tv U.S. Withdrawal from Iran Nuclear Deal CSPAN July 23, 2018 11:53pm-1:58am EDT
>> next year from scholars that the impact of a u.s. withdrawal from the iran nuclear deal. the panel hosted by the middle east policy council runs about two hours. >> good morning, everyone. i'm the president and chairman of the par board of the middle t policy council. i am pleased to welcome you on behalf of the council to our 93rd quarterly capitol hill conference. today we will address the issue of policy options towards iran following the u.s. withdrawal from the iran nuclear deal.
as many of you are aware in january of this year we conducted a similar session focusing on iranian advances in the arab world. let me mention up front or focus today will be different. we've asked ouwe have asked ouro look at how, realistically, the trump administration and our partners in the region can address those actions of iran which they object to. this discussion was planted by the secretary's 12-point speech in may in which he listed 12 actions which the trump administration is calling on iran to take. today we are fortunate to have a truly expert panel to discuss if and how it might be possible to get iran to take such actions. however, before i turn to this program, i would like to say a few words about the middle east
policy council. the council was establishe counn 1981 for the purpose of promoting dialogue and education concerning the u.s. and the countries of the middle east. we have three flagship programs, the quarterly capitol hill conference is such as today's events and our quarterly journal middle east policy copies of which are useful on the table outside which has 11,000 subscribers found in libraries throughout the region and throughout the u.s. commander educational outreach program can teach middle east which provides educational resources for middle east geared towards secondary school teachers and students. i would encourage you to visit their website, any pc.org or the teach middle east website at teach nospaceco middle east.org to find out more about the program. now to today's event, this
program is being carried live on c-span both live stream on the website and so i am pleased to also welcome all of those who've joined us either through c-span or online. the conference proceedings will be posted in video and transcript form on the website and a recap of the event will be posted there as well and an edited transcript will be published in the next issue of the journal middle east policy. now let me briefly introduced the panelists. we will begin the discussion with david albright, the founder and president of the washington, d.c.-based institute for science and international security. david will be followed by karen young ac resident scholar at the arab institute of washington and adjunct faculty member at george washington university and the johns hopkins school of advanced
international. next will be michael eisenstadt who is the fellow and director of the military and security studies program at the washington institute for near east policy and the fourth panelist with the mormon who -- norman rule at the agency who also served as national intelligence manager for iran in the office of the director of national intelligence and is a senior adviser to the counter extremism project and united against nuclear iran. each panelist will deliver a brief opening remarks and there will then be a discussion session following the presentation by the panelist. the discussion will be motivated by my colleague doctor tom executive director of the middle east policy council. note that we have placed index cards on all the seats. please, use these to write down
any questions you have as the speakers are speaking and then hold up the cards. our staff will collect these during the presentation and give them to him to consolidate the question for the discussion session. thank you for helping us with that. but he turned the panel over, turn the podium over to david. >> than >> thank you very much, richard, very happy to be here. i must confess the last three weeks i've been crashing to finish a book on the taiwan former nuclear weapons program and i can't help but contrast that with iran. this incredibly difficult intensive struggle the united states waged quietly behind the scenes to make sure taiwan
nuclear weapons in the 70s and 80s and we had tremendous leverage they were totally dependent on us for the nuclear energy and military supplies. and i can't help but firs firstw the comparison this is all about iran wanting to build nuclear weapons, despite comments from iran i remain convinced that this is what this is about. and i think the trump administration recognized the gc poa can or the nuclear deal, needed to be fixed in order to make the future most likely while there were many strong aspects of the deal, on balance it was working to accomplish what they set out to do, but there were problems that reflect how difficult this issue really
>> that grows in size over time. they could not agree on the modalities of that what that means one of the context of negotiations or eight years from now it increases the centrifuge program so that automatic net back of all stations in the european said we want to do something else but they were pretty close to a solution. another one which had grant agreement another weakness did not resolve past questions about nuclear weapon work.
anybody who studies history that present depends on the past. i ran had a robust effort to build nuclear weapons. it hit it lied about it the deal did not ensure that that issue would be addressed before it was implemented and in a one --dash for those of us who work in inspections was thrown under the bus and put in a position that if you demand i ran settled these past questions the deal will go down and the international atomic agency is not a strong agency can confront if needed but has to have support of countries like the united states and european countries. so this issue was not settled. in the negotiations within days the new arrangement in
particular to get to the military site which i ran has allowed them to visit and most of the secret nuclear activities took place at military sites or at contractors part of the industry so getting there was critical to understand the nuclear weapons program make sure we have some assuming -- assurances also section t was not implemented that has to do at its heart that if there is equipment you need to use to develop nuclear weapons that is fine for iran to use non- nuclear weapons purposes and experiments, but it has to be declared and monitored and subject to approval of the executive body of the joint commission. that was not implemented at
all and clearly there was equipment covered by this. that was agreed also that the icbm is part of the deal you cannot segregate that. what do you put on that? other than a nuclear weapon? so the united states agreed the development would be a trigger so how you deploy those sanctions was not mapped out. so in my view it was a tragedy not to finish this negotiation or fix the deal. but it is what it is and president trump and his advisers decided it was more important to confront iran now and reapply those sanctions rather than have a fix that
pushes the problem off. i will admit that. the strategy of this fix was that essentially you could enforce it and then put down the marker and then do nothing for six or eight years and just a in place and then to get the message as a future point with your enrichment program all hell will break loose then that would trigger them to negotiate or not do it. so the administration decided or president trump decided they want the confrontation now in reimposed all the sanctions are now we are faced with what will iran do? one of the interesting developments is the united states decided not to bring down the deal. i don't have time to talk about this but i'm sure you all saw this it was covered
again in the new york times and washington post and wall street journal very dramatic evidence of their past weapons program to keep it together potentially to use in a breakout. , i apologize i lost my place. i am been very preoccupied. >> simi valley just switch to policy recommendations. i apologize for losing my place. if i ran will live by the deal or not is unsettled and maybe that's a place i wanted to go. in some ways the administration once the cake
and eats it to but they really put -- imposes engines that will hurt i ran no doubt but they put iran in the position that if you violate these then the eu will reimposed sanctions and they told him that in a joint commission as others announced if you violate those limitations you will face the eu snapback and then there will also be snapback of un sanctions. so iran is in a bind of what do they do? and most estimates of people that i work with they will not increase or violate these but able make all kinds of noises to talk about this and that but they haven't made up their mind and wait to see how that goes for sanctions the trump administration thinks that
leads to a negotiation that will create a deal that is more favorable. and one of the things secretary of state pompeo put on the table was that when this nonparticipation announcement happened now they want zero enrichment in iran so they move that goalpost and there is an argument for that. if you look at iran's enrichment program there is no need for it. they will never have enrichment program that will produce well enriched uranium for reactors that is cheaper than what they could buy on the international market. that is what they are doing now with the reactor night is their plan to buy the fuel. so when the e3 and the united states agreed any increase has no credible civil
justification they mean that. but trump has gone farther to say just get rid of it. that strengthens the hand in the negotiations with saudi arabia on the 123 agreement and puts north korea on notice there is no iranian exemption on in richmond and north korea. north korea would want the same thing. whether iran can get that is an open question and one of the issues that i certainly spent a lot of time in europe that you maximize the pressure. i ran will resist violating those limits. but at some point it may decide to do it. because it will say if we increase the nuclear efforts we will have better leverage to negotiate with the united states. but will trump really
negotiate in the end? that is what they say but is that what this is about? there is a little bit of a train wreck coming. we don't know when and hopefully it is put off and i ran makes the decision not to increase the sanctions on itself and will try to keep building that anti- u.s. mindset in europe which is not hard to do right now or to weaken the united states position. but at some point, they have their own pressures and they may not be willing to live with those sanctions and with no nuclear increase. however my on-time? let me just and that whatever happens with the future of the
nuclear deal whatever iran decides, inspections continue. they signed a nonproliferation treaty a comprehensive safeguards agreement, it has the additional protocol that essentially gives the inspectors more tools more prearranged inspections to be delivered by iran and fundamentally it gives the tee5 anywhere to go necessary that iaea needs to get to the bottom of the pass program with nuclear weapons i know that. if you don't get to the program and make sure that it is halted you will never stop them from building nuclear weapons. going after the fissile material was critical that is much more measurable but if
they keep together teams in the military to build nuclear weapons, a good chance those teams eventually will build nuclear weapons and the easiest non- military tool that we have now one of the old one -- one of the only nonmilitary tools is through robust and vigorous confrontational iaea inspections with iran over this issue. and that e3 is more than willing to do this. so i will end it there. thank you. >> i agree there are a lot of agreements happening these days. thank you for the invitation
to speak today with such distinguished colleagues, the title of the event seeks to seek options to the trump administration after the withdrawal of the t9 but what are the other options for the jcp oa and the neighbors of the current political relations? the trump decision to withdraw has put iran on march as it was intended to do but also it increases likelihood of the conflict between iran and has exacerbated tensions within the immediate goal. most evident are increasing strains weakening economic cooperation and integration to make iran assets for food security and a coguardian of the precious assets in the northfield and iran and kuwait are in difficult -- difficult
positions and saudi arabia are pushing for a confrontation. so the increase of financial sanctions that the way to create leverage in the oil markets. and without any escalation u.s. needs corporation oil markets which places major oil producers in the gulf and also russia and an interesting position because u.s. policy on iran it is now cornered and isolated and the economy will surely suffer in ways we have seen under previous regimes evidence of recent experience from 2012 through 2015 but 15 but this time it's different in that america's will also punish the allies in europe and further exacerbate tensions and give china and arguably russia or turkey more
power with the financial institutions. key sanctions to be imposed in august will perpetrate construction materials and aluminum and steel and u.s. dollars of the central bank and to see a number of exits from asian and american european firms the oil and gas sector with shipping on november 4 by foreign financial institutions with the bank of iran but not just iran will suffer transatlantic and to work to the advantage of energy products of the beneficiaries of u.s. security umbrella. saudi arabia and the uae will likely encourage financial
pressure on iran and are willing to accept greater risk of confrontation between u.s. and iranian actors for pursuing transatlantic waterways. while jcpoa is no panacea we have very little regard to what the collapse of iran with 80 million people many young and already agitated could do to the region. the european union emerges as less able to intervene as we have seen withdrawal of private firms and in the short term they can maintain with the pressure in this happens to be an adversary of china the number one customer is also 81 -- saudi arabia china has been gradually increasing share of exports in 2011 where it has held 20% of exports now 40% and china imports 700,000 barrels of oil per day
iran produces just over 3 million as a bystander with 550,000 barrels per day but there are some efforts to provide a lifeline to iran with some proposals involving the european investment bank that this is not sufficient to the time that iran requires to build infrastructure or that political commitment of the financial institutions from european investment banks to allocate programs and that the open liberal economies have their limits. even if the eu is able to create a lifeline for iran credit or targeted investment or a third way to members facilitate pick payments in the central banks this is
risky. it's not going to be easy because u.s. will likely put sanctions on other members of the central bank as they have done and the eu i think would fight for the demand of transparency but again it's not likely to be a popular moment for these measures. but do they really need to trade with iran? at risk of losing a major market share they're not a major trading partner for eu they had 10 billion euros last year which is .1% of the gdp. in the case of russia the position of sanctions on iran is definitely more complex. so under the terms of the
jcpoa is a major competitor to supply gas to europe and then after mass meant gas production that is a reality but the eu will continue to pursue alternative strategies including renewable energy or nuclear power plants and trying to reduce the dependency on russia. russia then becomes front of me in this respect they are playing interesting game and in particular with foreign direct investment and oil and gas sector with the announcement of a $50 billion commitment is more likely to be about $5 billion in in the near term that allows russia to be a stakeholder and with the global market it is like walking by a business sale to
buy it just because you thank you may need in the future. in the short term there are clear winners and losers in the sanctions and i think america first posture includes a very clear protection of chinese economic protection in the region that although not on purpose but a case in point is the gas field a new development there because they withdrew it gave us 70% ownership to china petroleum corporation. this was clearly the unintended consequence china not has been a consistent investor in iran even to the sanction regime china was a major investor of infrastructure between 2005 and 2015 and ramp to begin in 2016 the export import bank has as many transport projects from the subway system in railways and roads and has
also taken advantage of iranian oil and of u.s. financial institutions to create new financial products preemptively before the withdrawal of the deal including a new futures contract ability on the shanghai energy exchange started before u.s. withdrawal. so for the goal states that economic outlook and his repercussions are missed but you see an increase of trade with iran late 2016 and 2017 according to the imf data it increase between two and $7 billion but also lowered from 100 to $200 million so now i believe it is very mixed the political risk premium has raised considerably and that reflects the anxiety with the
short-term balances for the exporters that that media turnout is less clear for the euro to define the gdp but for the exporters they are moving into surplus this year to weaken the political momentum for economic reform but i don't think it is the rising revenue that increases the risk of confrontation between saudi arabia i think the displacement of oil markets is one area of economic cooperation between saudi and the u.s. not just iran that affects oil markets like venezuela and libya. the other political risk factor is transit points to be well aware of but it is important and to argue there were iranian supporters in
yemen and then 11% 2c 18% globally in and 15% of global wheat and 32% of global fertilizer so the crisis affects more than oil and will create a food crisis. inside iran we should be bracing for an economic collapse more severe than the recession after 2012 when gdp per capita fell sharply. like its neighbors across the golf it has a serious unemployment problem especially among young people and will struggle with the current seed evaluation and the savings of the middle class it also reflects weaknesses of other regional economies unemployment is about 30% in iran but 44.5% in saudi arabia the unemployed young people demonstrate the
many structural that motivated the 2011 arab uprising remain unresolved in the region. agitation is certain to pick the scabs and the present invading iran will have consequences and these are likely to be very destabilizing. thank you. >> do any of you have questions? staff, please collect these questions and bring them to me. >> i would like to start by thanking the ambassador and the policy counsel for the invitation to speak as well as organizing this event and the opportunity to be on this panel with works i have learned a great deal from over the years.
i will start with a few comments about my take on the administration strategy toward iran by my count we have had two authoritative policy statements thus far on strategy first either president in october where he bowled out the strategy to stabilize regional activities and with those serious laws of the jcpoa at the time with a specific steps with the various part of the strategy to prioritize and to be fair that doesn't go into that much detail with most documents but the secretary of state statement in may of this year put some flesh on the bone but i would argue still that the strategy is a work in progress
and i would argue may be the unbalanced strategy based entirely on sanctions. also i would argue we need a more comprehensive approach and strategy which more effectively utilizes the instruments of national power. i would also say to a certain extent some of the major decisions made thus far have been made as a campaign promise to withdraw from the jcpoa. politics and strategy will always be defined and that is just a fact of life but timing is everything. i have no inherent objection to the idea of jcpoa but i quibble with the timing of this decision and i guess it comes down to if you think it would be better to have a
crisis if iran remains compliant ten years from now if it decided of the policies have not changed and starts the nuclear program again or now? but again it is what it is so we are where we are and we have to find the best way to forward with regard to where we are but i would argue it would be desirable to have a bigger process and the risks involved with maximum pressure which we have adopted. and for those to be more explicit. but it seems there is a need for plan b with more hedging measures in case the strategy as i understand it does not work as intended.
so if maximum pressure is not sufficient to renegotiate if that contributes to the existing unrest but to keep a lid on things then what? then it stays in the jcpoa but that is not the administration's goals i'm not sure how they will handle it at that point even with those limits and with them snapping back, then what do we do? is the only option military? it isn't clear at this point that it is but i think we saw in 2012 they don't do it alone if they have to do it so in
that strategy so we need to have non- military backstop with that current strategy we are pursuing in one of the things we could consider is political warfare or policy destabilization to foment domestically and that is for pressure and not regime change. i am skeptical of our ability of regime change but we could focus on pressure points to incentivize the regime to come to the table but i am skeptical of all of this and i'm not sure this has been thought out myself i am still working on my own thoughts how
this could be accomplished. also in response to american nuclear pressure, iran might have pushback in the region of syria or afghanistan or iraq where they really have not been attacking american personnel since 2011. . . . . it is the area that it is probably the most aware too that most effectively.
at least we deny the regime access to the most fertile land in the country and resources industry combined with pressure then maybe that will cause enforce the iranians and others to further increase their financial assistance to the regime and therefore by increasing its enrichment capabilities. to go up to the limited as
possible but it will go past off the pressure becomes sufficiently onerous. we've also seen in the past that they accept freezes when the pressure gets large enough to work itself out and go up to the limit if not exceed the limits. in the past we have seen it brought in and respond in times of and response to the united states and israel and in response to sanctions on the petroleum sector they respond with attacks on american banks and financial institutions.
for the militiamen including some russian mercenaries i think has gone part of the way to kind of giving them pause in terms of how it deals with the united states and causes them to back off although in response that has intensified the pressure on our allies in israel and saudi arabia and from their point of view they thought that was maybe safer but there's still pressure even after the strikes. so there's work to be done in enhancing our credibility with regards to the credibility that he spent dealing with iran and
the backstop to the diplomacy. >> next is the need to strike the right balance in the way that we ease our pressure on the islamic republic. on the one hand, we need to use sufficient pressure to to bring back the negotiating table which again i'm kind of skeptical about the possibility of that and in fact it isn't clear how they will work out and how effective the sanctions will be a buddy to get them back to the negotiating table without prompting the action that we are ill prepared to deal with in a broader conflict so i don't know if there is a policy speech spot to be hit if you want something
less than maximum and i would argue there would be desirable from the point of the american policy not to completely eliminate billing not sure we have the ability to do that simply because they said if we can't explore oil off the golf nobody will and that is the destabilizing act of the goals. likewise in the regime change that and think there should be an element of the policy of there are people in the administration that would like to make it as such.
it causes us probably military escalation. so my final point is the policy might work. i'm skeptical that we ar but wef entering into this new year so it might work. but there's always unintended consequences and we need a plan b. in case it doesn't. it's not clear that they all should be put forward. thank you and i look forward to hearing. >> are there any more questions that you can bring? thank you and good morning. i would like to thank my colleagues in the policy counsel
for holding this distinguished panel of experts today to discuss a very complicated issue. but i would also like to thank those of you in the audience is left with i know are very busy schedules to attend this, and to the c-span audience. this is a complicated issue and it requires an informed citizenry and policy dynamic. and finally to put the plug-in for those that are not members of the middle east policy organization to get the magnificent journal please sign up and get the journal. i would like to take my comment in a different direction today as we look at the dealing and ramifications of the withdraw. they will see their response to this action under an umbrella of activity and i would also like to begin by offering two concepts that i ask the observers of the issue to keep
in mind unlike any other foreign policy problem, the threat posed by iran is simultaneously strategic, urgent and evil. if you're a policymaker you can't get out of that concept. it is strategic because it touches the persian gulf, legal crisis, there is terrorism became conducted. it is urgent because the missile from yemen that might start to get the strike productions. productions. second, i, an effective policy r this country it requires bipartisan support. one of my few comments i've offered on policies. it also requires multilateral pressure. we need our european partners and our arab partners to stand
before us in this multilateral support of the leadership that will likely believe any pressures will be incomplete and thus endurable. regarding the overall nature of the adoption they've grown from a largely localized threat in 2011 to a significant threat with capabilities deployed pressures of the vaulted to the nationato afinancial interest ie partners typically proxies the capacity to preserve pressure on the street and the red sea economic borders but it's so eloquently described as a powerful potential to disrupt the trade and impact the economy is not just those states in egypt but also particularly southern europe. we have daily press reports that show that iran recruits varying
degrees of direct transnational militancy capable of fighting against different opponents on disconnected battle spaces simultaneously. this is significant and unprecedented in the region. is a mor a more sophisticated missile and architecture to threaten israel with a. they've gone on facebook and publicly show how these attempted influences of political future of iran.
they are capable of carrying the warhead to take the side of the technology but it's also unprecedented that they've provided the missile technology to hezbollah changing dramatically the capacity to winning the adversaries, their targets may come up with an attack or counterpunch which could again take the region into dramatic areas. the.
finally iran has continued to build the cyber capabilities. it's one of the top threats in the united states. the absence of the international response for these actions in my view is contributed but it can be conducted with the international community to bring little cost and for those that are looking at how to reconstitute or reenergized the nuclear deal process this needs to be kept in mind to continue
to undertake these actions and risks that they will miscalculate and thus could spark a broad conventional conflict. it is compelled to destroy the critical element of its plutonium reactor effectively destroying the reactor and also introduced a level of international scrutiny and elements that i state states the
intended to be permanent. to see thait's to see that it'sn government's mismanagement and not international sanctions that lay behind the erosion standar standards. in light of the behavior in the areas it isn't unreasonable to say if you can't trust them anywhere else how can you trust them here. the papers in the cd-roms are not a weaponization program but it does show that it's kept open the option to restart the weaponization and therefore it certainly is reasonable to insist any appeal provisions be for apartheid and end looked at
possible military dimensions and asking them to reveal that. the deal would almost certainly all upon most if not all of the major provisions of its oversight architecture in large part to. there is a hard-working policy stuff. but in the wake of this deal we have to think how is iran going to react to post her defiance and victimization. they will claim their expansion because of iran as a master of an relish an -- embellishment to the facilities. likely embellishing some of that but they would likely stay within the bounds. it's in part to demonstrate
their willingness to be part of the deal and also demonstrate the effectiveness of pressure to the. they also understand the political and economic stability depend upon the sanctions relief provided by the deal despite the statements that they would like an immediate pull out of the deal, they are unlikely to make such a decision until they believe that the deal no longer provides the economic benefits that are so important to staying in the political stability of the regime. there's little reason to believe however that the leadership will negotiate in the foreseeable
future it's not just the distrust of the high or the pressure isn't perceived as unilateral if they are going through a transition period and this is the time for anyone to stand up and say i think we should make concessions to the weswest andwest and the deal wie americans. in en the end of the decision-making on the deal will depend on how the leaders perceived around the mess it stability therefore it isn't unreasonable to believe that it will take several years of multilateral sanctions and diplomatic pressures as well as in my view the supreme leader of where iran returns to the negotiating table. for the near-ter near term theye unlikely to establish the weaponization or nuclear sites in light of the recent israeli seizure of iran's nuclear weapons archives and intelligence to the extraordinary proportions. the leadership you might imagine is thinking can anthis thinkingf
the nuclear program be kept secret from the west if we undertake these activities help long before they appear at a press conference for the un? and compromise any such weaponization efforts the and ty know it not only compromise the diplomatic program that would risk a military option by the west. regarding the behavior it's certainly an overstatement to say that iran controls lebanon, syria and lebanon but its activities exacerbated the instability in the countries and extended the conflicts and the proxies that they have created to seek to dominate the security and policy institutions in the capital that are changing the dna in the region that is also inexcusable. the goal remains to be a dominant if not the dominant player while reducing influence of the united states and iran has exploited the turmoil to
sustain the new allies to establish itself as the protector of the population, something i think we should be stepping in on as the policy moves he should stand up for the middle east not just iran as well as to bleed our partners in saudi arabia and the conflict and obviously to confront israel's enemies. regarding the reports of the engagement with moscow that russia will convince them to leave the area i am skeptical. they are unlikely to reduce pressure in the presence from multiple strategic reasons and that there is no evidence i'm aware that russia had the influence or the political will to propel them to change one of the strategic locations in the middle east. what's also important is the openness by which they undertake the obligations. they insist they have the right to undertake these interventions. a powerful statement for its
view in which it has no influence in modern history. the new determination is likely driven in part by the incentive financial and personnel investments in the conflict. iran's revolutionary guard leaders were expressing pride in the service of the personnel and the head of the forces splashed over the internet and a worrying development they've now adopted an expeditionary profile and we should consider how these operations for the iranian personnel and of the militia will change their own perspective and impact their long-term evolution. the operations enabled about the disruption of the change but this would come with some policy consequences. looking forward as the forces were looking at the ongoing events it's much easier to
empower the military groups than to solve the economic and political challenges in the territories. iran has a lot of headaches coming for its personnel. you see that the population isn't increasingly unhappy with the expenditure of the forces outside of iran that they themselves only know about these through what information leaks into iraq and it would be helpful if they could push moree data into show the iranian people of these conflicts are costing them. the domestic and political foundations continued to erode as the result of distinction and this is also compounded by decades of mismanagement, political insight which is making decision-making difficult and environmental problems which have a very real impact and unprecedented corruption in the crumbling infrastructure. protests have been fairly common over the years if he were to geo look at this chart and it is a
protest which culture but they are now magnified by social media and represent a drumbeat of genuine despair. but the unrest also remains a leaderless and the protests are disconnected and challenged by local economic complaints. security forces appear to be cohesive and the harsh sentences given outrageously for women dancing and refusing to wear the head job to be -- he job to make a -- the obama administration to leaders to communicate is that impending tension touched risk the stability. the flight for the banks and oil firms are unpredictably and i've never understood the pundits who said that this wouldn't happen or might be open to issue. companies go to protect their shareholders, and that's fit.
the process appears unstoppable in the efforts to develop alternative financial mechanisms outside of the reach to likely have little impact on the trend. the experts have declined and the limited influence highlighted in the recent conference they have few options to restore confidence in its currency and we are now watching unemployment rise, inflation start to creep up. in addition to its diplomatic activities fo, the primary focun the coming month is will be to import as much hard currency as possible, certain commodities they need to sustain the illusion of self-reliance and prevent further domestic turbulence. it will seek to retain the contracts and establis have estw commercial relations with china and russia. although these will not be effective in overcoming the fundamental pain of the sanctions come iran's
development of relationships of small and medium commercial partners with no exposure to the u.s. financial system, and there are not many of those will offer propaganda opportunities and modest sanctions. in the medium term, the leaders have reason for concern. the revolution has aged badly and a few maintain the fiction that the failure to achieve the fundamental social roles is due to the u.s. interference. all of the leaders included the supreme leader and the popular were heavily criticized in the recent demonstrations. iran's security forces have used the demonstrations however no doubt to identify the leaders beyond the protest and they will use whatever force is necessary to cease this unrest. there's no indication that the regime will collapse the future but there's also note evidence that the regime is capable of this erosion to its long-term
stability. the selection of the next thing the there will be a critical inflection point in the regime. we've already shaped the selection architecture to a hardliner and trust to sustain the ideal that he supports and to protect the regime key stakeholders. stakeholders. let me conclude with a few thoughts of potential policy options. the primary goal of u.s. policy always should be one thing. we want to develop a multilateral effort to the society and inner leadership is whether its support for a nuclear program with a domestic industrial enrichment capacity, terrorism intervention from its unreasonably large ballistic missile program for the detention of u.s. and other nationals are these worth the pain of economic sanctions which will inevitably erode first the economic stability and then the political stability of the regime. at that point however we need to be ready to engage incentives to
be a part of any diplomatic approach. they caution here. people don't usually come to the table at the point of collapse. they come when they fear collapse between when iran came to the table for the deal, they didn't come to accept any deal. that's why the negotiations took so long. second, we need them on our side. the relations are currently strained, it's no secret, but we need this approach. this means also that you're not just about a tougher action against the nuclear activities and must employ the most severe available sanctions to deter those activities. it makes no sense to say the exchange for sticking with the only sanctions option by the policymakers will be minor personnel and companies and in the policy decisio decision-maku usually have diplomatic, please don't hurt me agai again sanctis the threat of economic pain or a
military conflict. we cannot deny the space in that second category simply to protect the nuclear deal alone. our public diplomacy needs to be clear and loud advice for the secretary's plans to engage in the community and the community outside of iran and the international community that they must understand any effort to develop a nuclear weapons program will be me made immediay by the military response. they must also understand the cyber attack in the coming months against the united states with regional partners will be met by equally severe response. finally, it is up to the iranian people to choose the direction of their country. i am not a believer in regime change in that regard, but they also have a responsibility of pressing their own government to end intervention in other countries. iran chooses its own government. it doesn't have the right to choose other governments. next, the u.s. should lead an international campaign on to end
the activities, the existence of the force. if there's one thing that can be done against iran if it changed the paradigm of the leadership of what they can get away with and the result would be the organization is unique. its goal is to create militia groups and proliferation sanctions. its activities violates multiple international standards into the concept. .. >> the detainees i think that deserve more comment. iran needs to understand that
cover here. thanks to all of you and david let's start with you about this tee9 mom --dash jcpoa you said the trumpet administration would go with zero negotiations. but on this question of uranium in richmond and on the question of the military plan discovered how long would it take iran to move from enrichment almost 4% to what
they had mastered a few years ago to 90% enrichment required for nuclear weapons? how long would that take for iaea to discover that? would they have any incentive to do that if they don't have clear designs perspective for a warhead or placing that on a ballistic missile to disney's the weapon at the right time would a risk anything like that? >> it's hard to answer all those questions. but the breakout timeline really is based on the idea iran makes the decision to race to produce enough weapons grade uranium in the shortest
time possible and there is an extensive debate on that. european capital several weeks ago with breakout time between 13 and 15 months. they assume they have a centrifuge to be deployed in the breakout or 12 months maybe longer but something it could be within three months. so one of the things we are facing is the uncertainty about the centrifuge program is growing. we don't know how many they have hidden away without partial construction. a lot of that program is a disaster. we know that from the iaea who went off to build advanced
centrifuges many different types while most would only concentrate on a few and many have failed i don't think that will ever be built. so they have real problems and that gets to the issues they may not want to build up their program. it is interesting the other day certainly being around a long time and knowing the program we know the ir six itself does not work and four or five years from deployment. there is a variant as a centrifuge but they are faced
with a serious development issue. so i agree that maybe to say that differently i don't think they're in a position to want to try to break out. unless if you look at south africa without terminology with their backs to the wall and all bets are off. so you don't want to pressurize too much to where they feel the only out is to build their weapons. so i do know how you balance that because this administration wants to increase the pressure and has turned down a recent request on the sanctions. so it does want to drive the oil exports below zero. so again from the motive that
we can see the problems they have a harder time visualizing the solutions but one of which that i would argue is that we need to think through what it is we are trying to accomplish and that there is a plan b in place to help us in case it doesn't work out quite as we expected. >> okay but i asked again, in the materials discovered seized in a warehouse for that were known to our intelligence agencies in 2007 about prior military dimensions of their work, is there evidence we actually have capability? >> yes. could they deliver it in a reliable manner?
that's not clear but the information shows a more advanced program then was understood. so yes. they could build a nuclear weapon. again i think the french would tell you they could do it in three months if they have the fissile material. certainly there are arguments with north korea could they deliver reliably on a ballistic missile and would they take that risk that miss or to pre-detonate or not detonate at all? >> you don't take a chance like that you have a slight test but you don't have to test the nuclear device. they don't have to do that. from what i understand it was designed to avoid that. certainly that is part of the information they were looking
to consider building a nuclear test site and picked five possible locations. but i don't think the first device would have needed that test. >> someone from the audience is asking about negotiations between the three and whether they did get close to some agreement with iran with the trunk administration? long -- trump administration? >> i think i got. certainly on that on the legislative side which was the parallel effort there was not the automatic backup sanctions
that was the rhetoric but there was a recognition the president doesn't want the power and neither does congress with there would have been off ramps for that automatic snapback the europeans wanted certain assurances and there was that language over a 12 month breakup and then to write that legislative part of this as a criteria but it was interpreted as not a theoretical concept that was defined with those centrifuges so it is quantified in a very specific way so that could
have been managed given a little more time but the administration decided they they think now is better than later so the fancy financial sanctions they want them out of the cabinet. and they didn't like the idea of fixing the deal. so the problem is can we trust the next thing the president does? you will hear this. can you trust the bureaucrats that are everybody but him? do they have articulated so
that is one of the casualties. >> i have a different view. this president came to office with very stark views on the nuclear deal. no surprise and europe's response was silence. united states gives a speech saying he will have a deal and europe's response that was robust diplomatic discussion between the united states but no hard solutions and in january the issue of what sanctions could be pulled off the table i don't think that was ever resolved so simply to
say iran will not build the icbm that's not planning to do right now there is no public evidence but it's not critical. can you trust the country going down the road in a few short years? on october 2020 the conventional weapons program would expire but it would be safer for iran to sell conventional weapons to has the law and in 2023 the un restrictions on the missile program would expire did anybody think the world would be safer? so there were a number of aspects that were fairly complicated.
>> the complaint about the agreement is that it was limited to the nuclear program itself and did not sufficiently with that weaponry or other behaviors in the region so we need a strategy to be more comprehensive and whether to withdraw or not is debatable that we have. so what is the strategy? michael was talking about needing one but certainly with the economic pressure that this will be successful.
i use the wrong word but i need the sanctions with severe economic repercussions now somebody from the audience was asking? >> i don't think those indians are very divided and the business community they will not help very much at all. china can help have a cushion but not the iranian economy. the possible innovative ideas a lot of those challenges are shared so this is in the delivery of electricity also electricity shortages in saudi
arabia but the ability to invest in them and those that were poised to be gun and those that actually received investment themselves from saudi arabia so ironically there was cooperation between the gulf states and iran and also with massive youth unemployment problem and basic service delivery that is a mess and there could be ideas for the international financial institution to create a cushion for structural reform so i think
there are avenues that we are walking into with a severe situation. the reason why i think it isn't successful is because it does not punish the right people it destroys the savings of middle-class it hurts that youthful generation so why would the united states go across the middle east but iran in particular? that to me is very much the downside. >> while this is taking place, while iran is suffering economically, what are your major proposals for dealing
with the behavior in the region to have a history of pushing back under circumstances like this? is it likely we will see actual conflict? >> let me just say in the past they have coupled pushback so by a large they responded to nuclear pressure that you cannot do a damn thing about it. so they responded to american cyberbut my concern is they
could do stuff in naval arenas to be engaged with professional behavior so they could ramp that up and before the t9 was concluded it was a tanker related to a dispute with the company and was the number of incidents the goal i don't was related to your pressure but that could change. so again it needs to be an option for the pushback if they could pushback without significant risk they will do so even in those domains.
it has been helpful although it was constrained by the pro- regime militia and visors embedded in with a useful impact and to withdraw from syria and he was perhaps convinced by his senior military officers that isn't a good idea so we also have to continue that you have to tend to them so don't attack the forces but if they are
attacking those by supporting the television one -- the taliban and, we don't want that to happen in iraq. so look at these lines and tend to them as we target our people with those leaders in the region with a robust capability to indicate that unless you want this turned on you don't touch. that is what i would argue that our elements of a policy to deter them from pushing back in response to new year pressure. >> iran's behavior is already
a problem for syria and lebanon and yemen. but somehow this pressure on iran is meant to help us. so what do you expect them to be doing while we wait because you wouldn't expect them to come back. >> that's correct and i still maintain that position. so sanctions where one -- will take time they are erosive and i don't anticipate that is sufficient for any deal immediately.
but iran is able to establish the front lines against all adversaries in the region. talk about conflict in the middle east we have hezbollah and our ambassador to the un to enable missiles fired upon saudi arabia thousands of americans and foreign nationals to use drones into israel against u.s. forces. with explosive boat in the red sea with the conflict underway but it is shaped in terms through the hybrid war activity the response to that
is not just attacking the other end of the drone but with the excellent point it'll strike the right people that is a very good point it is what they have deliberated for hundreds of hours of meetings but if anybody has the name of the company to sanction to come up with it because it doesn't exist they are so corrupt they are the economy that touches the american people. when it comes to pressure on iran they will test our will with serious skin in the game. they have lost a couple of dozen of officers. so we have to recognize they will pushback so if you don't
want to do that then you will have corruption. >> do you agree about economic collapse? or how long this will take or how long iran can continue with this behavior or how long they can wait before there is a political crisis? >> yes. when i say collapse i did not define that. i mean severe damage and a severe currency crisis with the inaccessibility to have foreign exchange. that creates hyperinflation that's why it hurts ordinary people but i do agree about the real saturation of the
iranian economy and it is widely understood how deeply corrupt and ineffective the system currently is but actually see this as a point of entry and leverage. in the european union is trying to do that right now to allow the iranian central bank to have funds in the european union central banks to see if they are adopting measures of transparency this is an inroad into very the policy area that is on the table right now. >> i agree with what karen
says but when i look at collapse the issue arises of how impressive the regime can be? look at north korea in the 1990s with a are expected by the administration to collapse and they didn't. so they are probably pretty capable of repressing those dissident and intimidating the others. i wouldn't want to collapse to regime change but the economy will stay in power that is what our experts say we are not quite like the soviet
union we are not quite at that point yet. >> can i jump in on that? >> there is a question from the audience asking if we are aiming for regime changes that realistic? >> i use that as a segway. i suspect the way that the administration has a branch of the strategy if maximum pressure works to create domestically that is another pressure point that could cause it to yield with diplomacy. and if we don't decide on that
we could have a meltdown for regime change that focuses iran to deal with those resources. the iranian contingent is only a couple of fighters so to subsidize the syrian government cost them a lot more and then they put out a million and i have no ability that is a fair sum of money but you put them in a dilemma of greater unrest and i get to the point he worried that it is getting out of hand and then to come back to the negotiating table that there are two things in the past if you look at the republic how they have responded of course
they made a revolution. they know the heavy-handed response by security forces can exacerbate things but you have them killing protesters and then come back and it would snowball because they try to avoid that and more recently. in many ways to have that tnm and square type of response where tanks are in the street rolling over people. they try to use nonlethal means by a large amount same have not been killed. they have but as a result of last december it was reported they quadrupled funding for the purchase of weapons.
so they realize that they will have firearms and because they had concerns about the reliability and to reflect the society at large. that is another reason why they didn't push too hard when responding on the streets. but now doing things to try to ensure the reliability and the capability may get worse in the future but never underestimate those regimes to hang on. also mentioning north korea
never underestimate the resiliency of these regimes. i don't rule that out. >> there are a couple of points this regime has no compulsion about the coercion needed to put down unrest but there is a calculation you don't necessarily need tanks but a small capable force of demonstration in the thousands not in the millions you can demonstrate capably without tanks shooting people with a pre-demonstration planning effort and to identify people and the iranians have done this extensively but i believe
it will use whatever is needed to put down unrest but that said to the complete economic breakdown we don't even have that for economy with an unprecedented collapse in venezuela so sanctions are a tool and so what you want to look for domestically is the evolution of the country and his successor certainly the political status of presidential election coming up in 2020 that has the echo
of unemployed youth lack of foreign investment with the arab spring remains throughout the region. this will be careful about the force they put in but the sanctions are the best way as to whether or not they want to risk the regime during this important. time. >> one topic we have not touched on is the role of our partners and allies and why they were so critical of the jcpoa and what role they are willing to play now and
whether they are willing to put skin in the game and if they think our relationship with russia can be leveraged to help them get iran out of the region can people comment on that? >> again one of the problems i mentioned was that partisan approach and the role of the allies seems to have a euphoric role so we asked them to handle their own problems. the yemen war is taking a very long time.
to consume calendars as well the saudi's basically say when it comes to yemen they will not allow the creation of a hezbollah type of entity on the southern border which has about 15% of the world trade goes through there every day. you have the emirates this week in a fascinating development to change the relationship with china dramatically but that has been offset against iran they are talking about real issues and frankly that conference was pretty sad and said we didn't get them everything that's because they have a relationship that did not exist in the past year. some of that will take longer absolutely but moving in the
right direction with skiing lives and dollars and not asking people to die on their behalf. >> so the most effective proxy against iran and syria but they found themselves back in this position that they preferred to be working with united states against the iranians but we concluded by a large that as a result we have seen greater cooperation between the israelis and the russians with the power
projections we have seen series of strikes but then basically to zero out that infrastructure in terms of logistical site and intelligence collection sites that were part of the emerging infrastructure. that is the way the administration prefers to deal with it and have them apply as proxy to apply on their own. israel it will depend going forward on continued acquiescence.
they are cut down to size than the ability to play this role will potentially suffer then we have to figure out what to do about it. it is in our interest to enforce those messages to say it's very important for us to have continued military freedom of action in syria. i'm not sure that's done at this point. i healed. >> is that enough for the gulf arab states? >> i'm not sure what else we ask to do with an independent military force? i'm not sure that's the smartest thing but also it
does take some diplomatic willingness to go into discussions shows those unconventional methods our missile strike against syria had no russian response which i think shows perhaps russian weakness in many ways but at the same time russia's willingness to risk the broader relationships for iran. my final comment looking at activities in the regions baja rain is under frequent attack from personnel from those of iraqis so this inter- awareness of america's
partners in the region and at the end of the day it is relatively cheap for the iranians editing curve loses $250 million interior would you like that there or here on our shore? that's the decision they have to make. and our partners can help communicate that message as wel well. >> it is good that you pointed that out because not everyone is aware of how extensive it is including bahrain. >> if you look at the traditional group the definition is to have training assistance of weaponry and not just financial support, cybersupport, training camps,
it is a structure. if i would ask you to name a proxy group by the sunni arab state, you cannot name one if i ask ask you to name all of the iranian proxy the region one breath you cannot do it they are ecumenical the taliban, hamas as well as the myriad number of the shia militia partners. so policymakers needs to look at the political evolution of iraq. will they give up their weapons? they can't do anything but sit on it how would you feel about having them on your border? these are realities. it is unprecedented i cannot think of another country in
this century engaging in this activity. >> i will ask people if they have final thoughts. but he for i do, you have written a lot. the way i came to know you about your writings of the conventional capabilities. which they can use in the coming years while undergoing economic distress. how would you evaluate our ability to deal with that? thinking back to the 1980s when everything we did conform to international law.
what do you anticipate in the next two years of the encounters between united states and iran and their ability? >> i will say we are focused on the target for a great deal of the past 30 or 40 years and the capabilities and since 911 and all the calls to deal with i do and when --dash isis and i relationships with other countries and in cooperation help us that it is more difficult for iran to engage in terrorism. efforts by iran to retaliate for the killing except for one
exception. likewise we are good in that area but in the gulf the possibility long-term that it will become a dangerous environment and eventually during a time of crisis that we may want to keep them outside of the golf that may make it too dangerous but we have been able to focus on the middle east almost interrupted for several decades now.
that is no longer the case. but with the attention of the decision-makers that we can no longer focus on this part of the world as extensively as we have in the past and resources will be split between several theaters. it is a more challenging international environment for the conflict of north korea for what we are willing to do in the middle east. there are countervailing batches but your and probably of the missile-defense. probably. but again we make some improvements and in other
areas they outstrip what we are trying to accomplish. >> listening to this discussion, i am fascinated. one of the challenges is how do you if that deal fails? they don't want to in the short term but you want to keep them with your program and that is doable. one way to help that is to reinvigorate confrontation if
i can use that term and iaea in particular over iran's or past secret nuclear weapons work. part of which may continue. that tactic was used very effectively in 2003 and four to elevate the issue to put iran on the defensive. on the defensive. be accused of violating or potentially violating the proliferation treaty we can safeguard and argue but they are doing a better position
than letting things go quiet and hoping that the negotiations start. >> i think maybe the way we do with these communities iran versus the u.s. that's not really the strategic landscape right now. in the middle east seismic shift is happening with russia and china importantly and our allies especially in the gulf states taking responsibility for their own security and increasing interventions in the neighborhood and really not seeing value ss pivotal or centered in the region but it
has moved on without us so if you say this is our choice and we are confronting iran, so be it but the way that regional leaders see their neighborhood and much more complex terms and air paying attention to the different kinds of allies with relationship building and they did a decade ago and they did a decade ago could make a broad statement to put this in context reaction is dynamic to ensure that and we saw that
after the u.s. defeat of iraq in kuwait we were at the high watermark because of the presence with the rise of al qaeda with the great american military victory at both iran and syria were hoping iran is now at the high watermark. we are seeing elements of this reaction forming that the middle east is not self organizing if we want there to be that rollback influence but it is now profoundly destabilizing and to roll that back we have to play that role
is just we did to rollback the soviets in afghanistan. but it seems that we are intent on disengaging from the region. so i have great concerns there is a potential that this is the high watermark to reduce its influence to restore the equilibrium but if we don't play the legal we look forward to more instability in the region we have to do this it is just better to do it on her own terms to be more active in the community. >> our partners have concluded we will not be more involved. what would they like us to be doing? >> i agree.
i would like to begin to say this is a perfect reason that these are broad issues beyond any one country in the economy of the military programs as a whole that engagement doesn't have to be with troops on the ground i am a strong believer we need to do everything we can to push to a political agreement to protect our arab allies. but that doesn't necessarily mean boots on the ground it could be intelligent, fueling assistance, guidance, technology, with her separate session i was making notes listening to the comments with that.
every definition saudi arabia the perfect example the bat -- brand-new modernization with reassertion to push back in different ways with the hybrid war is now routine in the middle east that is structured for conventional wars the unemployment rate and youth issues is pretty common. new alliances are forming saudi arabia and egypt it is time to have turkey and iran and to achieve relevance in the in the future less so with the ongoing engagement that it is a large part in where that ends up and in iraq.
but it shattered the economy u.s. must play a role that is a terrible thing to say in washington but to prevent isis two-point oh we have to engage in yemen and iraq, syria and the bf. finally that impending change of leadership say names are regions leaders over the age of 78. algeria, tunisia, oman, kuwait supreme leader. you could probably have a change and we could have but
will not have a qaddafi? we have to be careful because the future is in front of us that dynamics around it and i thank you. i wish we had more time maybe we have already lost the span. you will find video of this event within a few hours and we will publish the transcript in the next issue of our publications. [applause] [inaudible conversations]