tv [untitled] October 19, 2011 8:30pm-9:00pm EDT
and it's all changed things as financial temple the reason to maintain a confidence in long kids and you don't want to be seems wait a moment is recession look maybe missions close to collapsing is so close. that some fail simple a basic in feel like thing is us crash and i've been smashed feeling. like all the judges in athens three be i meant for me i'm just programs increase the total economy. you know sometimes you see a story and it seems so for life is that you understand it and then you glimpse something else you hear or see some other part of it and realize everything you thought you knew you don't know i'm sorry welcome to the big picture.
of the world. bringing you the latest in science technology from the ground floor. we've got the huge earth covered. live. live live. live keep the lists. listen to the. below and welcome the crosstalk i'm curious about a hoax or a major security threat for oil begins the u.s. what 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 randomize this to washington promises a strong reaction are american and iranian relations again on a collision course. you can. start listening. to cross talk us a rainy and 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 amir 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 in our relationship with hostility for three decades but last week's on yet another downturn in 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 razor 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. which 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 vamp a trillion 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 boys threatening to retaliate. they conduct such conspiracies against us frequently and they are 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 sunni as one of the reasons to iran may have wanted the saudi a diplomat. there dead this illusion 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 in against well the us itself previously conducted acts of terrorism against america they killed americans but not in the us not in the nation's capital and this is a real escalation against me 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 going to ask you both spader what can the u.s. hope to do right now especially given the fact that many believe the evidence to be trumped up well russia let's look at the merits of this case i'd like to first go to peru professor marandi and beirut i mean how do you make this because they make
their story out to be because even i have found it quite interesting even kind of humorous that the usual cheerleaders of american foreign policy would fit the new at the new york times find the story to be comical in many ways and quite dangerous 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 especially 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 macit or the saudi ambassador isn't a very important person at all so why would iran which 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 they find their weapons of mass destruction program in the europeans americans help them develop it but killing many thousands of iranians but iran is never retaliated so why would the iranians do such a thing now so the then of course they're pretty bogus as well but i guess we'll get to that later yes 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 at it in this is an obvious case of entrapment of a buffoon. i don't know about entrapment i have to say the case itself looks strange to say the least. but let's not forget that there is. iran and saudi arabia. several months ago. we can fix really is.
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. saudi forces you had iraq 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 and you actually ask you your opinion about this case because the more we look at it the more common call it appears i mean this is a gentleman even his best closest friend said he couldn't walk and chew gum in drink 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
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 the scenes you know they could force has carried out various acts of terrorism over the past decades but this seems a 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. here they should be 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 showed was very very compelling so i'm not inclined at all to just dismiss this plot already mohamed if i'm going to you i mean when i look at this time in my opinion here it's really eerie it's i feel like it's two thousand three right now and colin powell is addressing the security
council to go to war against iraq i mean flimsy stuff to say the least expects leave 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 an area where terrorists rocked the many american forces were also stations the in entered 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 carry out such an entire. lot of really held the law in the first place treating this as an act of you know been there for since on the heart 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. it was all really reminds one. the fact they were there both americans and three of them were americans and one of them as father worked in the israeli army so the fact that. israel reserve in the army i mean that's. ok we'll 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 write to iranians again for the united states illegally through the mexican border i don't think the americans would release them out 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 allegations were made and it wasn't why how do we know this is true it was why did the iranians do it so. that simply because military crew there's been a story that's simply not. have been. not in the mainstream really or this latest theory is flawed it's all over the internet it's all over the blogs it's all. i could get i think you're really gentlemen i did hear you with michael here michael would 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 start a war with united states. if you want to from the interview with al jazeera last night he actually took what i considered to be almost a conciliatory. deescalating tone. he 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 thought to dianne feinstein's interview i believe it was on sunday 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 rogue elements within it now. if they were if it was 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 well do you think about that now if you let me is a. rogue elements inside of the ranch let's see if it is even worse isn't it. so right now i think as i said earlier i think that's so that's my real question is if
this 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 a build up to iraq i think the obama administration has made clear in innumerable ways they did does not desire a military confrontation with iran the military the u.s. military has made clear that it feels that a military intervention in iran would be disastrous for the real in the same time and say ok i'm just here because it has to go to a break here i think we have to have recall you know everything is still on cable channel 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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moseley braun can play videos for your media projects for free media don carty dot com. players can still. listen to the. live welcome back across talk of people about to my job we're talking about iran's u.s. relations live can still live . ok mohammed you wanted to say something before we went to the break but i'd like to point out this is that and i want to talk about the israeli angle here as it 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 if i could mention a couple of things without being interrupted i'd be grateful one is that it does remind one of two thousand and three in the sense that the united states is being
because of the sanest. 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. too a 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 a ticket to give a deniability and then he he sent 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 operations i mean come on on the phone
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 states but the problem 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 the story i don't believe that many people in the united states believe the story but the fact that the u.s. government pushes such an absurd story i think it just shows that there is a very little hope for for a rational approach in any time in the future with iran in the near future at least when you think about grandma. i mean because again i mean professor marandi gave a pretty good detailed account of the story today again you know what does the rand
benefit from all of this i mean and the absurdity of it all unless more evidence comes out and ties it 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 the obama administration simply invented this plot out of whole cloth well you know they've read spy novels too so you know i think they would do a better more convincing job if they were just simply trying to snow the rest of the world on nancy 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 i just want you know i understand there is a conspiracy theory you have about who is driving this i said i i think not even the second is going to hear it but at the bottom line is we have in iran we have
a regime that has regularly used terrorism regular use assassination i'm sure. they're all right michael i'd like to get 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 if called for a military strike against iran i mean how does this is settled now in the environment that we have in the arab spring and what not and we have the the the shia sunni divide when we're looking at a 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've heard this before coming out of israel and some supporters of israel united states of 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
need the support of the arab world to do it but you know even though we have we've seen the strongest rhetoric in recent years and this under the partnership of prime minister netanyahu and even though they have all the military. preparations ready for such a thing but they're not prepared politically to do such a thing they don't have the support of the united states they don't have the support of of anybody really and at a time when israel is going under further i thought this would just make it more isolated than iran is because of it makes it more convenient voters and i mean 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 it will be a strong reaction i mean what else can you do it when else can the united states do against iran that it hasn't done already except to go to war.
president obama basically spelled out sanctions and isolation he pretty much made it clear was saying well repeating the same wind 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. against iran. but. i don't think it actually advances sort of the possibility of it 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 story all of that seems to be just gone away and now mr obama is running for reelection and he needs maybe foreign policy credentials because the economy is in a in a in a rut i mean i'm this is not a conspiracy theory this is called politicking. i understand what i mean if there's one area in which president obama is doing very very well among american voters
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 in order to the polls or his credentials he's the guy who got bin laden he's been very very successful in in a ranging cultivating in 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 national security ok when you think about that professor marandi i mean is this all politics in d.c. puzzle pieces coming together without being called a conspiracy theorist. it's obvious that the united states is doing very poorly in the middle east it's losing its influence with the with their weight innings rising the economy is doing very poorly israel is in isolation and saudi arabia is not doing well at all it's fearful of its borders with yamin inside saudi arabia so it would be useful to sort of make this so the ruling family the victim 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 the irony is that if the united states had regularly carries out terrorist attacks he used a uses drones to kill thousands of people this occupied numerous countries and iranian scientists have been put on sanctions list and the same people who have been who are put on those lists later assassinated and of course the western media shows absolutely no sympathy whatsoever for their families for their children because they assume that iran is developing a nuclear weapon despite the fact that there's never been any evidence evidence to show that so in the west the problem is the corporate the corporate media is 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 a for many reasons for the saudi family for israel and for itself let's go to you with which bush is saudi angle because i think it is very interesting because there was the victim of this alleged plot was really a saudi citizen do you think that maybe this is something that you know not only israel and probably in the united states to attack iran it on at some point in time because of its nuclear program assad. these are saying now and i'm kind of echoing what professor marandi had to say is that the saudis feel enormous amount of pressure because of bahrain and because of its very troubled relationship with surround 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 to make a sense for how this might benefit the u.s. saudi relationship but again i will i will admit that is one of the points that
actually makes me more skeptical of the plot as described because you ron 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 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. around 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 the evidence as they have he seems to be going against his own stated efforts and desires to change the u.s.
around relationship so again it's not clear to me why he would want to do that. michael finally i've got various mine to go ahead jump in. i just want to make two points one is that i think the iranians feel pretty happy about the uprising and the way or the. spring or whatever you like to call it because almost all the regimes are pro-american dictatorships that are 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 he ran into 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 greenman when the agreement was made he he quickly rejected it condemn 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
blatantly but again here despite the written by the american media the matter is there and you can search it on the internet and american media never pursued this all right general brown a time very interesting discussion many thanks my guest today in the route to live even and in washington thanks to our viewers for watching us here are keep see you next time and remember crosstalk rules. you know sometimes you see a story and it seems so you think you understand it and then you glimpse something else you hear or see some other part of it and realize that everything you thought you knew you don't have time hard to come to the big picture.
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