tv Larry King Now RT November 29, 2013 10:00pm-10:31pm EST
but. i would like to go that you know the price is the only industry specifically mention in the constitution which says that's because a free and open press is critical to our democracy which recall for us. will. never go on. and on this show we are a few of the picture of what's actually going on in the world we go beyond identifying the problem to try to fix rational debate and a real discussion critical issues facing america have occurred you know ready to join the movement then welcome to the big.
nice conversations with great minds i'm joined by dr trita parsi the founder and president of the national iranian american council i can parsi is the recipient of the twenty ten grol meyer award for ideas improving world order and an expert on u.s. iranian relations iranian foreign politics and the geopolitics of the middle east he's also the author of numerous books including his most recent a single roll the dice obama's diplomacy with iran dr parsi welcome to the program well thank you for having me thank you have you with us just a few months ago former president body sautter of iran wrote an op ed in response to the movie argo actually in which he said i openly opposed the hostage taking throughout the election campaign telling students that occupy an embassy in the heart of tehran was a sign of courage is rather than courage i won the election with over seventy six percent of the vote other candidates who were openly against us is taking over all ninety six percent of the votes in that election were good. the candidates who are
against it so saying that the u.s. narrative in the narrative that was portrayed in the movie argo all of iran being anti-american was absolutely the reverse of what was the reality at that time and then he said i told khomeini and ronald reagan had it organized a clandestine negotiation later known as the october surprise which prevented the attempts by myself and then president u.s. president jimmy carter to free the hostages before the nine hundred eighty us presidential election took place the fact that they were not really used to the results of the election in favor of reagan and these are the words of the form of the president of iran at the time that the hostages were being held up to the election. the october surprise or the excuse me the iran contra hearings later on found that at that time in october of one thousand nine hundred by israel we were delivering tires to rob was that the beginning of the post revolution us back channel or possibly to the extent that we know that this is true
about the beginning of a new opening of a relationship between the united states and iran that was not visible to the rest of the world and if so or if not has there been such a thing at times you know how does that inform our understanding of contemporary us or any relations and i don't know if i would call it so much a beginning of a relationship as it was the beginning of these sporadic behind the scenes negotiations conversations that were taking place none of which incidentally had been continuous this is not a channel in the sense that it was continuous and the u.s. and iran have been able to return to work because it was so functional that they always could return to it on the contrary there's been sporadic efforts and a lot of it has taken place behind the scenes and a lot of it is because of the fog of both sides disagree and oppose each other oftentimes using ideological just a few cations for the opposition and as a result even when they have common interests. it's very difficult for both sides
to openly admit that they're talking to each other or that they are collaborating with each other because it would go completely in contradiction with their other statements in which they are essentially rejecting the existence of the other from the iranian side they're rejecting the presence of the united states in the middle east believing that the us has to leave the means and of course when the us is siding rejecting the existence of these stalwart republic you prefer being quite clearly a different regime in iraq which is not necessarily an unpopular view inside to be wrong even. for in something closer to the shah or something closer to. a. more. secular democracy or what i mean what is i don't think. it's very clear idea inside the u.s. government or what the alternative would or should be what i think is oftentimes driving this is the belief that the viewpoints the world view of the people inside this current regime in iran is such that the u.s.
will never be able to fully come to terms with it and as but it's not because of that you politics of the country or the general orientation of the country it's because of the nature of this regime this is the argument and as a result the regime needs to change any of the regime more or less would probably be preferred will in the sense that it would then have the same type of perceived ideological hiccups about dealing with iran but with the united states so that's that's one perspective or one school of thought within the u.s. government now one can debate whether it's valid or not we can also debate as to whether that truly is the way that they're viewing it or whether it is that they prefer to have a regime perhaps that is more pliable and less control more controllable and as a result doesn't create the same type of headaches for the united states in the middle east. by the regime. many people would think that's the new president rouhani. and. so. and we
always used to point to. and say oh yeah look at you know he's the guy in charge but that's not really the regime. rouhani is definitely a very central part of the regime and he's the regime insider but it's something very very interesting has not happened in iran in the last couple of months the elections and the election results in the wrong took a lot of people in iran in the west and elsewhere by surprise people came out in very large numbers and they participated in the elections in spite of what happened four years ago when there was massive fraud in the elections they came out nevertheless to participate in they gave their votes. their votes to the most moderate candidate that was very little to them we have to remember a lot of people wanted to run in this election but they were not permitted to run by the guardian council but if you take a look at those who were permitted those who were read it the people gave their
votes to the one that was most moderate and this is an individual who has been at the center of a lot of iran's negotiations in the past including on the nuclear issue is viewed as someone who truly believes and understands the very. in depth so you know internalize the meaning of the policy and i think there's a lot of hope right now inside of iran that this new president will have some opportunity to change the dynamic of the relationship with the outside world particularly with the west but he does not have an infinite amount of time to do this he will need to produce something positive to go back in order to strengthen his position and be able to continue on this course and he was actually formerly a nuclear negotiator he was formerly a nuclear negotiator and he was the individual who negotiated with the three european foreign ministers in two thousand and three when they did a good we to a suspension of their richmond program. that agreement for about twenty months
something that later on he was heavily criticized for because the iranian perspective was that the wrong is agreed to suspend enrichment but they got nothing for it and that it would be really got that bad end of the deal for that now he's got a second chance and he's working very hard it seems to on the one hand vindicate his past record and to say that that deal was a good deal but also then be able to strike a new deal with the west in order to alleviate the economic pain and other problems that the iranians are facing right now as a result of the sanctions he recently tweeted happy new year to the jews of the world and of the rant. you know you guys if you're stopped. i think it wasn't him it was the foreign minister was very different and there was a very responded by saying that the that's not the position of iran and that the person who was perceived to hold those views are now gone have a good day it's very interesting because they didn't exactly what's interesting is
that for the last eight years hardly accused the image of the crowd of knowing anything about how to do public relations and deal with the international audience now clearly just in the last two weeks we have seen that rouhani even his foreign minister is not only savvy about how to send out a message and do much more effective p.r. but they're also very adept at using completely new media twitter facebook to do so i mean he's having extensive conversation on his face book what about one hundred fifty thousand fans about things as complex as the situation in syria what's what's a bit ironic about all of this of course is that while the iranian government is embracing facebook and twitter they're doing so at the same time that large parts of the population in iran are forbidden from using facebook because of an entire set. to. the whole difficulty that the iranian government has created such as
blocking the sites it's so interesting the. just to. aggression be when the shah was in power. ayatollah khomeini was in exile in paris he was making tape recordings literally little tape or koreans audio tape recordings and they were smuggled into iran and every week i guess it was or maybe every month and they were duplicated and people listened to them and that became the basis for the revolution overthrowing the shop and that was that as i say revolution and the cutting edge technology you have to write a nine hundred seventy seven and so tonight and so that was that was the twitter of the day you know could it be this new administration in iran embracing these new technologies or the modern day equivalent of what many used could be the downfall of maintenance here it could very well be i mean i think at the end the day of the
iranian regime has shown its fear of technology in the hands of its people in a sense that they've created an alternative internet an entire internet for the entire country so they can block and they can slow down the speed of internet to the outside world while continuing to use the interests of internet inside the country so they have had this fear of letting technology fall into the hands of the population while they themselves love embracing new technology. and that ranges from everything from twitter to facebook and social media to other things this is now is a country were regime that ever really has even in its conservatism has not rejected new technology they're fascinated by it and in some areas they excel in nanotechnology is one of the things for instance that iranian scientists are on the cutting cutting edge and i think knowledge and they're producing more papers published in international journals. science in areas such as that it's. been
almost any other country in the world and certainly number one in the entire middle east so it's yet another one of those contradictions because in many ways this is a regime that is very conservative and it is. pushing back against winds of progression and things of that nature on the other hand they're quite advanced and progressive and embracing taking all the g.'s elsewhere it's a fascinating schizophrenia it's not quite the right word you know it goes beyond schizophrenia but it's you know you wonder how sustainable it is we have about thirty seconds before the break do you think that they will be able to hold that for example internet wall i think ultimately. they're not going to be able to obtain their own objective such as improving the economy unless they created more open society and i think the new team understands that they cannot sixty economy will continue to have a close aside see and have the security environment. that is really suffocating.
and then there's the fear that that will have been provoked political change will continue this conversation more of tonight's conversations with great minds with dr critic r.c. after the break. i would rather i asked questions to people in positions of power instead of speaking on their behalf and that's why you can find my show larry king now right here on our t.v. question. i've
got a quote for you. it's pretty tough to. say what it's about story. let's give this guy what would smear about guys stead of working for the people both missions the mainstream media are working for each other bribe bribes to shoot a lot. of it did rather. well. science technology innovation all the latest developments from around russia we've gone to the future covered. and welcome back to conversations that great minds i'm speaking with dr tripp parsi
founder and president of the national marine american council on syria is in the news this week all this. year and the last few years in a big way and iran has been one of the countries that has been most outspoken in opposing the use of poison gas there's a back story. i'm curious your thoughts on. the p.t.s.d. perhaps that iran's national psyche as a consequence of saddam hussein using poison gas that was probably supplied by the u.s. certainly targeted by the u.s. strikes against the are going to take out saddam hussein used against iranian population and soldiers as well as civilians it was primarily provided to him by european countries. and there's germany france i believe to some extent but the u.s. actually was involved we know about because the cia document that's just came out
of. about a month ago that showed how the u.s. was involved in. helping coordinate some of those attacks and turned not just to a blind eye to the fact that saddam was using gas but essentially encouraged it and this was during the reagan about this is during the reagan administration so no other country in the world has been exposed to chemical weapons in the manner that iran is not in the last few years and this is definitely a very traumatic experience for the iranians so while on the one hand they're very supportive of the saudi regime view that as being at that critical strategic relationship that they have and at the same time when there are indications that saudi has been using gas it has created a tremendous amount of. conversation some of them very public in iran that indicates that some members of the iranian regime believe that assad was the person behind the attacks and they're certainly not particularly comfortable or how you would at the same time they're opposed to the idea that there would be strikes that
would get rid of assad and in his place either some sort of pro-american regime or more likely that syria would fall into the hands of al qaida and and elements controlled by saudi arabia because at the end of the day. from the perspective of these powers that are gotten themselves involved in syria the united states saudi qatar turkey iran russia this is really not about humanitarian issues or anything like that this is a big geopolitical game that is being played right. and all sides seem to have doubts as well as competing in interests even within the position that they have taken the oil and natural gas at the center or to what i think the iranians support regime in syria is because he's an alawite which is arguably a shiite. so many of the the other countries are sunni controlled you know saudi arabia that's opposed to us. i frankly think it's
a very minor factor at the end of it because the relationship that iran has with syria started under his father. and. came around because syria together with libya with certain extent were the only arab countries that were more or less on the side of iran and the iraq iran war and syria had significant tensions with iraq because they were both competing for the control of the ba'ath party assad is a both its as it were as was the fact that they were allied. and not proper sudanese in the eyes of some of the sunnis was really not that much of a factor the ideological differences between syria and iraq are far greater than any type of similarities assad is a very very secular. secular mind and the entire regime in the entire country was quite secular as you know the relationship was format a moment when the iranians were pushing for spread of fundamentalism and the establishment of a solvent regime throughout the region what pushed them together and what
incidentally has sustained that relationship up until this point and we'll see if it's going to survive this is the common do strategic objectives and concerns that and in a bizarre way this is frankly probably the in the longest most durable relationship within the region as a whole certainly the most durable relationship with the iranians have had with any other country in the region it's. is the. saudi arabia and qatar. are both sunni controlled even though saudi arabia in particular has a large population almost a majority of. the percent in saudi arabia has a majority. in the when the west these. issues in the region are so often characterized as sunni and we saw that played out in a. simple process. as we went through iraq and particularly assured neighborhoods
is. what is the what is the shia sunni dynamic to what extent is iran being sure they should play into that how does that affect politics in iran and in that region do you see these things changing it's change for the worse right now. the shia sunni thing has always been there and it's you know it's always been in the background most of the time but it's not necessarily at all as pronounced as that is right now what i think is happening is that there are very significant geo political rivalries taking place in the region in which again utilizing a sick tyrian card playing that card has a far greater resonance far greater impact on the ground than fighting this is if there were just pure political battles i think saudi arabia plays a very important role here and much of the responsibility for the increase in six here and it falls on the decisions made by the government in saudi arabia because
they have been trying to repel iran's influence growing influence in the arab world by constantly emphasizing iran's shiite nature and that this regime and create a separation between themselves as sunni's and iran as a ship they also up its. persian not as arab not as much of this she i think has been more of a. pressing point now that was not a particularly successful strategy for most of the past decade in fact when iran was siding with hezbollah during the libyan. war in two thousand and six iran stocks on the arab streets were at its heights because it was viewed as one of the few countries in the region that had the guts to stand up to the united states and israel whereas saudi arabia the fact there was viewed as an ally of israel and.
this was very problematic for the saudis and they were trying to play the shiite card in pointing out that the shiites are now taking over iraq etc and it really didn't stick. until the civil war in syria began and assad's very brutal killing of a very large number of certainly is that people were seeing on their t.v.'s throughout the middle east and the impression was see the shiites are killing the sudanese. assad is. he's close to the shiites since it is through the cities and iran is this you have at that point you started to see that on the street level. of the conflict started to actually resonate and started to stick up until that point it's really it's sort of most researchers it was more localized to the areas where it was being fought such as in iraq. and moreover more importantly the roots of the conflict is not the solution here we saw this issue of six hearing is and being
instrumental lies by those who believe that an increase in security and warfare would benefit their geopolitical objectives. the united states has been aligned in large part with these sunni dictatorships are countries saudi arabia bahrain qatar saudi. and soon are in charge and largely at the moment i find myself largely opposed to the perceived shia you corrected that but not so much syria but i think that's the perception of the average american and more shia iran. could it be that you know for example the way pre world war two or during world war two the u.s. was of ally with the soviet union and then after world war two with that back kind of relationship is about the look we're seeing saudi arabia and qatar both you know you're competing with each other to build pipelines through syria and. you know
intervening in a civil war and iran is kind of playing the good neighbor right now it seems so far . misconstruing i think it's very complex i don't know if anyone frankly is being a particularly good neighbor right now i think that foreign elements in iran included that. in many ways helped prolong this war. now i think the way to stop it of course is through a diplomatic process in which all of these parties have to be at the table and i think the iranians have certainly been more open society of the promise than the saudis have. sides have rejected and have refused to talk to the iranians directly about syria either whether it was the middle east quartet with egypt turkey iran and saudi arabia the saudis going to show up or whether it's been through russian american effort in geneva in which the saudis are made very clear they're not. they're not open to the idea of iran that is. what i think you will see in the
region going forward is that what we're seeing essentially is the collapse of the american worker and united states is not the decisive power as it was in the process and as a result complex that were kept in check are no longer in check and there are sitting up there bubbling up and conflicts that could be resolved that are not getting resolved because there's no the size of mechanism any longer to really be able to do so that's going to lead to unfortunately years of instability and there's probably going to be several different iterations of shifting alliances until in new equipment room is found in that region i think our dad is an inevitable process so i don't see us in any way shape or form being able to get around it and i don't find it very likely that the united states is going to be able to one to be able to really adopt the position of being the ultimate guarantor of the security of the region being the head to monitor the event as it was before two thousand and three using that that metaphor would it be reasonable to suggest that while much of the region is sort of at the leading. those kind of
changes and transformations iran is at the tail end of it but they've been going through that since seventy nine eighty and now you know particularly with rouhani coming into power they're seeing a resolution in some ways one could point out that the political changes taking place in iran. while not necessarily making the situation better for them certainly when you take a look at cern in there is the canonical form of such as not have been better but there's some political processes in phases that seem it seems like the iranians have processed through the region is now starting to explore i thought it was very interesting about people getting elected participate in the elections this time around in spite of what happened last year that it was very interesting to see some of the pictures people were putting up on facebook for instance one picture in particular really struck stood out to me which was a picture of the many many egyptians they were essentially assassinated as worded in egypt when the military crackdown on the muslim brotherhood in the supporters of morsi and underneath the picture of all of these that egyptians it said revolution
and then there was a pictures of iranians dancing on the streets in tehran after the election celebrating rouhani is victory and underneath that picture is said reform and evolution. and it was. really you know a very deep understanding that at the end they did a reform and evolution is going very slowly it's very painful and it's not all as fast as the people would want it to be but the alternative is what you see in egypt today is that what you see in syria today and what you saw in iran thirty years ago and that doesn't mean that people are happy with the reform process or with the speed of it or any other has because of it it is a realisation on their standing at the alternative seems to be something that has a high likelihood of being much worse trita parsi thank you so much thank you so much the nation. to see this and other conversations of the great minds go to our website of conversations with great buy this dot com.
i know c.n.n. the m.s.m. b.c. fox news have taken some not slightly but the fact is i admire their commitment to cover all sides of the story just in case one of them happens to be accurate. that was funny but it's close in for the truth and i think. it's because one whole attention and the mainstream media work side by side the joke is actually on here. at our teen years we have a different right. ok because the news of the world just is not this funny i'm not laughing dammit i'm not god. i thought. you guys have to be jokes while handling me that i'm.
if. crosstalk rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want. but tonight's conversations with great minds i'm joined by constitutional trial attorney daniel sheehan daniel is one of the most influential public interest lawyers in the country worked on a number of cases including the pentagon papers case and the current karen silkwood case that have changed the course of american history in one nine hundred eighty he founded the christic institute where he served as general counsel and chief trial attorney general has also served as chief trial attorney for the american institute .