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tv   [untitled]    October 19, 2011 3:31am-4:01am EDT

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five years held captive by hamas dozens of former palestinian prisoners flown into exile to countries like qatar and turkey while hundreds of others have been returned to the west bank. up next on cross talk they look at the u.s. claims it's uncovered an iranian plot to kill the saudi ambassador to the u.s. and whether there is more a behind their souring relations stay with us. we'll . review the latest in science and technology from the realms of. the future covered. came.
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along in welcoming rostock computor all about a hoax or a major security threat for oil begins the u.s. when it reads like a cheap hollywood movie script iran is accused to have been behind a plot to assassinate the saudi ambassador to the u.s. to iran denies this to washington promises a strong reaction are american and iranian relations again on a collision course. to cross-talk us a rainy in relations i'm joined by one hundred marandi in beirut he's a professor at the university of tehran in tel aviv we go to michael omar man he is a writer and journalist and in washington we cross to matthew das he's a policy analyst and director of the middle east program for the center of american progress all right gentlemen cross talk rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want may very much encourage it but first marcia tell us the latest chapter in this troubled relationship that's been a relationship set by deep hostility for three decades now but last week saw yet
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another downturn and u.s. iran ties after washington came out with accusations that iran had been plotting to assassinate saudi arabia's ambassador to the u.s. it is an outrageous act that where the rays are going to have to be held accountable and i think when you see the case presented you're going to find there is compelling evidence. but few have found the evidence compelling enough to think the allegations are not part of a larger effort to further isolate iran and pursue tougher sanctions against it and these sanctions already up for discussion in congress could include a ban on financial transactions with iran central bank as well as a ban on petroleum products sold by companies controlled by the country's elite military force the islamic revolutionary guard corps said to be involved in the plot meanwhile iran has continued to dismiss the accusations as a us conspiracy threatening to retaliate. they conduct such conspiracies against us
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frequently and bear all useless and ineffective they say that they want to isolate iran but they have become isolated themselves but u.s. officials say the case stands on its merits pointing to the long term animosity between iran and saudi arabia driven by a power struggle between the shia and the sunni as one of the reasons to iran may have wanted the saudi diplomat. there dead this alleged plot has been tied to previous accusations of iran's involvement in the murder of lebanon's prime minister rafiq hariri on top of that some see this is a continuation of iran's terrorism is against well the u.s. itself previously conducted acts of terrorism against america they've killed americans but not in the us not in the nation's capital this is a real escalation just to me that they just don't feel any fear that we will come back. and so this poses a question why would iran want to risk provoking u.s. military reaction against itself by carrying out the alleged attacks also and i'm
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going to ask you this peter what can the u.s. hope to do right now especially given the fact that many believe the evidence to be trumped up let's look at the merits of this case that i first go to private professor marandi in beirut i mean how do you make this because they make this story out to be because even though i have found it quite interesting even kind of humorous that the usual cheerleaders of american foreign policy let's say at the new at the new york times find the story to be comical in many ways and quite game dressed in other ways. well yes it is it's it's absurd and there's absolutely no motive the iranians have no reason whatsoever why they would wish to assassinate the saudi ambassador. if they hypothetically wanted to do it why would they do it in the united states which is specially d.c. which is one of the most well protected places in the world they could do it in the middle east somewhere they could find a much high profile target that's much more high profile the bastard or the saudi
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ambassador isn't a very important person at all so why would iran wish appropriate the united states and of course saudi arabia despite three decades of very poor relations with iran more or less. iran has never heard a single saudi anywhere at any time if you recall saudi arabia funded saddam hussein's war along with the americans and the europeans here they funded the weapons of mass destruction program in the europeans americans helped them develop it but killing many thousands of iranians but the iranians never retaliated so why would the iranians do such a thing now so the end of course there wouldn't is pretty bogus as well but i guess we'll get to that later years ok michael if i go to you in tel aviv what do you think of the merits of this case because it looks like a lot of legal people are looking and saying this is an obvious case of entrapment of a buffoon. i don't know about entrapment i have to say the case itself
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works strange to say the least. but let's not forget that there is between iran and saudi arabia just seven months ago we saw the wiki leaks really is quoted the saudi king of saying that the head needs to be cut off the snake of iran . not to mention that iran has. been very pleased with saudi involvement in bahrain and there have been clashes recently in between shiites and saudi forces to that and there's obviously animosity between the two. whether that is a motive enough to carry out an attack this big in the united states i have to say it sounds strange already matthew i'll get your opinion about this case because the more we look at it the more comical it appears i mean this is a gentleman even when his best closest friends say he couldn't walk in chew gum in
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think at the same time and he's making these really getting involved in things that can be so easily traceable i mean he seems like the most unlikely person to be carrying off this high level terrorist attack assassination you could actually be a prompt a war between two countries i mean what do you think of the merits of the case. on its face the the facts of the case as described by the attorney general eric holder seem very very strange they seem you know that because force has carried out various acts of terrorism over the past decades but this seems very very sloppy i think there's a real question here if the case if the allegations are in fact true where where does this land within the iranian regime but i have to say i do it does seem to me that they've done here they've not shared as much of the evidence with the public as i would like to see but they have shared the evidence with members of congress including senator dianne feinstein the head of the senate intelligence committee who has said that the evidence she was shown was very very compelling so i'm not
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inclined at all to just dismiss this plot on any mohammad if i can go to you i mean when i look at the spine in my opinion here it's it's really eerie it's i feel like it's two thousand and three right now and colin powell is addressing the security council and to go to war against iraq i mean flimsy stuff to say the least a mean a specially the cast of characters involved i mean how is what's your reaction to this i mean and we have to remember this is an election year and i want to go into that dimension as well. well first of all i'd like to add that just recently the iranians released to the two so close the hikers who entered iranian territory through iraq a military zone in an area where terrorists were active and american forces were also stationed in to the country illegally one of them's father was was in the israeli army. the iranians released them and that was a goodwill gesture so why would the iranians want to do this and carry out such an
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entire. lot of really held the law in the first place treating this as an act of you know been there for sins on the part of iran no no they're absolutely they entered iranian legally they entered iran through a highly military zone and it was absolutely absurd for any ordinary person to even be anywhere near that area let alone someone people with such a background but in any case. this was all really reminds one of. the fact they were there both americans and the three of them were americans and one of them father worked in this way in the army so the fact that. all his real reserve in the army i mean that's. ok that doesn't make it any easier the fact is that they entered the country illegally the father of one of them was an israeli army soldier they were there was a military zone and terrorists and the american forces were active in that area i think that's very clear if you arrive to iranians and then to the united states illegally through the mexican border i don't think the americans would release them
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at that easily even if the iranians demanded them to ok so let's in fact i think this is an interesting point and let's look at how the western media and western congressmen and women feel when the american government makes accusations it is immediately accepted to be true there are no questions when you i was watching c.n.n. right after the the allegations were made and it wasn't why how do we know this is true it was why did the iranians do it so it does remind us that some. true there's been a i'm sorry that's simply. writing i've been know not in the mainstream media or there's a. lot it's all over the internet it's all over the blogs it's all. the same. i just don't i can't tell you the gentlemen i did continue with michael here michael what would. you say it's all true ok i mean are they trying to pick a war with the united states and if they are why. i don't think they're trying to
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start a war with the united states. if you watched from the new interview with al jazeera last night he actually took what i considered to be almost conciliatory. deescalating tone. talked. you know he said you know we don't hate the american people although the american policies are making the iranian nation dislike the americans i don't think they're trying to. start a war with united states and to be honest i think the united states government is also trying to back down a little bit from the accusations directly against iran if you listen to five to dianne feinstein's interview i believe it was on sunday see she said point blank i have not seen any evidence that this goes to the higher echelons of the israeli government she only said within the quds force implying that there is a rogue elements within it now if they were if they sort of more like the two thousand and three buildup to the iraq war you would see a lot more accusations that the iranian government i don't think were saying that
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what do you think about that matthew i mean a is. there's brogue elements inside of the ranch let's see it is even worse isn't it. right now i think as i said earlier i think that's that's my real question is if this thing if this happened as described where does it land within the iranian government is this kind of a self starting member of the goods force but i also have to respond to the allegation that this is somehow like the build up to iraq i think the obama administration has made clear in innumerable ways but it does not desire a military confrontation with iran the militant the us military has made clear that it feels that a military intervention in iran would be disastrous for the real thing to do same time and to tell you hey i'm just here if we're going to go to a break here i think we have to have a recall you know everything is still on table john and gentlemen we're going to go to a short break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion on around the state party. and.
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plain star top team come. and you can. still. welcome back to cross talk about people about to mind you we're talking about iran u.s. relations live. if you. still live . ok mohammed you wanted to say something before we go into the break but i'd like to point out this is that and i want to talk about the israeli angle here is that israel for a long time has been calling for a military strike against iran ok but first on the hama go ahead you want to finish up what we had to say in the first part. yes i could mention a couple of things without being interrupted be grateful one is that it does remind one of two thousand and three in the sense that the united states is being just as
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dishonest. to the facts are clear. there is no motive the this story itself is completely bogus this this person who seems to be mad goes to mexico he said he. drug runner that i have a cousin who is a high general in the iranian armed forces which no one in the world would give that sort of information to a mercenary after all he went to mexico for to get to give a deniability and then he he he send a wire one hundred thousand dollars i mean even if the people who made up the story had read a couple of spying novels they know that they don't wire money especially from iran and to mexican drug dealers they would do it in cash then he when he is in prison he calls this so pose an iranian general and he tells him on the phone to carry out the operation i mean come on on the phone
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a senior iranian commander on an international line to the united states it's completely unbelievable and of course the iranians would know quite well that a drug cartel as huge as that which makes tens of billions of dollars they wouldn't risk themselves to carry out an attack on the united states to bring down the wrath of the united say so but the problem is is that the united states is deals irrationally with iran it's not a rational player when it comes to iran and this is this is just a part of that no one in iran believes this story i don't believe that many people in the united states believe this story but the fact that the u.s. government pushes such an absurd story i think it just shows that there's a very little hope for for a rational approach in any time in the future with iran in the near future at least what do you think about their man. i mean because again i mean professor marandi gave a pretty good detailed account of the story to date again you know what does the
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rand benefit from all of this i mean and the absurdity of it all unless more evidence comes out the ties it makes a tighter case it looks like utter nonsense. as i said i think there's a lot about this case that does not smell right to me. but i think the point about reading spy novels i think that goes both ways i think if the claim that mr marandi seems to be making that the obama administration simply invented this plot out of whole cloth well you know they've read spy novels too so you might think they would do a better more convincing job if they were just simply trying to snow the rest of the world i'm not saying that he said obama administration itself that it necessarily but i hope whoever did it i mean eating them said that sort of information it could be. terrorist organization it could be other. you know i understand there is a conspiracy theory you have about who is driving this i said i i think that you can see yourself in that court hearing but the bottom line is we have in iran we have
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a regime that has regularly used terrorism regularly assassinate. all right michael i'd like to go to you gentlemen gentlemen please michael i'd like to go to you i mean over the years there have been many people in the israeli political and military establishment that have called for a military strike against iran i mean how does this is settled now in the environment as we have in the arab spring and what not and we have the the sunni divide when we're looking at bahrain and these other issues which of course saudi arabia and iran are are looking at very very closely how does this all play into the mix for you because we have heard this before coming out of israel and some supporters of israel the united states that a military strike against iran is necessary. well this this incident would be very good for those calling for a strike against iran by israel or america because. the strongest ally obviously not an open ally that israel could have for such a strike would be saudi arabia they need saudi air space to reach iran and they
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need support in the arab world to do it but you know even though we have we've seen the strongest rhetoric in recent years in this under the premiership of prime minister netanyahu. and even though they have all the military. preparations ready for such a thing they are not prepared politically to do such a thing they don't have the support of united states they don't have the support of anybody really and at a time when israel is going on there for the solution this would just make it more isolated than iran is because it makes it more convenient though doesn't it i mean it makes it more convenient doesn't it i mean it does create the political atmosphere for that kind of attack i mean listening to vice president biden president obama hillary clinton you know there'll be a strong reaction i mean what else can you do and what else can the united states do against iran that it hasn't done already except for go to war. well
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president obama basically spelled out sanctions and isolation he pretty much made it clear while saying well repeating the same line that all options are still on the table he basically said we're not going to war over this. so you're right it does make it easier it does it does help the argument of a strike against iran. but. i don't think it actually advances such as the possibility of ok matthew it's very interesting here i mean we have the election cycle in the united states and just recently iran also talked about restarting negotiations with the west over its nuclear program now with this story this bizarre cockeyed story all of that seems to be going away and now mr obama is running for reelection and he needs maybe foreign policy credentials because the economy is in a in a rut i mean i'm this is not a conspiracy theory this is called politicking. i understand but i mean if there's one area in which president obama is doing very very well among american voters
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it's foreign policy it's national security so it's unclear to me why he would think that he just needs this this other point on iran and in order to bolster his credentials he's the guy who got bin laden he's been very very successful in the arranging of cultivating and bolstering an international coalition to isolate iran over its nuclear program the american people according to the polls approve of his performance on foreign policy and national security ok what do you think about that professor marandi i mean is this all politicking these the puzzle pieces coming together without being called a conspiracy theorist. well i it's obvious that the united states is doing very poorly in the middle east it's losing its influence with the with awakenings the uprisings the economy is doing very poorly israel is in isolation and saudi arabia is not doing well at all it's fearful of its waters with yamin inside saudi arabia so it would be useful to sort of make this so the ruling family the victim
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here so it does benefit the united states in many ways but there's another point that i'd like to mention and that is the the repetition of the claim that iran is behind terrorism. the americans have made these claims in iraq and afghanistan many times both iraqi government and the afghan government have denied them time after time after time and also importantly it's the irony is that is the united states that regularly care carries out terrorist attacks a use that uses drones to kill thousands of people this occupied numerous countries and iranian scientists have been put on sanctions for this and the same people who have been who are put on those later assassinated and of course the western media shows absolutely no some sympathy whatsoever for their families for their children because they assume that iran is developing a nuclear weapon this why the fact that there's never been any evidence evidence to show that so in the west the problem is that the corporate the corporate media is
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more or less on the side of what the american government does and i think that the americans do have an interest in pushing this case for for many reasons for the saudi family for israel and for itself matthew good to go to you let's let's push is saudi angle because i think it is very interesting because there was the victim of this alleged plot was a saudi citizen do you think that maybe this is something that you know not only is israel in prodding the united states to attack iran it at some point in time because of its nuclear program the saud. these are saying now and i'm kind of echoing what professor marandi had to say is that the saudis feel an enormous amount of pressure because of bahrain and because of its very troubled relationship with her around so this would be a nice card for them to play and get the americans to back them up on it no i agree i think there are you can come up with a reason just vacations for how this might benefit the u.s. saudi relationship again i i will i will admit that is one of the points that
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actually makes me more skeptical of the plot as described because he ran on which clearly like the united states iran has also suffered from the arab spring from the arab awakening but iran is seems to be very pleased with the ongoing tension in the us saudi relationship so it's unclear to me why they should want to carry out a plot like this which seems to me to have kind of papered over those tensions for the time being so yes one can develop i think the reasons for how this might benefit the saudis but to go back to president obama i think he came into office having argued strenuously for his effort his engagement effort with iran an effort to change the the u.s. iran relationship he tried that we met with with the iranians to try to hammer out some nuclear agreement this plot as described really does damage to that part of his agenda so in coming out in rolling out this evidence as they have he seems to be going against his own stated efforts and desires to change the u.s.
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around relationship so again it's not clear to me why he would want to do that. michael if i'm going to you and i got very smart to go ahead jump in. i just want to make two points one is that i think the iranians feel pretty happy about the of the uprisings and and the wakening or the. spring or whatever you like to call it because almost all the regimes are were polled pro-american dictatorships so they're very poor relations with iran so on the whole iran benefits but with regard to the nuclear program obama never did any good at all in fact when the iranians along with the brazilians and the turks if you recall work came to an agreement and obama promised to support it he wrote a letter to the brazilian president saying that he will back the agreement when the agreement was made he he quickly rejected it condemned the brazilians and the turks and then went for a new sanctions in the u.n. security council so you know obama has has not been on as he lied effectively very
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blatantly but again here despite that i think we've written live the american media well that is there and you can search it on the internet the american media never pursued this all right gentlemen we've run out of time very interesting discussion many thanks my guest today in beirut tel aviv and in washington thanks to our viewers who are watching as you are to see you next time and remember crosstalk rules.
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fed up and shutting down greeks start major all out strike possibly the biggest in years as leaders get ready to vote on even more crippling cuts. serious two way of violence soldiers reportedly turning on each other being killed during anti-government protests fueling fears of a full fledged civil war. also a third deadline by nato ordering service to remove border barricades in northern kosovo as the standoff situation is bad and back to politicians to end the impasse . and robinson who rescued a man found alive but alone on an island in russia's north after more than a fortnight with barely.


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