Trita Parsi

  • Aired:  03/08/12
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National Iranian American Council President Trita Parsi explains how skepticism gets in the way of diplomatic negotiations between America and Iran. (6:36)

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS THE

PRESIDENT OF THE IRANIAN

AMERICAN COUNCIL, HIS NEW

BOOK IS CALLED A SINGLE ROLL

OF THE DICE.

BAMA'S DIPLOMACY WITH IRAN,

PLEASE WELCOME TO THE SHOW

TRINA PARSI, SIR.

(APPLAUSE)

>> Jon: THANK YOU FOR BEING

HERE.

>> THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

>> Stephen: .

>> Jon: SINGLE ROLE OF THE

DICE.

YOU KNOW WHAT IS NICE ABOUT

THIS BOOK,IERS FROM NOW

AFTER THE ENORMOUS WAR WE

HAD WITH IRAN, PEOPLE CAN

LACK BACK ON THIS AND GO OH,

WE ALMOST HAD PEACE WITH

THEM.

IT IS INTERESTING, YOU START

THE BOOK IN 1993.

OR 2003.

>> 2003.

>> THE IRANIANS SEND US A

LETTER AFTER WE HAVE JUST

KNOCKED OUT SADDAM HUSSEIN.

AND WHAT DO THEY SAY TO NEWS

THIS LETTER.

>> THEY SEND A PROPOSAL, AN

UNPRECEDENTED PROPOSAL TO

THE WHITE HOUSE.

ALL THREE ESSENTIALLY

NEGOTIATIONS ON ALMOST ALL

OF THE DIFFERENT ISSUES THAT

THE U.S. HAVE DIFFICULTY

WITH.

WHAT HAPPENS, THOUGH, IS

THAT THE WHITE HOUSE DOESN'T

EVEN CONSIDER THE PROPOSAL

AT THE TIME BECAUSE AT THE

TIME, THE ARGUMENT WAS THAT

WHATEVER WE COULD GET OUT OF

NEGOTIATIONS AND DIPLOMACY,

WE COULD GET EVEN MORE BY

SIMPLY REMOVING THE REGIME

AND INVADING IRAN.

BECAUSE THIS IS RIGHT AFTER

IRAQ, AND YOU KNOW THE BUSH

ADMINISTRATION WAS ON THE

ROAD AND THEY THOUGHT THAT

THEY COULD JUST GO FORWARD

AND CHANGE THE VISION

EXACTLY AS THEY WISH.

>> WE WERE RIDING HIGH ON

AMERICAN POWER.

WAS THAT IDEA THAT THIS WAS

THE NEW AMERICAN CENTURY AND

WE COULDN'T BE STOPPED.

I THOUGHT IT WAS INTERESTING

IN THE PROPOSAL THEY SENT,

THEY BASICALLY ADMIT TO ALL

THE PROXY DEALINGS THAT WE

ACCUSE THEM OF.

HEZBOLLAH, ALL THE SORT OF

WHAT WE WOULD CONSIDER

ACTIVITIES LIKE MEDDLING IN

OTHER COUNTRIES.

THEY BASICALLY SAY LIKE YEAH,

WE'LL STOP THAT.

>> IT IS REALLY INTERESTING

BECAUSE THEY GO FOR IT AND

THEY SAY THAT THEY WOULD

OFFER TO END ALL SUPPORT FOR

ISLAMIC JIHAD AND HAMAS AND

PRES-- USING VIOLENCE

AGAINST ISRAEL OUTSIDE OF

THE GREEN LINE AND TO EP O

UP THE NUCLEAR PROGRAM FOR

FULL TRANSPARENCY.

>> RIGHT.

>> NOW THERE IS AN ARGUE

THAT SAYS THAT WE DON'T KNOW

IF THIS ACTUALLY WOULD

HAPPEN IN THE NEGOTIATIONS

WOULD SUCCEEDS OR NOT BUT

THE PROBLEM IS THIS, AND

THIS IS RECURING EVEN UNDER

THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION

WHICH IS THAT WHEN WE HAVE

AN OPPORTUNITY, WE'RE SO

SKEPTICAL ABOUT IT THAT WE

MAY ACTUALLY MISS IT, BY

ESSENTIALLY HAVING A

SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY OF

NEVER BELIEVING THAT IT'S

POSSIBLE.

AND THE IRANIAN,

INCIDENTALLY, DO THE SAME

THING FLECHLT VERY SKEPTICAL

ABOUT OBAMA.

THEY DID TO THE DARE TO TAKE

A RISK FOR PEACEMAKING,

SIMILAR TO THE RISKS THAT

THEY ARE TAKING FOR THE

STATUS QUO OF THE

CONFRONTATION.

>> Jon: IT'S REALLY HOW YOU

SHOW AN WEAVE IT IN REALLY

WELL ALL THE NARROW

SELF-INTERESTS THAT EACH

COUNTRY IS PLAYING THEIR

HAND WITH.

AND NOW DIFFICULT IT IS TO

BALANCE THOSE.

SO IT BRINGS US UP TO TODAY

AS A LOT OF PEOPLE I THINK

ARE STARTING TO FEEL LIKE

THERE IS A NEW GROUNDSWELL

FROM OUR POLITICIANS FOR

REALLY MOVING HARD ACTION ON

IRAN.

THAT THERE IS ANOTHER DEAL

THAT WAS ABOUT TO OCCUR WITH

IRAN'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM.

WHAT IS THAT DEAL.

>> I DESCRIBE IN THE BOOK, I

DID A LOT OF INTERVIEWS WITH

ALMOST ALL OF THE DIFFERENT

ACKERS INVOLVED IN THIS,

RANGING FROM THE ISRAELIS TO

THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION

OFFICIALS TO ALSO THE

IRANIAN NEGOTIATIONERS TO

GETS THEIR PERSPECTIVE.

BUT ALSO TURKEY AND BRAZIL.

BECAUSE AT THE LAST MOMENT

IN 2010, MAY OF THAT YEAR,

RIGHT BEFORE THE

ADMINISTRATION ALMOST

MANAGED TO GET SANCTION

SANCTIONS AT THE SECURITY

COUNCIL, TURKEY AND BRAZIL

STEP UP.

THEY MANAGE TO NEGOTIATE

WITH THE IRANIANS TO GET

THEM TO AGREE TO THE DEAL

THAT IS BUILT ON THE

BENCHMARK OF THE PREVIOUS

DEAL THAT THE OBAMA

ADMINISTRATION HAD PUT IN

FRONT OF THE IRANIANS, THAT

THE IRANIANS HAD REJECTED

SIX MONTHS EARLIER, BUT THEY

MANAGED TO GET A YES FROM

THE IRANIANS.

WHAT THEY DIDN'T KNOW,

THOUGH, THAT TWO DAYS BEFORE

THE TURKISH AND BRAZILIAN

PRESIDENT WENT TO IRAN,

RUSSIA AND CHINA HAD ALREADY

AGREED TO NEW SANCTIONS.

SO BY THE TIME THE TURKS AND

BRAZILIANS, ECSTATIC, GOING

TO THE U.S. AND SAYING LOOK,

WE MANAGED TO GET THE

IRANIANS TO PUT A YES AND

THEIR SIGNATURES ON THE DEAL,

THE ADMINISTRATION HAD TO

CHOOSE BETWEEN A DIPLOMATIC

BREAKTHROUGH ON THE NUCLEAR

ISSUE OR FOR SANCTIONS IN

THE SECURITY COUNCIL.

AND THEY CHOSE THE

SANCTIONS.

AND HERE WE ARE.

IT DOESN'T.

>> Jon: THAT DOESN'T SOUND

LIKE US.

ARE YOU SURE THAT'S WHAT WE

DID?

WAS IT FULLY EXPLAINED TO

US.

WELL, BACK IT UP, SO THE

DEAL IS THIS, AND IT WAS

2008 OR 2009.

WE OFFERED TO TAKE FROM IRAN

THEIR LEU WHICH IS THE LOWER

ENRICHED URANIUM.

THEY NEED URANIUM FOR

RADIATION TREATMENT FORCE

CANCER PATIENTS.

WE OFFER TO TAKE THAT FUEL

AND GET THEM FUEL PADS THAT

THEY CAN USE FOR --

>> CREATING THE MEDICAL

ISOTOPES.

AND INCIDENTALLY THAT

REACTOR WAS GIVEN TO IRAN

ABOUT 40 OR SO AREAS AGO BY

THE UNITED STATES.

>> Jon: IF YOU ARE LOOKING

TO GIVE A COUNTRY A PRESENT,

REALLY, A NUCLEAR REACTOR,

JUST THE WAY TO GO.

>> SO.

>> Jon: SO WE ARE GOING TO

TAKE IT FROM THE IRANIANS.

GIVE IT TO US.

WE'RE GOING TO GIVE IT TO

RUSSIA.

RUSH L -- RUSSIA WILL TURN

INTO THE FUEL PAD, SEND IT

TO FRANCE, FRANCE WILL SEND

IT TIE RAN BECAUSE THE WHOLE

THING IS-- BUT THEY DECIDE

AT THE LAST MINUTE NOT TO DO

THAT DEAL BECAUSE THEY DON'T

LIKE FRANCE, THE IRANIANS

WITHIN THE IRANIANS MESSED

IT UP IN OCTOBER '09.

THEY WENT TO THE

NEGOTIATIONS.

THE FIRST DAY OF THE

NEGOTIATIONS WAS SPENT ON

TRYING TO CUT THE FRENCH OUT

OF THE DEAL.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> WHICH I THINK THERE ARE

SYMPATHIES AMONGST THE OTHER

ISSUES.

>> Jon: NOBODY LIKES THE

FRENCH.

I THINK THAT'S A GIVEN.

>> EVEN ENEMIES CAN AGREE,

NOBODY LIKES THE FRENCH.

>> THEY FAILED AT DOING THAT

BUT AT THE END OF IT THEY

HAD AN ISSUE BECAUSE THEY

FELT THAT THE RISK WAS MORE

ON THEIR SHOULDERS.

BUT THE REAL ISSUE WAS THE

IRANIAN

POLITICAL-- POLITICAL A LET

AT THE TIME WAS AT WAR WITH

ITSELF BECAUSE OF THE

FRAUDULENT SECTIONS A FEW

MONTHS YERLER, MASSIVE HUMAN

RIGHT AS BECAUSE,.

IRAN WAS NOT IN A POSITION

TO NEGOTIATE.

THEY MESS TDZ UP.

BUT SIX MONTHS LATER WE HAVE

AN OPENING.

>> Jon: THAT IS THE BRAZIL

TUR KAE ONE.

>> EXACTLY.

>> Jon: AND THAT WAS BASED

ON OH, WE'RE RUNNING OUT

OF-- YOU CAN STICK AROUND.

>> ABSOLUTELY.

>> Jon: WE'RE GOING STICK

AROUND.

IT'S BASED ON THE REMEMBER

THAT OBAMA SENT TO BRAZIL

THIS IS IN THE SOMETHING

THEY DID ON THEIR OWN.

THEY WERE DOING IT AT THE

BEHEST OF THE PRESIDENT AND

THEY PUBLISHED THAT LETTER.

>> YES, PRETTY MUCH SO.

>> Jon: IT'S REALLY GETTING

GOOD NOW.

ALL RIGHT, YOU HAVE TO GET

THIS, SINGLE ROLL OF THE

DICE.

ON THE BOOK SHELVES NOW.

REALLY, IT IS AN AMAZING

PERSPECTIVE ON ALL THE

ELEMENTS THAT GO INTO EVEN

THE SMALLEST OF DIPLOMATIC

DEALS.

THANK YOU IS SOME OF FOR

BEING HERE.

WE'LL COME BACK.

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