tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN April 2, 2015 5:30am-7:01am EDT
espionage to more terror and destruction. you can buy a lot of this stuff already on the internet. so i think this is the area -- they say, what will keep you up at night? there are a lot of things. cyber, the probability is getting higher, but the consequences are very severe too. so the probability of getting attacked is high, but the damage is that itself, but relatively low casualties, but it is human casualties. the cyber piece is higher probability, but the consequences could be extremely severe and damaging. with time it will get worse. host: great. chairman mccaul: it is great news, isn't it? host: we always feel good. but i'm really grateful that you came and talked to us, took time out of your schedule.
you were busy before you were chairman. i have no idea what it is like now. thank you so much for joining us. chairman mccaul: thank you for having me. national cable satellite corp. 2015] the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit nccicap.org]
here. for a timely discussion on the status of the koran and internet -- iran and international negotiations on the nuclear issues that face not only run, but our world. i'm delighted tonight we are joined by the chairperson of the world affairs council of d.c., edie fraser, and the first female and 35 years to be chairperson of the world affairs council ordered direction -- directors. also please we have a number of board members and supporters here tonight. as well as distinguished panel. an opportunity earlier tonight to talk with ambassador lindbert. you have read the biographies i hope. i will not repeat verbatim what is on those biographies. what i would like to say is that the ambassador has received the highest award of valor that the u.s. department of state can give. he was one of the brave americans who had come in his own words, an extended stay in iran when the ayatollah came in to change the management of the
hotel to run. welcome to ambassador limbert, someone who has distinguished place that he has earned throughout the world. our second guest is pinchhitting. he just arrived back from switzerland. not intend to be here tonight, but he is the policy director for the national iranian american council. we are delighted that his voice is part of this dialogue tonight. jamal, i shared with you that although i am an irishman, i have been to a run three times. -- iran three times. i was very proud when i went to
the british embassy inside very light -- large sign that said welcome. embassy of the united kingdom and northern ireland. on the other side, there was an equally large brass plate that said bobby sands avenue. for those of you who know irish history, it was the iranian way of communicating a message to the british. although they may have owned the street. our next guest, the moderator, is an extremely well-known washingtonian. also a proud member of the national press club, the world's leading professional organization for journalists and a strategic partner of our world affairs council in easy. barbara, i heard you on national public radio, and
throughout the day on multiple radio and tv programs. you are -- your depth of knowledge with regard to the nation and the region we are talking about tonight is superb. we are fortunate to have you as our moderator tonight. ladies and gentlemen, with that, i will turn it over to our moderator of the evening. barbara slavin. don't be shy when it comes to question time. the world affairs council is the leading institution dedicated to global education, international affairs, and global communications. it is a place for learning to have been. i know with this panel and moderator tonight, we will learn a lot. we have a rare opportunity while the iron is hot, to get
answers to some of the questions that i think all of the world is interested in with respect to the impact of the outcome of the negotiations in switzerland. barbara? barbara slavin: thank you very much and thank you for the gracious introduction. it is a pleasure to be back. we had a wonderful session with ytita and john a year and a half ago. one other members reached an interim agreement that put verifiable curbs on arrived -- on iran's nuclear program while they try to negotiate a comprehensive long-term agreement. doesn't you have been following the news know that it is not easy going. we are now into a full week in this latest round of talks in switzerland.
there were hopes that perhaps the negotiators would meet eight march 31 deadline for a political framework or understanding that would govern taught until the real deadline june 30 of this year. negotiators are still hard at work in switzerland into the night. if you are on twitter or social media, you will see very many grumpy comments by my colleagues in the press corps, sitting around waiting. we are all waiting to find out whether they will succeed in coming up with a political framework. i will sketch very briefly where we are and then turned to our eminence panelists. i think progress has clearly been made. they would not be still talking if they had not made progress. most of the concepts, the contours of the deal, have
already been agreed to. but the devil is in the details, as they say. for a run, -- for iran, the key issue is sanctions. particularly, united nations sanctions. there are six resolutions, four of them have sanctions. these laid the basis for all of the economic penalties that were put on iran on its nuclear programs. also signify that iran is a prior in the eyes of the international community, which makes the iranians nervous. they are insisting rapid removal of u.s. penalties in return for accepting long-term restrictions on their nuclear program. my understanding is that what is at stake now is at least a 15 year agreement, that would prevent iran from developing nuclear weapons through a variety of pathways.
some aspects of the deal with -- with expire before 15 years but money -- many would continue through 15 years. after that they would remain a member of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. they are obliged not to develop nuclear weapons. the issue of sanctions release is key. on other issues, they have made a lot of progress. we will talk about some of those with our speakers and in q and a. they are ryan's have agreed to remove centrifuges that they have -- the iranians have agreed to remove centrifuges that they had installed. they had agreed to limit the stockpile of low enriched uranium they hold onto, whether they would send it out of the country or somehow diluted into a different form. that is something still being discussed. they had agreed to modify a heavy water reactor under construction at a place called arak, which could produce
plutonium. they have agreed not to do uranium at fordham -- fordo, and underground program. they are trying to give confidence that iran is not trying to sneak out or find a covert halfway to a bomb. overall this is a good package. we are in the endgame now. the final deadline is june 30 here it the iranians have not wanted to have a two-stage process. they want to have one agreement which will be announced at one time. it is an analogy to the iran iraq war in the 90's. the leader of the revolution said he would accept a cease-fire that left hussein in place, but he compared it to
drinking poison. the current supreme leader of iran wants to drink the poison in one go. we also have a fight in what kind of statement will come out at this round of talks, how specific will it be. the united states wants a more specific statement because they don't have to just worry about the other negotiating partners they have to worry about the u.s. congress, which is reading heavily down president obama's neck. this has kept these individuals in switzerland for two or three nights in a row staying up all night. we will see if it takes another day. i am going to start by asking john to talk about the calculations of the iranians to some extent, and also what he thinks congress is going to
demand from the administration in order to stave off new legislation that could make it more complicated for the white house to negotiate a comprehensive agreement. deputy limbert: thank you barbara. thank you tony for that generous and gracious introduction. i have one question. when you were on avenue bobby sands, did you go to the bobby sands snack bar? located right around the corner from the british embassy. there is a certain irony in the name. barbara slavin: he died on a hunger strike, i believe. deputy limbert: very good. i will speak briefly and then -- i know we have a lot of time for questions. there are always very good questions. put two questions up front.
where are we and where are we going? where are we right now? double overtime right now. where are we going? that is the hard question. the iranian friends like to say, there are only two possibilities. either we get to a deal, or we don't get to a deal. there are only really two outcomes. i think what we need to do tonight is take a breath, step back a little bit from talks about breakout triggers, snap back, you and resolutions, centrifuges, subterfuges, all of that. look at something a little bigger. one question i would put out here is, why has this been so hard?
why is this so difficult? it has been 18 months since the first agreement. well, one reason is, for better or worse, the two sides decided they were going to take on what is one of the hardest issues between us and the iranians. what makes it so hard? it is not the technical part. secretary moniz and mr. saleh could probably talk m.i.t. to each other and region agreement that i would not understand a word of. but they could reach an agreement. if the issues were technical. but they are not technical. what we had instead are asymmetrical negotiations, in
which the two sides are simply talking about different rings. -- things. the u.s. side talks about obligations and treaties and legal issues. the iranians are talking about justice, our rights, and national dignity. and the result has been frustration. each site in a situation like that, says, we are not being listened to. i'm a historian by training. i can't resist talking about history. there is a history on this. this kind of mutual deftness -- deafness, 60 years ago think negotiations between the british and iranians over the status of the oil industry.
the iranian side argued its rights to national dignity. they said, it is our oil and we have the right to control it. the other side argued contract and legalisms. as one british observer said really, it seemed hardly fair, the dignified and correct western statement sent -- statement should should be defeated by the antics of incomprehensible orientals. that is where they were. that is how the sides saw each other. the result, as we know, is the disgraceful history of august 1953. the cia and british sponsored coup that overthrew the government. which few americans know about and every iranian. it still casts a shadow over
the meetings in luzon. like it or not, that shadow is there. i fear this sad history is repeating itself. as i tell my students, those who forget history are condemned to repeat sophomore year. well, that is the bad news. let me end with good news. i know jamaal -- i want to hear what he has to say. the good news is, the u.s. and iran have come a very long way in the last two years. in a good way. deal or no deal, we have finally realized that the last three decades of treating, accusations, insults, threats, and worse have accomplished nothing on either side.
if all you can do is thump your chest, after 30 years, the result is a sore chest. we are slowly and tentatively embarking on a better way. it is not the way of friendship. but it is the way of two states that neither like nor trust each other, and i emphasize that, because we don't. but which have matters to talk about. when secretary kerry meets with foreign minister is a wreath -- zarif, they call the talks positive and productive. this may sound ordinary to you but these words carried tremendous symbolic power. think about it. when was the last time any
encounter between iran and the united states described as either positive or productive? you would have to go back over 36 years. before the islamic revolution. so, tomorrow, the day after, there will be a deal or there will not be a deal. two possibilities. but at least i will say this. our two countries have spotted a path out of that swamp of hostility, where we have been stuck for so long. the hard part of course, is getting on that path and staying on it. thank you and i look forward to our discussion. barbara slavin: thank you john that was well put. i would add in terms of these negotiations, and all that's
always seemed that nuclear program as a method bargaining chip. this is their take it back into the international community. i think one of the reasons why these negotiations are so hard is that you can only play this card once. iran wants to make sure it gets the maximum in return and that it is not going to be cheated. one of the reasons why iran is worried about being cheated is because of the u.s. congress. they are deathly afraid they will agree to put these restrictions on the nuclear program, and then congress will impede a deal, will prevent the act, administration -- obama administration from implementing video. if you could talk about the dynamics in congress and what you think john kerry and his negotiating team needs to come up with in luzon or even -- geneva, in order to stave off congressional opposition.
jamal: thank you barbara. thank you to the world affairs council. barbara is one of the best analysts working on iran in decades. congress. the branch of government that we all can look towards for thoughtful and reasonable debate, who absolutely should be inserted into a negotiation that already includes seven countries, including the united states, russia, and iran -- and congress would definitely say a positive role if they injected themselves into this situation. this is the argument that some in congress are trying to make. right now, congress as an important role to bathe -- play. congress passed sanctions on iran.
2010, basically since obama came into office with the exception of his first year, congress has passed major sanctions every single year, until recently when the interim agreement was struck. these are major sanctions. crippling sanctions, and that many in congress argue possibly over argue, are key to what brought iran to the table. there is much more nuanced debate that has to occur. what cannot be debated is that sanctions to provide a form of leverage in these talks. these sanctions have become what the talks are about on our side. irani compromises on its nuclear program, we trade in method sanctions we piled on and that is the deal. that is the premise.
how do you convince congress to turn in the sanctions? if given a good deal, if given a deal that does what the sanctions were set out to accomplish, which was prevent iran from getting a nuclear weapon, it wasn't necessarily to address every single issue we have with iran. some sanctions tied to terrorism, some to human rights. these were supposed to be you -- nuclear sanctions. you would assume they would accept the argument what is wrong is at the table, we have to be prepared. that brings us to today. we are not even talking about sanctions being lifted, at the outset of this deal. we are talking about getting the deal in which they are temporarily suspended, temporarily suspended with waivers that congress built in
so the president can on a six-month basis wave the sanctions and you assume his successor does the same thing, and we repeat this, and eventually five-10 years down the line congress would take action. now we have letters coming out of congress, and legislation implying that is not going to happen. this inherently undermines any leverage the united states has. we are going to negotiations and saying you do the compromising on the nuclear side of things, and we will take care of congress. it is not even going to be president obama, it is going to be his successor. this is a tough argument to make. it only exacerbates the lack of trust between the u.s. and iran. my sense is that from the
beginning of these talks, it was almost taken for granted that congress was not going to let these sanctions -- there was going to have to be a way not just to deal with iran's hard-liners, which we know part of their adages we can't deal with united states, and their political powers comes with the dispute with the united states, we have be mindful of the hard-liners in the united states who would never lift the sanctions. the deal being constructed takes that into account and attempts to ensure that if hard-liners in iran gain the upper hand, or if congress tries to take action to kill this deal they will not be an interval part of this deal. the deal can survive even if congress screws things up. that is why it has been constructed the way it has. the deal would have time to demonstrate that it can work
and the next president can convince congress to lift the sanctions. a lot is uncertain right now. there are still big issues. there are two key issues that are holding up the talks now. preventing the split up framework. the main one is you and sanctions. -- u.n. sanctions. instant of lifting sanctions there is talk about suspending the sanctions. iran has said since we are building that into the deal let's -- they want to lift the u.n. sanctions. sanctions. u.n. sanctions are far more symbolic than practical. the practical sanctions have been in u.s. and eu sanctions. lifting u.n. sanctions is not
going to provide practical effects. it is symbolic. the sign -- hassan rouhani was critical of the ahmadinejad government. they managed to prevent u.n. sanctions from being passed. if he can get a deal that li fts u.n. sanctions that is a symbolic victory. there is now squabbling over how do we lift u.n. sanctions. this is because we cannot really do that with congress. congress is such an actor not willing to move at the time, at this time. so that is where we are. it is unfortunate. the u.s. could be asking for more if we could be credibly saying congress would do the
president the owner of upholding an agreement that the u.s. struck. and we know that regardless of what happens at the talks in the next couple days congress is poised to move forward with some form of legislation. if there is no deal, congress is going to move forward with sanctions. new sanctions. sanctions that would violate the terms of the interim deal. would make it very difficult to use the remaining three months to cobble something together to salvage the process. if there is a deal, congress is going to move forward likely with legislation to try to shoehorn a congressional role into this process. essentially give congress a veto. i think the dynamics of capitol hill have changed over the last 18 months. in recent weeks especially. the actions the 47 senators who signed this open letter to iran
an unprecedented and irresponsible move. saying to iran congress is not going to honor what the united states negotiators get at the negotiating table. this combined with the controversial invitation to netanyahu that wasn't viewed -- was viewed as a partisan move. a move as without precedent. and some of the other jockeying has created a dynamic way this is no longer viewed through the normal prism. anything attached to iran, it is usually easy to pass sanctions or take a hot disposition. -- a hawkish position. now we have an interim deal that has worked over the past 18 months. even more importantly, this is viewed as a another one of washington's political battles
stop republicans versus democrats, john boehner and mitch mcconnell and gop republicans against president obama. because of this, i think it is very likely that congress, while they may pass legislation to insert themselves in the process, it is going to be difficult to override a presidential veto. in the near-term i think the president will be able to continue to negotiate and stave off congressional action. hopefully limit the damage this does to negotiators' leverage at the table. in the long-term it prevents problems. eventually, congress is going to be a part of implementing the deal. if this devolves into partisan politics it is hard to see a scenario where we get all the parties on board to actually implement a final deal. barbara: thank you very much. i'm going to open up to your questions. i think you have to wait for a microphone because this is being filmed. who has the microphone?
come to the stand. if you would lineup the handy microphone -- say her name and ask. a question my name is natalie >> i'm a teacher in arlington. my students want to know, i have no technical -- barbara: speak loud. >> my question, i know my students were asked this, what is in it for iran to negotiate this? especially with the brouhaha congress has created -- especially those 47 senators. barbara: if i could start that what is in it for iran is that it gets released from crippling sanctions which have collapsed the economy of the country. and it sees an easy of its
pariah status. that is why iran is there. amb. limbert: i would agree substantively with the second. iran we're talking self image. iran does not enjoy being the polecat of the international community. it does not enjoy being seem like north korea or libya back in the day. that is not the way interviews itself. -- it views itself. there's a political symbolic part that is very important. the second, the economic part of it. it is arguable. but i think the iranians themselves have taken the view that the sanctions have hurt us economically therefore we need to negotiate our way out of them. in a way that is easier than
saying you know what has really hurt our economy? our own mismanagement of it. it is much easier to blame the outsider than it is to blame themselves. sounds like you have a wonderful group of students. >> i do. i am envious. think of getting some of them to the naval academy. [laughter] >> i think we have one or two headed that way. >> good evening, i am dr. donna schaefer from marymount university. here with about 20 students. i am just wondering if there is any effects of social media or information flow on this deal? amb. limbert: iran is one of the most plugged in societies -- dr. parsi: iran is one of the most plugged in societies in the middle east.
iranians were among the first bloggerrss in the world. iranians want to be connected. it is a society that is all about embracing neighbors. social media really sprang to the forefront of the iran debate in 2009 during the green movement. probably for the first time, you saw people on twitter and using social media as a form of organizing but more importantly getting the message out of what people were thinking. really getting around the censorship of the government and all these things. while was interesting at the time was that we had sanctions in place that prevented u.s. companies and many foreign
companies from actually enabling iranians to use their products. there was the famous incident in which, there were questions among facebook and twitter management folks about whether they could allow iranians to be using ghost services. iranians were using phones that in many cases were bought off the black market. they were not sold through normal channels because of sanctions. the obama administration has responded to that. this has been one area where they have taken action to make sure that this sanctions or not -- those sanctions were not having the unintended effect of blocking social media for iranians. now you go on social media and you can see from iran how much anticipation there is for this deal. you can cut through some of the rhetoric and see that iranians are waiting with bated breath. 80 million people trying to figure out if we have a deal or not.
probably going through whiplash as this has progressed. i think the social media thing is very important. hopefully there are going to be more opportunities for those kinds of connections, especially when there is a deal and sanctions get fully lifted. even with what the obama administration has done there are still significant barriers to having social media investment and tech companies and iran. apple said as soon as there is a deal they will be going into iran. a major sign of the potential that exists there. >> thank you. >> is iran did not have a nuclear program, don't you think our relationship with them would be pretty much the same? the real issue is not the bomb by the question of strategic control of the persian gulf? amb. limbert: -- dr. parsi: --
amb. limbert: if there is some agreement on what it is called the nuclear issue, we and the iranians are still going to have a lot of differences between us. that is true. issues about the middle east issues about terrorism, issues about human rights. those are not going to go away. but what we will be able to do and we have not been able to do for the last 35 years is to talk about them. to sit down as states do, as governments do. this idea of iran, however, as some in. power that -- as some imperial power that wants to extend its
reach all over the middle east and re-create a new persian empire, i don't know where that comes from. i am a teacher of history. students know there has not been a persian since 640 ad. there's not going to be one. iran u.n. is isolated for reasons of language, geography and religion . the idea that we and our friends are facing some kind of resurgent persian empire, to me that is scare talk. that is not historical or history driven or reality driven, not his agenda driven. amb. limbert: -- barbara: clearly there are things that iran does and especially things that iran says that arouse a lot of concern. if iran did not come if orion
officials did not chant "death to america," "death to israel" on a regular basis on national holidays, if they did not support hezbollah and hamas and palestinian islamic jihad certainly israel would be less alarmed. and certainly the u.s. and the rest of the community would be less alarmed. iran cannot, i think it might have been karim sadjadpour said iran cannot have it both ways. had a nuclear bomb and call for the destruction of israel. irresponsible rhetoric and their behavior. one of the reasons the u.s. is determined to prevent iran from having a nuclear weapon.
we have other countries that have developed weapons outside the nuclear nonproliferation treaty -- israel, pakistan india -- and we do not have the same concern that we do about iran. >> steve. my question is, we have recently seen saudi arabia lead military strikes against houthi rebels in yemen. with the saudi-led interventionist policy, is that having an impact on current talks? amb. limbert: as far as i can tell, no. both sides, i don't know if it is explicit or implicit, have agreed that whatever goes on out there in the greater world whether it is a letter from congress, whether it is saudi action in yemen, whether it is what going on around tikrit, they are not going to let that
derail the negotiations. in the past, that is what always happened. one of the rules of u.s.-iranian relations was as soon as you think you are making progress someone or something comes along to screw it up. that is the decision. there has been a conscious decision. we are not going to let it happen this time. congress can write the letters that it wants, the saudis can do what they want, the iranians can do whatever they are going to do in yemen and we are going to stay focused on the negotiations. barbara: maybe you want to add something -- for congress this is an issue. amb. limbert: -- dr. parsi: i think the comments
about the nuclear program in iran being viewed as a gateway to changing the dynamic and starting to open up to the u.s.. this is a nuclear negotiation but there's so much got into it this has been the blockage towards engaging into the dialogue. u.s. interests have not been served in some cases ever the past 15 years, especially because we are not in a sustained dialogue with iran. we are unable to engage on issues we agree on, potentially the yemen situation, as well as the situation with iraq. here in the u.s. i think that there are a few sticks being used against negotiators and against any deal. one of them is that the iran
deal is going to signal to our allies that we are shifting towards an alliance with the u.s. and leaving them high and dry, which i think is untrue. but this does start to lift some of the barriers that have entrenched the status quo of are not talking to iran. i think that does create fear for some powers and the region who really appreciate the status quo and want the maneuverability that it gives them to have the u.s. and iran not engaging. this potentially changes that. >> i am eleanor. i worked in congress back in the 1970's. which now looks like the golden age. it is appalling what is happening now. i have a broad question and then a detailed one. the broad one, i just cannot fathom what netanyahu and the
various members of congress think they are going to accomplish by scuttling the whole deal. it would seem to me they would be much worse off. this is purely posturing for domestic-political reasons assuming that obama will pull their chestnuts out of the fire even though they will not acknowledge it. otherwise, i do not understand it. although it does not help that iran has backed off on some of the things it agreed to earlier which is not good either. my detailed question, has there been any discussion of renewing diplomatic relations between the u.s. and iran if this does go through? barbara: do you want to take a stab at the israeli question or should i? mr. abdi: i will preface your
comments about what is a strategy for netanyahu as the talks get blown up. as far as congress is concerned i don't think this is a strategic move by a lot of folks opposing this deal. i do not know that there is really a next that. there has been an avoidance and push back on the notion that if we blow up the deal we are going to go to war. nobody has provided an alternative. the alternative other than war is a better deal. a better deal is what they are trying to hammer out right now in switzerland. trying to oppose that, i don't know what the strategy would be if it fell apart. barbara: as we know, the relationship between bibi netanyahu and barack obama has been poor for a long time. the israelis were very upset back in 2013 to find out that the u.s. and iran had been talking through a back channel facilitated by oman.
the israelis felt this was a real the trail that they were not -- a real betrayal that they were not read in to these talks. the administration did that because they were worried about leaks. with admiration to my colleagues in the israeli press, they have a way of finding out things and putting things out there. in 2000, there was a summit in west virginia on syria. an israeli newspaper got a hold of the draft agreement and leak the whole thing and blew up those talks so there was no peace agreement between israel and syria. for whatever reasons, the obama administration kept those negotiations quiet. the israelis were upset about the interim agreement. although after it went into effect they did not seem to mind so much. what they envision is to keep that interim agreement in effect forever and to keep sanctions on
forever with limited relief for iran. but it is unrealistic the only reason the sanctions have worked as because they are multilateral. the europeans are not going to indefinitely maintain these sanctions and stop buying iranian oil. i don't know. it is a delaying tactic, maybe netanyahu hopes he can prevent an agreement until the next president comes in. may be the next president would be a republican more into it with his views. for now i see it as a way of exerting pressure to try to get everyone to squeeze the last possible concession out of iran. if and when they're finally is a deal, we may see a change. i do not think israel can afford to be estranged from the u.s. forever. for now, they are really playing hardball. do you want to add anything? amb. limbert: i will go to the second question.
not that i know of. now, there was talk at the end of the bush administration of sending american diplomatic personnel to a u.s. interests section in the swiss embassy in tehran. the swiss have been our protecting power. they have had an interest, they have been the representative american interests there. since 1980 when relations were formally broken. there are no american diplomatic personnel there. for the case of cuba, a large interest section with a large staff of american diplomatic personnel who are also under the swiss flag. with iran we are not there yet. we are getting there with cuba, it is interesting. no enmity goes on forever at
sometime things change, we established relations with the soviet union less than 20 years after the bolshevik revolution. with china it took us a little longer but not much, 20-some years before next went to china. it is one of those possibilities, particularly if we, if something productive something comes out of these talks which both sides see as positive. because then they can say hey, there is something in this for us. and that can lead on. it would make one prediction. once we get to that point where we are talking seriously both sides are going to ask themselves what was all the fuss about? why did we waste so much time
bashing the other side? but we're not there yet. >> i am from the new research lab. -- naval research lab. do we had a binary choice? can we be engaged with saudi arabia and iran productively? we see the saudis becoming more and more anxious, particularly with the engagement in yemen. and then looking for u.s. support in what they are doing from a sunni perspective. so we are engaged in a conflict with iran on the one hand and trying to negotiate with them on the other hand. can we actually have a productive relationship on both sides of that fence? if not, which side should we be on? barbara: my personal view is that we can have a productive relationship with both. the more relationships we have,
the more options that gives us diplomatically so we do not necessarily have to rely on traditional allies, we have new channels. obviously this makes the saudis very uncomfortable. the saudis see the region and sectarian terms. they go back to 2003 when the bush administration got rid of saddam hussein and changed the sectarian balance in the region. essentially gave iran influence and iraq that it did not had in 300 years. it is possible. it is not easy. that is one of the reasons for the seeming inconsistency in u.s. policy, the u.s. is providing intelligence help and so on to the saudis in yemen and at the same time providing intelligence help to the iraqi government and the iranians indirectly to recapture tikrit and presumably soon mosul in ira q.
john, you can talk about whether diplomacy has to be consistent. amb. limbert: no. i was in the foreign service for 35 years. i guess i was what you call a diplomat. my wife would laugh if she heard me described that way. no, there is not any. diplomacy is making in perfect deals with dubious partners. people you do not like or trust. and at one point -- i mean the saudis know this. the saudis have never broken relations with iran. they are not friends with the iranians but they have never broken relations. when necessary, they will talk. they have a lot of things to talk about -- the persian gulf, the world oil market the hajj,
holy sites. in yemen the historical irony, people who tell you it is a sectarian thing, it is sunni against shia, they may forget that back in the 1960's the saudis were supporting the zaidi shiite royalists against the nasserists. there are other interests at play. be wary of those who try to boil it down to one issue -- sectarian, persian, this or that. there are a lot of factors in
play and it is what makes diplomacy so interesting and difficult at the same time. barbara: in yemen it is a former -- in yemen it is an effort by the former president to return to power and get revenge on the saudis who have tried 4 times to eliminate him and failed. iran plays a role but probably ali abdullah saleh and the yemeni military plays a bigger role. this is a quote from a former secretary of state, "diplomacy is the art of getting the other guy to have your way." it is best practiced with adversaries, indeed. and the french, i'm not sure which they are. >> my name is jim. barbara: welcome. i was not -- >> i was not physically present
because i was sitting in my car listening on c-span radio. the world affairs council deserves a major shout out for an extraordinarily timely and substantive panel discussion. they found people who really know what they are talking about , as opposed, unfortunately, to some of my former colleagues in conference. from whom i am not sure know the difference between a shia and sunni. and certainly understand that iran is not an arab state. we are not going to get into that. 35 years is a relative blip in the history of american-iranian relations, which has been extraordinarily positive. in fact, that is probably why
the surveys that have been shown show a residual positive attitude towards the u.s. higher than the surrounding nations, towards america and americans. it really is somewhat ironic given the fact that congress is so hostile. of course, i think we all understand that it is very short-term, politically inspired position on the part of a number of them. so my question, my request would be to look into the future. understanding that every nation in the middle east is in a politically and possibly economically unsustainable position -- with the possible exception of oman and maybe morocco. for the most part, none of this can last, where we are today.
where the think we might be 10 years from now? you can just tell us where you think we should be. this can't last. where are we likely to be tomorrow? jamal abdi: the congressman helped pass legislation to lift sanctions for iranians. >> and howard berman was a great help. jamal abdi: since we are here to talk about the nuclear deal, we are looking at a deal that will last 10, 15 years. while the inspections -- those will stay in place and the restrictions will go away. i think that this deal is a challenge to come in the next 10
am a 15 years, redefined the relationship between the u.s. and iran. for this to stick, to fulfill the promise that many of us see in this diplomatic endeavor there has to be a change in the relationship between the u.s. and iran and the has to be an integration of interest between the countries. i would hope that, regarding the role of the saudi's, i would hope there is some effort, after this deal gets done, to start figuring out positive approaches to the region. how do we have the actors in the region cooperating with one another so that every move is not i win, you lose, but there is things countries can do together -- let's start talking about putting together enormous ruptures in the area, whether it is syria, yemen, or iraq. how do you get the parties at the table to talk about mutual
interest in resolving issues. there are also other areas for collaboration. the onus is on everybody who supports this deal to figure out over these next 10 years to figure out how we do that and ensure that at the end we are at a different place than today where we do not have to worry about the next diplomatic disaster and trying to put band-aids over the situation. amb. limbert: thank you for your kind words congressman. i would mention a fellow northern virginia and ambassador buyer. did a tremendous job as ambassador to switzerland. i am not supposed to say this as -- about political employees -- appointees. >> i am not supposed to say what i did about congress. amb. limbert: as ambassador to switzerland, iran became his
portfolio and was helpful to me when i was in the state department. prediction is tough. my record of prediction on iran is terrible. when we got out of tehran in 1981, i thought, five years, 10 years down the line, tempers would cool and we would at least be able to talk to each other. we would not be france but we could not -- we would not be friends, but we could talk. i was wrong. barbara: there was iran-contra. amb. limbert: if that how we would do it, that connects to the naval academy, by the way. we won't get into that part of it. we did not do it. here is what i would say.
there is a dynamic going on inside iran that has nothing to do with us. but that will affect the relationship. that is this growing distance between the state and the society. the society is progressive creative savvy, well-educated, particularly the women. if you look at things coming out of iran, what people are doing in iran. the state, what can i say -- it is just the opposite. rigid, inflexible, afraid it overreacts. i do not know how that situation can last. i do not think it can hear it is it going to change tomorrow, probably not as much as i would like to see that and many of my iranian friends would like to see that.
over five, 10, years, i do not think the situation is tenable. we should stay out of it. because, when we start mucking around in iranian internal politics, we usually get it wrong. iran-contra is a good example of that. it will affect us. it will affect our relationships. i think that change is coming. when and how, i am not sure. barbara: one thing we can do is promote u.s.-iran exchanges so we can get to know each other after all these years. there is already 10,000 iranian students in the united states, a steady increase over the last few years. not the 50,000 who came every year when the shop was in power
and i would hope more americans would go to iran as tourists students. it is a gorgeous country, there is a lot to see. tremendous historical artifacts. beautiful cities, beautiful that resides, fabulous food -- beautiful countryside's. we had a honeymoon with china in the 1980's when people wanted to go to china. if we can get this nuclear deal and stabilize that front, i think you will see a lot more of this interchange and that would be very healthy. >> great responses, thank you. barbara: thank you for your service. >> i used to work at state. you have been hinting at something i want to say more specifically. seems to me it is not the substance of the deal that matters that much. it is the fact that israel and saudi arabia just do not want a
closer u.s.-iran relationship. in the deal is symbolic of that. they are afraid of -- they would be opposed to the deal, even if it virtually shut down the iranian program. i would like to get your reaction to that. one question i wanted to ask is -- saudi arabia said, according to the news media, said they want the same deal that iran gets out of this, and that makes no sense to me. iran is such a different situation than saudi arabia, and i do not understand what they are talking about. can you shed light on that? barbara: wanted to start and i will let you guys jump in? the substance of the deal is important. the minister nation talks about
the four pathways to the bomb. -- the administration. making sure iran cannot make enough to build a weapon. that is a goal and the substance is important, that's why they are fighting like crazy and these talks are going on in switzerland, because they want specificity. >> even if those -- barbara: everyone says they are making a lot in the fact that netanyahu didn't demand the total dismantling of the iranian program. he suggested that some token, tiny nuclear program could remain. thank you from a country with 200 nuclear weapons, by the way. there is some room there. what you say -- there is a fear that unites states and iran are
going to start talking to each other and find out they do have some things in common here and there. that exposes the saudi's and the israelis. on the saudi -- i have heard trickier their former intelligence chief say that if iran gets to keep the fuel cycle, we wanted to. we want uranium enrichment on saudi soil. i do not believe it. the iranians have have a nuclear program, starting with what we gave them under eisenhower since unites and 50's -- since the 1950's, they haven't hundreds of physicists and nuclear engineers and a complete infrastructure. the saudi's have none of that. they could get some civilian nuclear plants, but they do not have the technical expertise and it would make no sense to
have a fuel cycle, they can buy low enriched uranium or reactor fuel, more easily than they could constructing it on their own soil. it is a threat they throw out there because they are upset about the talks. amb. limbert: where to start? what is a deal, by definition? a deal means mutual agreement in which i give up something to get something, and you do the same. what many of the critics -- you think is sized this aspect or that aspect, but it is not what i would call constructive criticism. most of it. what they are talking about is not a deal, but a surrender. basically, you put so much pressure on the other side that that site agrees to everything you want. in negotiations cool, they tell
you -- negotiation school, they tell you that kind of arrangement does not last because the side that feels they have been forced into a deal will get out of it at the first opportunity. another part of the israel business is interesting. i had an israeli friend tell me, five or six years ago, he said first of all netanyahu has a problem because ahmadinejad is gone. and he was big if that caps on giving. as long as he was a these outrageous things, then this justified hard-line. it is true. if he is threatening to wipe you out, you take it seriously, i
certainly would take it seriously. what my friend said was this, he said all of the talk about iran and presenting iran as this great threat. the target of this talk is not iran. at the end of the day, the prime minister -- the israeli prime minister does not care about iran. the real target is not iran but, guess to, barack obama. and that his -- that our are right has aligned with your far right, and is using iran as a weapon against the president. my first reaction was, that is far-fetched. that is too conspiratorial. that is before i started watching the activities of
sheldon adelson being. now i am not so sure. who is the real target and who are they getting at. it is an intriguing idea and i think maybe my friend was onto something. jamal abdi: i think it is very clear that benjamin netanyahu opposes any deal. i think the fact he came to congress and dangled something that was something -- outside of reality was a convenient way to present something other than the truth, which is that he does not want this deal, he doesn't want any deal because this nuclear issue is a gateway, an obstacle that has prevented other conversations from happening. a symbol of the disagreement between the united states and
iran. the substance does matter, but the deal a couple is what we set out to accomplish. it prevents iran from getting a nuclear weapon. there is no scenario under which iran has massive inspections -- every move is being watched. all of these restrictions are in place and iran decides to rationally break out and try to build nuclear weapons. it is not a rational move, it is not the iranian government way of operating. it would not work. now that this is being solved, a lot of the people who have benefited from the standoff between the united states and iran and have benefited from the sanctions, and the conflict that has managed to constrain and contain iran and the region and handicap the balance of power in the raging against iran.
they see that this issue is being resolved, they say, there are all these other things that we have problems with, and we do not want to see this excuse for having no contact between the countries actually start to be lifted. then you start talking about status quo issues inside the region that some of these countries do not want to deal with. internal issues that may need -- that they need to start dealing with. those have to be addressed. this is a fear of change. a clinging to the status quo. it might be painful at first, but this deal in the long run will be better for everybody in the region. >> suppose iran develops a nuclear weapon. what will they do with it? is there any reason to think they would use it?
if they did, the international retaliation would lead to the end of the theocracy clearly -- completely. the whole thing would be ended by a rotella torry act -- retaliatory act. isn't it to prevent an invasion by the u.s. or israel? there have been people calling for an invasion of iran in this country for years. barbara: there are a lot of motivation for the iranian nuclear program. it started under the eisenhower administration and was well developed under the shah. that is when ernie moneys went to m.i.t. it had that beginning. after the revolution, ayatollah homemani stopped it.
it started up again because saddam hussein is chemical weapons against iran and there was a tremendous fear that he was developing nuclear weapons. and that iran had to have nuclear capability to deter a nuclear attack on the country. i would mention that the precursors for some of those chemical weapons came from the united states. another thing the iranians hold against us. they never retaliated with chemical weapons against saddam, but they did start -- restart the nuclear program and got help from pakistan, the chinese, the russians, and very slowly they began to develop this capability. i think the main rationale was to prevent others from attacking. then it got caught up in national pride and all the suck
money. the -- the sunk money. from lost oil revenues, what is it $100 billion, $200 billion iran sunk into this program. to give it all up is impossible. it would be such a loss of face and make them look like idiots to have spent all this money on a program and have nothing at the end of the day. one other aspect, the iranians do not trust the rest of the world to provide them with fuel for their existence new -- existing nuclear facilities. after the revolution, they have a stake in a company in france and they never got enriched uranium out of the company. there were cut off because of the revolution. there is a desire to have independence and an independent ability to produce their own fuel. and it is a bargaining chip, the
biggest one i have. they will play this card very carefully, because they do not have anything better to trade for the concessions they want from the international community. >> peace corps director outlines changes to the organization. since she took the helm last june. she will discuss new policies aimed at reducing health. we will have her remarks from the center for strategic and international studies live at 10 a.m. eastern on c-span two. later, we will be with president obama in louisville, kentucky for his speech on technology and the economy. that is live at 2:40 p.m. eastern, also on c-span2. >> c-span is pleased to present the winning entries in this year's student cam video documentary competition. it is c-span's annual competition that encourages
middle and high school students to think critically about issues that affect the nation. students are asked to create their documentaries based on the theme the three branches and you, to dentistry and how i policy, law, or action are -- has affected them or their community. justice best in sparks nevada is one of our second prize winners, her entry focused on animal conservation. ♪ >> it affects us all. we are all going to be affected by this. if we live in a beautiful say like nevada, the health of our state. if our land is not healthy, how can we as a people be healthy. it impacts us all. the actual health of our wildlife population.
>> to many, the endangered species act is a -- it is putting the greater -- that's what we set out to discover. >> the greater sage-grouse is a declining species, there were over six 2 million a few years ago, today there are fewer than 200,000. the number continues to drop. >> the current situation with the sage-grouse, the numbers are down to about 5000, the amount of habitat the bird has has been reduced by half since the early 1900s due to development ranching wildfires, invasive species. they thrive in a sagebrush habitat and they only have half of what they originally had. they have enlisted on the threatened species list.
last case, they will be placed on the endangered species list. that could really harm the economy here in nevada. >> wildfires or invasive species. >> wildfire is number one driven by a invasive grass. >> based on the sage-grouse current threats, make the people believe placing them on this -- the endangered species list will hinder their recovery. >> one way it might help is that it will bring it more into the spotlight for the general public. people tend to pay more attention when a spacey's is in peril -- when a species is in peril. that might generate more conservation activity.
>> if the bird is listed, the bureau of land management will have to do consult with the fish and wildlife service on any management activities that occur within areas determined to be sage-grouse habitat, which is a large portion of northern about a. it will also -- northern nevada. there are conflicting opinions on whether or not this will help the bird, or will hamper the bird, because it will slow down the process of restoration. >> looking at a species, a single species, is the worst thing we can do for sage-grouse. the worst thing we can do is listed under the endangered
species act. in the 11 western states that sage-grouse is in, there have been, in the last 4:5 years corporate conservation that has been happening across the board between federal agencies, private landowners come a state agencies, and there is a huge momentum built up and my fear for our wildlife populations in general is that a listing of the sage-grouse as endangered will set back quarter conservation -- cooperative conservation. we have learned how to communicate -- and get along and work cooperatively, that i would hate to see that lost.
>> the species is a focus of unprecedented range wide conservation efforts. and to prevent it from enlisted under the u.s. endangered species act within the next three years. for example, the usda's conservation arm has been over $100 million to conserve the species. >> you need to establish core habitat zones. that is the problem with that is finding the money to do it. we have the nature conservancy and they have rehabilitation projects that would be designed to prevent wildfires, to restore areas that have been burned, and to protect some areas. especially areas where nothing is really going on anyway, no mining, no grazing, to protect those areas. >> a number one problem we have with these systems is they are surrounded by the juniper trees
that have encroached on sagebrush ecosystems. i believe we can have a large impact on improving habitat weekly. by treating wetlands, removing trees. and reducing the impact predators would have and improving the meadows. >> we all work together. we communicate collaborate. we do not set distinct boundaries. we help each other out to do multiple conservation projects for the sage-grouse. i have worked with other species that have been in decline, and i have never seen this amount of collaboration that i have seen with the sage-grouse and i think it is positive and something that needs to continue, no matter what the
listening -- listing decision is. if that happens, that is good news for the sage-grouse. >> there are huge conservation efforts to reject -- to protect the sage-grouse. if it is listed, these efforts may be halted. the people of nevada will be impacted greatly. >> it will end up on the list if we do not do something. >> to learn more about our competition, go on to c-span.org. tell us what you think about the issue this student addressed on facebook and twitter. >> here are some of our feature programs this holiday weekend. on c-span, saturday at 8 p.m. eastern, gubernatorial candidate wendy davis on the challenges facing women in politics. easter sunday at 6:30 p.m.
eastern, golfing legend jack nicholas received the congressional gold metal for his contributions to the game and community service. on c-span twos book tv, saturday that at 10:00 p.m. eastern, on afterwards, activist and author cornell west on the radical political thinking of martin luther king jr.. sunday at noon on "in-depth" a conversation with former investigative reporter or the "washington post" and author, ronald kessler who has written 20 books. on american history tv on c-span3, saturday at 8 p.m. eastern, on lectures in history is carolina professor charles calhoun on the obstacles faced by ulysses s. grant during his presidency. sunday afternoon at 6:00, historian patrick schroeder takes us on a tour of appomattox courthouse in virginia, the site
of the confederate surrender on april 9, 1865. live today on c-span, "washington journal" is next. at 10 a.m. eastern, a discussion on rowing violence in yemen and the future of that country. at 12:15 p.m., nsa director speaks about cyber security. at 3 p.m., a debate between seven candidates in the upcoming may 7 election in the u.k. in one hour in a local washington journal" we are joined by writers from the daily beast to discuss the key policy debates in washington. a conversation with editor in chief. at a: 40 5 a.m., national security correspondent nancy youssef will discuss the fight against isis, the orion nuclear
negotiations -- the iran nuclear negotiations. at 9:30, jackie kucinich talks about the religious freedom debate and what it means to the republican party. ♪ host: stepping down as chair of the senate foreign relations committee, senator menendez says he will fight corruption charges. and the justice department is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit by house speaker john boehner against the president.