship with saudi arabia plays into the whole sanctions against iran. i know you have mentioned there's the specific things that president trump is doing that the previous ministration may not have been doing but if you like a lot of things from the travel ban focused on iran and syria, to the united states having deviously harsher approach towards iran but not saudi arabia who had violated a lot of human rights abuses, i just want to hear that you think that the united states, the current administration puts pressure on it ran but turns the other
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eye to saudi arabia and is currently making all these moves simply to do a better relationship with saudi arabia? or. [inaudible] >> thank you. >> it's a good question. let me be clear. it's actually in america's interest to have a functional working relationship with saudi arabia but what the trump administration is doing goes far beyond that. frankly, what all the predecessors to the trump administration have done has gone far beyond a functional working relationship with saudi arabia. saudi arabia is one of us powerful countries in the middle east thus it makes sense for the united states have a working relationship. the other regional power is iran. this is why every other global power whether it's the russians, chinese, europeans try to have a functional working relationship with both. if you have options that gives you leverage. the united states feeds all the leverage and has no option
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except to become overly reliant on a set of countries that repeatedly take steps that damage americans could interest. it just doesn't make sense. no one can look you in the eye and tell you any different and now we've reached an absurd level in u.s. saudi relations where we essentially become a mercenary for saudi arabia. they're telling us what to do rather than the other way around. is the superpower? it doesn't make sense. she can be critical of saudi arabia, and you should for writing reasons but still wanting to have a functional working relationship with them. : : :
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>> $50billion on investments as investment asa way of saving th. what if we end up in a situation where defeo and do not manage to uphold their end of the bargain when it comes to sanctions relief but instead of chin chind russia do? under those circumstances they would move even deeper into
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china and russia and what would that do in that region to any effort to put nonproliferation back on the agenda? because they were never as concerned about the nuclear program as the europeans and americans were. why would they need to scale back the program if the russians and chines the chinese don't cat it that much? how do you see the prospect of that scenario? >> that's a good question. the scenario that we could likely see, in part because if you look at china as one of the few countries that has the banking sector and finances to facilitate transactions in a way that doesn't touch the u.s. dollar system and the way that
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the financial sector has been set up actually has posed a huge proliferation problem at-large not just in iran and north korea and other places because of the way that it is insulated from the financial system and not from penalties. so there is a concern given the chinese and russian investment that we could end up in that scenario where they are more closely aligned with russia and china and as they pointed out, neither countries are studying the same proliferation standards for nonproliferation at the u.s. house. so essentially they are ceding leadership on this issue, nuclear nonproliferation to the chinese and russian. and i just want to complicate that a little bit of adding to the fact the united states is also now negotiating a nuclear
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cooperation agreement with saudi arabia. i bring this up because they have the prerogative to reveal these agreements and it's something they need to pay attention to because if you look at saudi arabia, they have safeguards with the agency and they do not abide by that measure is known as the additional protocol which iran implements under the deal and saudi arabia is negotiating to try to allow enrichment and reprocessing in the country. so we could end up in a scenario where they are pushed into the arms of russia and china and we have enabled them to try to match the nuclear capability. and again while i don't think we are going to see a sprint by either country, the proliferation of the capabilities in the middle east
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can be deeply destabilizing because it could spur competition and it raises the risk of proliferation to other countries and the question that we might see states try to grow up and match those capabilities. so again, for the members of the congressional staff here, closely watching that agreements to ensure that it doesn't allow saudi arabia reprocessing and ensuring that the standards are high, that's going to be critical for stemming any further proliferation concerns in the region. >> i would agree with the substance, but she said something about if iran were told towards russia and china and this scenario plays out because the european incompetence, ceding leadership of the region faster rubs me the wrong way because the u.s. leadership in the region has been one of the fundamental
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problems were attention to this has been one of the fundamental problems. but the united states is incredibly safe. we are a remarkably safe country despite the inflation that occupies the city to such an extent. one of the things we have trouble doing is the prospect theory which says giving up what you have hurts more than the future gain. and we have under conditions where we are the only big name in town we have way overinvested in the region whose strategic importance is exaggerated for decades. if it is the case that this tilt towards the firearm towards russia and china happens, i think it's going to create a region that is going to be an arena for the proxy war. it's only the best site on the e
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sure whatever gains are on the russia and china side o cited te region push back against. and that is a recipe for a decades long kind of cold war with the u.s. and russia and china with the middle east, one of the unstable regions in the world. we don't want to get pulled into that mess. it's far better especially in the matters that are not as important as the security. to cooperate with russia and china and iran and the europeans. the threats in the region are vastly miniscule compared to what they are talked about. to take the arms length approach to the region an and in this lis the value of diplomacy and deemphasize to the region. >> i'm certainly not going to take him out on the region but i will push back and say my point is about the u.s. nonproliferation leadership in the region.
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in the broadsword of nuclear regime. >> during the bush administration, it was a huge mistake. and when now at this point israel is an arms control question -- >> we've always been hypocritical on this point. >> i would absolutely agree. but when it comes to setting up the standards and guidelines, here i think the u.s. has played a much more critical role than countries like china when we pushed for not only the additional protocol but the more intrusive and better regulated sort of state-level contest. and looking beyond for nonproliferation at the security and safety, we have a part of countries in the region that are looking to expand their civil power programs.
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iran because the situation around the deal is going to be looking to russia and china to expand its nuclear power reactors. we trust the nuclear security and nuclear safety? i certainly don't. china has taken some steps, but they are far behind the united states and other european countries in terms of studying the standards. and actually getting iran to the place where it could be good abide by guidelines and treaties on nuclear security. that's something the nuclear deal could have and should have facilitated come if we have actually implemented it. so, here i would say that in negotiating the nuclear deal with iran in trying to ensure that the future of iranprogram not strong international guidelines, i think the united states played an important role
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in the deal and the loss of leadership could be a deficit going forward. >> said, we need to wrap up so i'm going to ask one last question. what is a viable best case scenario for the rest of 2018, and what is the worst-case scenario? >> the best case is that we make it through 2018 without starting a war with it kept alive to some functional degree, together with india, japan, other countries in the party to the agreement, but very much see it in their interest to remain alive, that is the best case scenario. the worst-case scenario is that the europeans are unable or unwilling to step up to the plate to keep the deal alive. the diocese of death and air on -- by the way, i agree with the
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approach that you outlined the trump administration will try to frame that as dashing towards the bomb, although it will be a factually inaccurate statement although that is nothing new to the administration. then we will see a push for the war. we already are, folks. i think we already are and we should be crystal clear about that. if you are not on the diplomatic track you are on the only other tracks such as confrontational. they feel like the second term bush administration ruined what they were doing in the region and their good efforts in iraq and afghanistan and they saw them as the big prize and now they are going for it so this is an extremely dangerous time and extremely dangerous group of people that have no idea what they are doing a.
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>> i would agree that the worst-case scenario is particularly the influence coming in convincing the administration that the policy hasn't worked and that preventative war is the only outcome, the last available to actually ensure that iran cannot pursue nuclear weapons. wthe owner there is no military solution that is a worst-case scenario that is not unrealistic. in terms of kind of the best case scenario, a lot of what iran may decide to do and how this may play out is going to come down to oil sales. looking at where the economic sectors have rebounded since the gc poa is implemented, elizabeth comes down to having to dramatically ramp up oil sales and if it is possible for iran to continue to sell oil to the europeans and chinese and india and possibly south korea and japan, i think that might
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provide enough economic incentive for the agreement to kind of went through and for iran to at least claim enough benefits that it stays in the boundaries of the deal. we will see some actions on this space that don't violate the deal. we might see a lot of centrifuge production facilities being created, more naval research for instance. but perhaps stopping short of an actual violation and i think that would be the best case scenario. >> just quickly because i cannot help myself, u.s. leadership on this issue also was with iraq and that massively incentivized them to gain the leadership taking up the qaddafi regime and massively incentivized countries for decades on the korean peninsula as a major reason why north korea decided i have to
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get nuclear weapons in order to protect myself. it banned in u.s. leadership is the best scenario. the best scenario is something like europeans getting the gumption and the procession to set up regulations that will push back against secondary sanctions and let us not forget it's not just europe trump is trying to wrangle. south korea get an enormous share of its oil in parts from iran, something like 30%. japan as well. if these countries decide it's better to pursue a our own economic security interests separate from the united states which is acting irrationally, therefore sustaining some salvageable components of the tarrifs, that is the best scenario. >> thank you all. please join me in getting a
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round of applause to the panelists. [applause] thanks to the sponsors and all of you for coming.
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i met putin n91. >> was he the deputy mayor? >> yes. i was running my business consulting firm and i had a client that wanted something to do with the board of st. petersburg. and i have a meeting with the
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mayor. he was called away and so they substituted the deputy mayor, putin, and i was annoyed because i wasn't meeting with the mayor. i knew he had been the kgb and i was sort of negative about it. he came in and was equally negative. he didn't want to meet some american woman who claimed to run a business. i think that he was very suspicious of women. he had no gallantry. he had the coldest eyes i've ever seen. very big blue cold eyes. and all i could think was i wonder what would happen if he were interrogating me. >> asked by senator susan collins chairs the senate


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