tv Hudson Institute Discussion on Irans Nuclear Program CSPAN October 17, 2018 9:45am-10:33am EDT
we welcome to the hudson institute mr. brian hook. mr. hook, coordinate the pressure campaign on iran. previously, he found international strategic consulting firm based in washington, d.c., held senior positions in the george w. bush administration as assistant secretary of state for international organizations, senior advisor to u.s. ambassador to the united nations, special assistant to the president for policy, the white house chief of staff's office, and counselled the office of legal policy. before that he practiced corporate law. please join me in thanking him for his service and welcome him and rebecca, my colleague here at hudson who has written widely on the security threats especially proliferation and missile threats.
i want to thank them for the time they're spending this morning with us on this issue. thank you. >> thank you for joining us. i want to thank my friends for being here to share with him -- share with us his perspective on the issues. what we're going to do this morning is brian is going to deliver remarks and then brian is going to have a seat again and we're going to engage in -- and we'll take some questions from the audience, but for those who do have questions, if you can please raise your hand and write them down on a piece of paper here that will be passed around by my colleagues and then whenever i signal to him, he'll collect those and i'll ask a couple of questions from that stack. then we'll get everybody out of here right on time. and with that, brian, the floor is yours. >> great, thanks. >> i would like to thank the hudson institute for hosting me today. i would like to thank rebecca
for extending this invitation. as many of you know, rebecca is a thought leader. nonproliferation and national security issues. i've had the opportunity to work with her and the hudson institute over many years. it's a real honor for me to be invited to give a speech on iran's missile program. when the president first directed his administration to address the iran deal serious laws in 2017, he identified three key deficiencies. the sunset clauses, the inspections regime, and, quote, "near total silence on iran's missile program." this last issue, iran's missile program, is what i want to discuss with you today. iran has the largest ballistic missile force in the middle east with more than 10 ballistic systems in his inventory or
development. the system remains among the significant challenges to broader nonproliferation efforts in the region. and it's an enduring threat to our allies and partners including israel. as secretary pompeo said in his speech in may, iran must end its proliferation of ballistic missiles and halt further launching or development of nuclear capable missile systems. history tells us clearly that advancements in ballistic missile systems often go hand and hand with the development of nuclear weapons. since ballistic missiles are the most likely way that iran would deliver a nuclear warhead is this administration has been firm on its position that the nuclear issue has to be addressed together with iran's missile proliferation. but the jcpoa, also known as the
iran nuclear deal separated these two issues. it removed iran's missile development from the equation. and focussed on restraining one facet of proliferation at the expense of another. this was among the deals key shortcomings. and one of the reasons why the president decided to end our participation in it. the deal failed to protect the american people, in part, because it failed to address iran's dangerous threat of missiles across the middle east. however, this was not always the case. prior to the iran deal the international community agreed that the best way to constrain iran's nuclear threat was to also address its long range ballistic missile capabilities. this is why the u.n. security council took action in 2010.
to target the development of iran's ballistic missiles. security council resolution 1929 prohibits iran under chapter 7 from, quote, "undertaking any activity related to missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology." even with this prohibition, iran proceeded to conduct multiple ballistic missile launches from 2010 to 2016 in clear violation of international law. the message sent by the international community was, nonetheless, clear. iran cannot be allowed to advance its nuclear program at the same time that it is developing ballistic missile capabilities. iran deal undermined this international consensus. the deal itself failed to include any language constraining iran's ballistic missile program. it gave the regime sanctions
relief while allowing it to continue and develop and refine its arsenal. worse yet, the international community back pedalled on the consensus that iran's missiles and nukes should go hand and hand. sknl -- security council resolution 2231, which formerly endorsed the iron deal and superceded resolution 1929 contained deluded language that came as welcome news to the iranians. they lobbied hard for it. as the resolution now states, iran is simply called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons. let me translate this. the international community kindly calls upon the islamic republic the world's leading state sponsor of terror to please refrain from bad behavior.
if kind words and good faith worked with the iranian regime, we would have settled this issue long ago. the new language is hardly a clear and enforceable prohibition and the iranians have exploited this ambiguity ever since. take, for example, in july 2017 when iran tested a space launch vehicle. the u.s., france, germany, and the uk all assessed that the launch violated resolution 2231 because space launch vehicles use similar technology as intercontinental ballistic missiles. when we took our concerns to the u.n., the russians were more than happy to point out that resolution 2231 contained, quote, only a call, which by all means was not a prohibition, to refrain from activities of ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons. the reality that u.n. member states ignore at their peril is
that iran has continued to develop and test ballistic missiles. in fact, let me be clear about this, the pace of missiles did not diminish after the iran deal was implemented in january of 2016. iran has conducted multiple ballistic missile launches since that time. we assessed that in january 2017 iran launched a medium-range missile. this missile is designed to carry a payload greater than 500 kilograms and could be used to carry nuclear warheads. its suspected range also approaches 2,000 kilometers, which is far enough to target some european capitals. the islamic republic maintains the largest underground facility program in the middle east. it is underground to protect and conceal many aspects of its
missile program. in 2016, iran unveiled two new short-range ballistic missiles, which it claims are capable of striking targets between 500 and 700 kilometers. iran also claims it is pursuing long range precision guided missiles, cruise missiles, which will present an increased threat to our allies in the region. iran is also in the business of supplying missiles to its proxies in the middle east, as i'm sure you have seen, recent media reports suggest that iran is transferring ballistic missiles to shia malitias in iraq. these claims are all the more serious when you take into account the life-threatening and provocative attacks on u.s. facilities recently in baghdad which iran did nothing to stop. as the president has said, the united states will hold the regime in tehran accountable for any attack that results in injury to our personnel or
damage to united states government facilities. america will respond swiftly and decisively in defense of american lives. in lebanon, we have evidence iran is helping hezbollah build missile production facilities. there's also mounting evidence that iran is provi b missile technologies to the houthis in yemen. analysis of debris recovered from a november 2017 strike close to the international airport in riyadh indicates that the missile was of iranian origin. a company logo with the letters "sbi" which matches that of the iranian company indicates and industries is written on the missile. as u.n. ambassador nikki haley said in response to the attack, imagine if this missile had been launched at dulles airport or jfk or the airports in paris, london, or berlin. this is the kind of activity
that iran is supporting, and it is continuing to support every day. what is the united states and its allies doing to address it? for starters, we ended the practice of simply admiring the problem. secretary pompeo launched a multipronged pressure campaign that reflects the president's goal of protecting the american people and our allies from the outlawed regime. first, we are using the full scope of our sanctions authorities to inflict real costs on iran's ballistic missile program. in march of 2017, and april of 2018, the u.s. imposed sanctions against a total of 19 foreign entities for transferring equipment to iran's missile program. in july of 2017, we designated 18 entities and individuals under executive order 13382 for supporting iran's ballistic missile program or otherwise facilitating the regime's military procurement.
in january of 2018, we designated four additional entities in connection with iran's ballistic missile program under the same executive order. in may of 2018, we designated five iranian individuals for providing ballistic missile technical expertise to the houthis. the videos were also responsible for transferring weapons to yemen on behalf of the irgc task force. while we're sanctions iran's missile activity, our economic pressure is much broader. the u.s. is reimposing sanctions that were lifted or waived as part of the nuclear deal. the first of these went into effect on august 7th and the remainder will be imposed on november 5th. we intend to get global iranian crude oil imports as close to zero as possible by november 4th to deny the regime revenue to fund its foreign adventurism.
as part of our campaign to stop the iranian regime's funding of terrorism, we also jointly disrupted with the uae a currency exchange network that was transferring millions of dollars to the force. regime leaders should feel the painful consequences for their violence, bad decision making and corruption. our aggressive reimposition of sanctions is aimed at forcing iran to choose whether it should cease the destabilizing activities or face growing economic pressure and diplomatic isolation. second, we are working multilaterally to constrain iran's missile program and bring allies and partners on board our campaign. we're coordinating with allies to interdict missile-related transfers and target iranian missile proliferation activities in third countries. we understand the need to strengthen deterrence in the
region to dissuade iran from spreading its missile threat. we also participate in the missile technology control regime and the hague code of conduct against ballistic missile proliferation to target iran's missile development programs. checkpoint technologies and procurement strategies and depress countries to take steps to impede iran's acquisition of missile technology. many other nations already have common understandings of the threat that iran poses beyond its nuclear aspirations. i think this is clear in our negotiations with allies before the president decided to leave the iran nuclear deal. we want more nations to join us in confronting the array of iran's malign activity. we're asking every nation that can no longer tolerate iran's destructive behavior to protect its people by joining us. finally, while not directly
related to the missile issue, another critical component of our pressure campaign is secretary pompeo's commitment to exposing the regime's brutality and standing with the iranian people. the iranian people themselves deserve to know the high level of self-interests that fuels the regime's actions and we continue to say that the longest suffering victims of the iranian regime are the iranian people. we will continue to expose the regime's corrupt monopolies, malign activities, crooked self-dealings, and outright oppression. as the secretary did during his trip to the reagan library, he will continue to engage with the iranians. secretary pompeo's goal is a comprehensive deal with iran that addresses the full scope of the destabilizing behavior. we asked the islamic republic to behave like a normal country so that it can enjoy the privileges of a normal country.
with regard to missiles, this means returning to the pre-iran nuclear deal consensus. iran's nuclear proliferation and development of ballistic missiles must be addressed together, not separately. placing temporary limits on iran's nuclear program while allowing the regime to develop and proliferate ballistic missiles is a failed policy that the world cannot continue. it is time for all nations to join us in holding iran to a new level of accountability for its destructive behavior, especially its lawless pursuit of ballistic missiles. thank you. [ applause ] >> that is the most ridiculous thing i have seen. the world community wants to keep the iran nuclear deal. our allies, our -- >> miss, miss. >> the germans, the french. >> if you want to hold -- >> they want to keep in this
deal. the world community wants to keep the deal. let's talk about normal countries and saudi arabia. >> ma'am. >> is that who our allies? they are the biggest threat to the world community. >> you need to -- >> let's talk to -- you're hurting me. you're actually hurting me. >> you're falling off the stage. >> i want to ask, do you think the sanctions are hurting the regime or hurt the iranian people? they're hurting the iranian people. you are making a case for war with iran. how did the war with iraq turn out? >> ma'am. >> you're doing exactly the same thing we did in the case of iraq. we don't want another war in the middle east. >> ma'am, if you want to go outside and give a speech you can do that. >> how did iraq turn out? how did libya turn out? we have the people of syria suffering and how dare you bring up the issue of yemen. it's the saudi bombing that is killing most people in yemen. let's get real. no more war.
peace with iran. >> she had a lot of energy for 9:30 in the morning. >> she had her coffee this morning. >> well, thank you, brian, for those remarks. thank you. thank you all for your patience for that. so, brian, thank you so much for those remarks. i think one of the things i think you said possibly the most interesting thing you said or one of the most interesting things you said, was that the iran deal, which was supposed to have a moderating effect on the regime, in fact did not have a moderating effect on the regime and the missile activity in particular was something that did not seem to be phased by the iran deal. that was one of the criticisms from those of us who were concerned about the iran deal was that because the missile program and the nuclear program,
they went hand and glove, so even if the iranians abided by the iran deal, they could continue their missile program and if they broke out of the iran deal or cheated, they could then mary it with a delivery system. i don't know if you had anything else you wanted to comment on that, but it was interesting to me that we did not see a change in their behavior under the jcpoa. >> yeah. rebecca is right. iran's pace of missile launches did not diminish after implementation of the jcpoa. they have conducted multiple ballistic missile launches. since implementation of the iran nuclear deal. when you look at the deal, it says very clearly that the deal is designed to contribute to not only regional peace and stability, but international peace and stability. i don't think anyone can argue that the middle east is more stable since the time that the iran nuclear deal was implemented.
iran has been engaging in its sort of unique brand of sectarianism and violence and exporting revolution around the middle east through lebanon, iraq, syria, yemen, bahrain. in some strange way, iran's compliance with the iran nuclear deal, which is admittedly is a low bar, compliance with that deal somehow became a seal of approval that iran was fine in all the other non-nuclear categories. when you look across the threat matrix iran presents especially in missiles, it has done nothing to diminish the pace of their missile launches. >> and let's talk about allied cooperation, and in particular, i'm just -- if you could touch a little bit on arab ally cooperation and what they see and view and understand as the problem?
obviously you mentioned the saudis in particular are feeling the effects of the iranian missile proliferation. if you could touch on where we are with our european allies and their understanding of this problem. >> when you look at the number of missiles that have been launched from yemen inside of saudi arabia, this is especially when one lands right there in the riyadh airport, this is truly a threat to international peace and security. as i said earlier, imagine if one of those missiles had been aimed at dulles or jfk or heathrow. this is very dangerous, very dangerous work that they're doing. the proliferation of their missiles, they're essentially trying to lebanonize the middle east. they were able to really develop forward deployeded missile base in lebanon and they certainly have the same aspirations in iraq and syria and yemen where
they're using the houthis as cutouts, proxies. iran is very good in the gray zone and plausible deniability for the missile attractions. we don't make a distinction between the iranian government and the iranian shia militia are around the middle east. the president spoke on that recently after attacks on our properties in basra. with respect to our work with the allies, i'm in regular touch not only with our european partners but met a couple of days ago with the moroccan foreign minister, in regular conversations with countries around the world who are increasingly worried about the missile proliferation threat. i think nations are increasingly uncomfortable limiting the scope of the discussion on iran to just the iran nuclear deal, and it's very important that nations
become more aware of the dangers that this kind of proliferation presents to their own people. iron is not really constraining its missile development and its proliferation and its testing. if we want to have a stable and prosperous middle east, it starts with constraining iran. >> and you mentioned, you know, again, talking about that missile in particular that landed in saudi. we've been collecting, we've we've been collecting as a country have been collecting some of the missile debris and weapons throughout the region and then to sort of showcase some of our allies what we've been collecting. i've seen that display. one of the things i thought was remarkable was that they're not hiding the fact that these are of iranian origin. what do you make of that? what is it -- what do we think
of the brazenness of what the iranians are doing? >> there was a prohibition in the u.n. security council under chapter 7 on iran's ballistic missile program. that was largely lifted under the security council resolution that memorialized the iran nuclear deal. i think iran understands that they have a lot of running room. as a consequence of that. so you see it. i was at bowling yesterday, and we have new exhibits, sorry to say, we have new missiles and other weapons that have now been brought to the united states from the battlefield and you can see the missiles there in farsi, very clearly, one that was recovered in yemen, you can see the industries stamped on the missile parts. if you look at the missile i was talking about that flew from yemen to the saudi airport,
right by the airport there, it's stamped with shaheed bugari industries. it's impossible to miss. they feel they can do this with impunity. that's something that the international community ignores at its peril. we have to get after this problem. >> at this time, if you all have questions you want to pass to the audience, we'll collect those. in just a few minutes -- look at that. you all are on top of things. thank you so much. great. i just -- another question on that, what do you see then -- one of the things that people who were in favor of the jcpoa, one of the things that they say whenever we bring up the missile problem, is they say we were trying to singularly focus on the nuclear piece and if we bring in other things then the deal will sink. so the iranians refused to
include missiles, so that was something that -- to me, that was an indicator that if it's that important to the iranians and if missiles are the delivery systems for nuclear weapons, then that was a signal to us they did not make a strategic decision to move away. >> correct. >> and to the extent you can talk about that, especially their space launch program. the space launch program can also be used of technology to the icbm program. do we have any -- is the missile -- is there a connection between, can we tell something about the nature of the regime and the fact they were unwilling to include especially icbms in that iran deal, their intent on their nuclear programming and the direction they want to go? >> yeah. it was a mistake not to include icbms in the iran nuclear deal. when i was engaged in negotiations with the e3 to try to address some of the deficiencies of the iran deal,
icbm was a core efficiency we needed to get addressed. nukes and icbms go hand and hand. they don't ever travel apart. it is insufficient to have in iran -- a deal with iran on its nuclear program that doesn't include icbms. more than that, though, by not including icbms, it really gave iran the kind of latitude that it desired to keep developing, testing and proliferating its missile program, but didn't limit it to just missiles. when you look at it in terms of the terrorism it supports, cyber act, cyber attacks it engages in, the maritime aggression, iran continues to threaten the straits of hormuz. far from constraining iran's regional activities we have seen an acceleration of those activities under the life of the iran nuclear deal. that is why our new strategy and
secretary pompeo's 12 requirements are meant to address the totality of threats that iran presents and the new deal that we hope to be able to sign with iran and it will not be a personal agreement between two governments like the last one, we seek a treaty. that's very important. in terms of, you know, the iran nuclear deal was an agreement made by iran with the president at the time. it was not a treaty. they did not have the votes in the u.s. senate so they found the votes in the u.n. security council. that is insufficient in our system of government. if you want to have something enduring and sustainable. that's why we have called for a treaty, which the iran nuclear deal should have been a treaty. it's something which rises to that element of nonproliferation was significant enough it deserved, i think, consideration by the senate. so we're going to keep working with our allies.
secretary pompeo talked about this in his may speech, we are expanding our diplomacy. of course, we work closely with the e3 and china and russia. we know that this threat is not limited to those countries that were members of the deal. it's much broader than that. iran presents international threats to peace and security, so an international problem requires an international solution and so we continue to work with countries around the world. >> great. we have a question to that end here. if india and china, in particular, agree to help u.s. pressure iran on ballistic missiles, what about india and china's purchases of iranian oil by india and china? then you can even broaden that and talk about in general some of our allies and partners and their continued business with iran that does continue to enable or prop up the regime. what is the united states
willing to do in order to get that to stop? >> we have said that our goal is to get imports of iranian oil to zero. i think something like 80% of iran's tax revenues are based on oil. the regime's economy is deliberately opaque. it's designed to never know whether you're facilitating commerce or terrorism. we are trying to get after the money. we have seen well over 100 major firms around the world announce their intention to leave the iranian market. that was before -- we were already seeing a decline in foreign direct investment before the president decided to leave the deal. so we are -- our sanctions regime and whether it concerns oil or the energy, banking, the whole range of revenues that float from the central bank of iran and other banks,
we're trying to get after that revenue to deny the regime the money it needs to fund its nuclear program, its missile program, its terrorism, its cyber attacks, the maritime aggression, its repression of its own citizens. that is the purpose of our sanctions regime. it's not to punish companies. it is designed to achieve national security objectives so we can contribute to a more peaceful middle east. >> i think that's important, too, because i hear a lot of people say sanctions aren't working. you have to understand the purpose of the sanctions and sometimes they take a little bit of time. >> they do. >> we're trying to get back to the international consensus, as you mentioned, pre-jcpoa, it was choking out the iranian economy the best we could to dry up the funds to use for their maligned behavior. >> we had started -- i worked at the u.s. mission of the u.n. and was one of the negotiators of all the iran sanctions
resolution 1737, 1747. many of these resolutions were the sanctions architecture that were lifted under the iran nuclear deal, it took many years for iran to feel the effects of that pressure, but ultimately they came to the negotiating table. our strongest sanctions don't go into affect until early november. we believe that iran tends to come to the negotiating table once they feel the pressure. in the absence of that pressure, they continue to behave like they've always behaved. the sanctions relief that was given to iran as part of the nuclear deal was squandered in their foreign adventurism. one of the questions i ask, why would iran spend more money -- why would iran spend less money on terrorism if given more money to spend on terrorism? that's what this regime does. i think the iran nuclear deal was premised in part under the
flawed premise this sort of relief would moderate the regime, and unfortunately we've seen the opposite. >> and i do think it's interesting even though it takes time for sanctions to take effect, it has been rather remarkable since the united states has been imposing these sanctions that the effect it is having on the iran deal. it sort of refutes the argument that we can't ever get back to that, that it's lost, that that was the best deal we could achieve and there is no other opportunity. that has not been the case. the united states is able and because many of our allies would rather do business with the united states -- >> they would. >> that the hard choices are being made and we are making a lot of progress to them. >> if you look at the 12 requirements, some have said the 12 requirements that the secretary has laid out are unrealistic. i don't know how it's more realistic to accept the status quo. the 12 requirements are the concept sus prior to the jcpoa. >> this one is pretty specific, see if you can answer and if you
can't that's okay -- what is the extent of iran's missile presence in syria? so we know that the iranian government has been poring billions of dollars to prop up the assad regime and continue that civil war. can you talk about what iran is doing specifically in terms of providing missile and weaponry? >> yes. we're seeing one thing to bear in mind is that since 2012, iran has provided $16 billion to its partners in syria, iraq, lebanon, yemen, and they've extended i think $4.6 billion in lines of credit to assad, and i don't know how this helps what's going on in syria. we are increasingly -- we are very concerned. secretary pompeo has said that all forces under iranian command
need to get out of syria. that is our requirement. as part of the political track that we are pursuing with the u.n. special representative. we do have now this agreement in idlib that gives us some space to try to make some progress along the political track. i work closely with jim jeffrey, secretary of special representative of syria engagement, our iran strategy, part of the 12 requirements, includes syria and then we also have jim and joel making -- ending iran's presence. this is, again, the -- those units under iranian control need to get out of syria. this is a diplomatic priority for jim's work.
it's a priority for my work to impose sufficient pressure on iran that the cost-benefit analysis changes for iran in terms of its proliferation in syria and that also extends to iraq. we are trying to change the cost benefit analysis for iran's maligned behavior in iraq and syria. >> is there any -- this individual wants to know is there any scope for partnering with iran on a limited scope here on the stabilization and reconstruction? i know this is getting a little bit -- you just mentioned iraq in particular, is there any prospect or any -- have you seen -- put it this way, have you seen the calculus begin to change especially in iraq, and is iran moderating its behavior or showing that perhaps it isn't worth what it's doing to destabilize iraq and they could be part of the solution? >> i think after you saw the press reports about iran bringing missiles into iraq, you
then had attacks on our embassy. a couple of weeks ago on thursday and friday. then you had the attacks saturday in basra. you had the missile launches from inside of iran into irbil. so we have -- the president has signalled to the iranians that we are taking this, it seems to be some sort of escalatory behavior on the part of the iraq very seriously and america will take swift and decisive action to protect our properties and people in iraq. it's important that the iranians understand our resolve. >> i like this question. this is -- you -- you work closely with our allies in trying to make some progress on this front, what about congress? what's the extent that you have any interaction in persuading
and talking to congress and do you see in this highly politicized environment right now, during the jcpoa negotiations, you had senators, like senator schumer, who laid out -- i thought senator schumer made the best case for not agreeing to the jcpoa. he wrote a press release and laid out these things and missiles was one of his concerns. do you see opportunity for consensus in cu consensus in congress to implement sanctions? >> i work closely with the house foreign affairs committee with chairman royce, chairman corker, the ranking members, various members on the committee, i have made it a point during my time working on iran to work very closely with both houses of congress. you had a lot of opposition to the iran nuclear deal while it was being negotiated. there was a period then when the president had said that he's
willing to stay in the deal if we can address these three deficiencies. there was support i think in the congress for doing that. we were not able to reach an agreement with the e-3 to address -- we got close, but we were not able to end the sunset provisions. iran has not earned the trust of the international community to have restrictions on its nuclear program lifted. for us, in addition to icbms it was critical we end the sunsets and that the one-year breakout standard exists in perpetuity. we were not able to do that. the president left the deal -- now that we're out, we're very much focused on achieving our objectives across the range that iran presents. in my discussions with congress there's a great deal of support. this is not an issue with many factions. it's something i think everybody recognizes the problem and congress has been a very good partner in this way.
>> that's great and encouraging. i thought of something, too, as our little friend was talking here in the beginning, she was talking about how this would hurt the iranian people, but to the contrary, actually, part of the trump administration's approach towards iran, which has been remarkable and right on, which is to say, no, the iranian government has been the number one threat to the iranian people in peace in iran. >> yeah. >> can you talk a little bit about the separation between the regime and the iranian people? >> yeah. a couple of things, in the 2009 when we had the green revolution there, the prior administration failed to stand with the iranian people, and we corrected that mistake. in december and january, from the president on down, across the executive branch, strong, clear, robust support for the
iranian people validating the demands that they are making on their government. when you look at some of the demands that they're making, it's the same demands that we're making. so the president will be giving his speech at the u.n. general assembly next week. i'm sure iran, i'm assuming last time he talked to the iranian people in those remarks, we're going to continue that. it's very important that the iranian people know that we stand with them in terms of the demands they're making on the government. our sanctions regime has exemption, very clear exemptions, for the -- for providing humanitarian relief and food and medicine and other things. that's going to continue. our sanctions are directed at the iranian regime so that they
change their behavior. it's as simple as that. we need the regime to change its behavior. we've been very clear about the areas where we need to see them change their behavior. if they're willing to do that, there's a very bright future in store, but we need to see that behavior change first. >> and it is worth noting, that again, after the jcpoa was implemented and there was sanctions relief and the iranians received this revenue that the iranian government didn't spend it on their own economy and helping their own people and that terrorism continued, missile development continued, and the iranian people, obviously, saw that. they had patience in the beginning and that ran out. the kinds of protests we're seeing now are different than the green revolution in that you're seeing it against all demographics and socioeconomic status in iran. it really just seemed different, that it really is against the regime itself. it's a remarkable thing that's
happening right now in iran. >> it is. >> i have to ask this question, it's the last question, it's been asked multiple times, people want to know what is the possibility for a high-ranking meeting between the united states government and what are the prospects there? >> i met with the iranian foreign minister on the margins of the joint commission meeting in vienna a number of months ago when we were still in the iran deal. i presented him with a list of americans who are being unjustly detained inside of iran and i said these people have suffered long enough and they need to be let go. that was the nature of my conversation at the time. the president and secretary have all made clear that we are ready to negotiate and to have those discussions, i think the ayatollah and the president and the foreign minister have all indicated that they're not interested in talking -- that's their position.
we respect that. that does not change our plans. we have a sanctions regime that is under way, the stronger measures are yet to come, and as i said, there hasn't been any aversion to meeting with the iranians. i've done it. we also had a meeting -- there was a joint commission ministerial during the last conference that the united states attended so we've made it very clear and we can't be more clear about the sort of things that we would like to see changed and in return these are the things that we're willing to offer. that's where it is. >> brian, i want to say thank you so much for the work you do on behalf of the u.s. government and thank you for your remarks here in the time that you spent with us. please join me in thanking ryan. >> thank you. [ applause ]
tonight american history tv is in prime time with programs on congressional history. we'll look at a re-enactment ceremony of the creation of the u.s. capitol and hear remarks from congressional members, the architect of the capitol and leaders in the capitol's statue wary hall. members of congress are in their home districts with most campaigning for the midterm elections in 20 days. both house and senate will return after the election. the house will work on funding the federal government past the december 7th deadline, and the
senate will return for votes on coast guard programs and the nomination for the federal reserve board. see the house live on c-span and watch the senate live on c-span 2. the founder and ceo of amazon was the keynote speaker at the 2018 air, space and cyber security conference held by the air force association. jeff bezos talked about innovation and commercial space travel development by his new company blue origin. this is about 50 minutes. >> thank you for being here again and thanks to you, mr. bezos, we really appreciate you taking the time to spend a little time with us. >> thank you. i'm really delighted to be here. >> so, i have a wife that spends a lot of money and i live in the d.c. area, and i could be looking for a job soon.
any announcements you want to make about your headquarters? >> thank you, larry. we'll make a decision before the end of the year. that's all i can say on that topic. we're excited to make that decision. i hope your wife is spending some of that money on amazon. >> absolutely. >> good. >> absolutely. one of the reasons we're happy to have you, you're right in the wheelhouse of everything that has been going on here the last few days. especially as we talk about innovation, if anyone epitomizes innovation, it's you and your companies. a lot of questions that have come up the last few days is, how do you encourage employees to be innovative? there's -- you know, we've talked a lot here about the frozen middle, how folks will