Exclusive - Reza Aslan Extended Interview Pt. 2

  • Aired:  12/11/13
  •  | Views: 27,161

In this exclusive, unedited interview, Reza Aslan talks Middle Eastern geopolitics and notes the surprising commonalities between the United States and Iran. (6:56)

>> WE HAD ON HUSAIN HAQQANI WHOWAS TALKING ABOUT THIS WITH

PAKISTAN. WE HAVE PEOPLETHAT ARE PLAYING TO THEIR

BASE. SOME MAY BE BELIEVERS.

FOR ALL I KNOW THEY TRULY ARE OFTHE MIND-SET THAT THIS REGIME IS

EVIL AND ANY ENGAGEMENT WITHTHEM IS AKIN TO NEVILLE

CHAMBERLAIN AND HITLER.

[LAUGHTER]THAT'S HOW THEY ALWAYS --

>> OH, THE HITLER ANALOGY, HOWWE LOVE THE HITLER ANALOGY.

>> Jon: THEY LOVE IT.

BUT ON THE FLIP SIDE OF THATIRAN HAS BEEN VERY SUCCESSFUL.

THE LEADERSHIP OF IRAN INPLAYING THE DEATH TO AMERICA.

>> OH, YEAH.

>> Jon: ZIONIST CONSPIRACYCARD EVEN WHEN ROUHANI TWEETED

OUT A MESSAGE THERE WAS ATREMENDOUS BACKLASH AGAINST HIM

WITHIN IRAN.

SO SAYING THAT CONGRESSIONALACTION DOES NOT OCCUR, SAYING

THAT WE ALLOW THIS TYPE OFDETENTE TO OCCUR, WHOSE TO SAY

IT WILL FLOURISH IN IRAN?

THEY DON'T WANT TO LOSE THATEASY GO-TO BASE ROUSING ISSUE

EITHER.

>> ABSOLUTELY.

LOOK, THERE'S THIS ENTIRE GROUPOF HARDLINE IRANIANS ABSOLUTELY

AGAINST THIS DEAL.

AND WOULD DO ANYTHING TO MAKE ITFAIL.

BECAUSE THEY DON'T WANT IT.

THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THATBY ISOLATING IRAN FOR 30 YEARS,

WE'VE DONE THE TYRANT'S WORK FORTHEM.

THAT'S HOW A TYRANT STAYS INPOWER BY

ISOLATING HIS PEOPLE.

WE'VE JUST SORT OF INITIATED ANDCOMPELLED THAT TYRANNY TO TAKE

ROOT IN IRAN.

WHAT THIS DEAL DOES IS FOR THEFIRST TIME PROVIDES AN

OPPORTUNITY FOR AN ENGAGEMENT BYIRANIANS FOR THE REST OF THE

WORLD WHICH WILL HAVEDEVASTATING CONSEQUENCES TO THE

PEOPLE IN CHARGE SO MANY OF THEPEOPLE IN CHARGE DON'T WANT

TO SEE IT.

WHAT IS REMARKABLE HERE IS -- ITHINK OF IT AS THIS JENGA GAME

THAT HAS BEEN FORMED.

>> Jon: DIDN'T THINK YOU WEREGOING THERE?

>> JENGA?

THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON A WHILE.

THERE'S BEEN SECRETNEGOTIATIONS.

THERE'S BEEN PROMISES AND OBAMAHAS BEEN WORKING ON THIS FOR A

LONG TIME.

IT'S A DELICATE SORT OF PUZZLEAND CONGRESS IS THAT DOUCHEY KID

WHO POKES AT THE BOTTOM WHO -->> Jon: OH, IN JENGA?

I DIDN'T KNOW WHERE WE WEREGOING THERE?

I HAD LOST THE METAPHOR THREADAND I THOUGHT WAIT, WHO DID THEY

POKE?

>> I NEED TO BE MORE CAREFUL,EXACTLY.

[ LAUGHTER ]>> Jon: SO IF THEY ARE ABLE TO

SCUTTLE IT THOUGH, YOU SAY THATTHIS REGIME -- ULTIMATELY IS

THIS ABOUT SYRIA OR IS THISREALLY ABOUT THE MUCH LARGER

SHIA DOMINANCE IN A REGION WHERETHE SUNNIS HAVE

DOMINATED FOR SO LONG ANDTHE SHIA REEMERGENCE IS

THAT REALLY AT PLAY?

FORGET UNITED STATESGEOPOLITICAL ACTIONS, IRANIAN

GEOPOLITICAL ACTIONS?

HOW ARE THE SAUDIS ARE GOING TODEAL WITH THIS AND WILL THIS BE

ALLOWED TO GO FORWARD BECAUSE OFTHAT?

>> THAT'S WHAT I MEAN BY THEJENGA PUZZLE.

SO MANY GEOPOLITICAL ISSUES ATSTAKE.

THE SUNNI SHIA DIVIDE.

THE PROBLEM IS AND MANY WOULDAGREE WITH THIS IS WHAT KEEPS US

FROM ACTUALLY ENGAGING WITH IRANON ISSUES WE SHARE IN COMMON

WHETHER IT'S WORKING AGAINST ALQAEDA OR STABILIZING IRAQ AND

AFGHANISTAN AND FIGURING OUT AWAY TO END THE SITUATION IN

SYRIA, WE NEED IRAN'S HELP INTHOSE SITUATIONS BUT WE CAN'T

GET THE HELP BECAUSE THE NUCLEARTHING IS JUST THERE.

IT'S THIS OBSTACLE THAT KEEPS USFROM DOING ANYTHING ELSE WE WANT

TO DO.

THE GREAT PROMISE OF THIS DEALIS THAT IT WILL FINALLY TAKE

THAT THING OFF THE TABLE ANDGIVE US AN OPPORTUNITY TO DEAL

WITH IRAN ON ALL THESE OTHERISSUES OF MUTUAL CONCERN.

>> Jon: DEFINE SOME OTHERTHING THAT SCUTTLES THE ENTIRE

THING.

>> WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE BESTFRIENDS.

>> Jon: WHAT YOU KNOW IS SOSTRANGE?

THE IRANI IT'S A LAND OF SUCHCULTURE AND ARTISTIC

ACHIEVEMENT.

>> AND HANDSOME PEOPLE?

[LAUGHTER]NO?

>> Jon: THEY ARE OKAY.

[LAUGHTER]BUT IT SEEMS LIKE WE HAVE A

GREAT DEAL IN COMMON WITH THEMAND --

>> IT'S SO AMAZING.

>> Jon: THE CULTURES ARESIMILAR.

>> ANYBODY WHO VISITS IRANALWAYS SAYS THIS IT'S CREEPY HOW

MUCH IRANIANS AND AMERICANS HAVEIN COMMON.

DEEPLY PATRIOTIC, DEEPLYRELIGIOUS.

>> Jon: LOVE PISTACHIOS.

>> EVEN OBAMA AND ROUHANI HAVEA LOT IN COMMON WITH EACH

OTHER. BOTH ELECTED TO CLEAN UPTHE MESS MADE BY THE OTHER GUY.

BOTH HAVE TESTY RELATIONSHIPSWITH THE LEGISLATURE.

BOTH OF THEM HAVE MADE A LOT OFPROMISES TO A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT

ARE IMPOSSIBLE TO KEEP.

[ LAUGHTER ]>> Jon: YES.

>> THERE'S JUST THIS SORT OFAFFINITY WE HAVE BUT WE HAVE TO

GET PAST 30 YEARS OF, YOU KNOW,BAD BLOOD.

>> Jon: CAN WE CALL THEM UPAND JUST SAY OKAY, WE OVERTHREW

YOUR GOVERNMENT IN 1953, COMEON.

>> SORRY WE TOOK YOUR PEOPLEHOSTAGE.

>> Jon: THEY SAY THAT, WE SAYWE'RE SORRY.

THEN WE HUG AND WE FIGURE OUTHOW TO FIGHT A PROXY WAR WITH

EACH OTHER.

>> YOU KNOW WHAT THIS IS?

THIS IS SOMETHING I HAVE TO TELLMY WIFE ALL THE TIME IS THAT

FOREIGN POLICY IS NOT ABOUTSOLVING PROBLEMS.

IT'S ABOUT PRESERVING INTERESTS.

>> Jon: YES.

>> AND SO THAT'S THE PROBLEM ISTHAT WE HAVE A SET OF INTERESTS

WE HAVE TO PRESERVE.

WETHEY HAVE A SET OF INTERESTSTHAT

WE HAVE TO PRESERVE AND THERE'SWAYS TO WORK WITH EACH OTHER TO

MOVE THIS THING A LITTLE BITTHIS WAY AND THAT WAY BUT THE

MOST LOGICAL THING WHICH ISLET'S JUST PUT THINGS ON THE

TABLE AND SOLVE THEM IS NEVER INTHE CARDS BECAUSE THAT IS NOT

THE POINT.

THAT'S NOT THE GOAL.

>> Jon: BECAUSE WE WON'T DEALWITH INTERESTS OR REALITY, WE

DEAL ONLY WITH EMOTION AND THESCAPEGOAT AND THAT'S THE SHAME

OF THE WHOLE THING.

>> YOU KNOW WHAT WOULD HELP?

>> Jon: WHAT.

>> A MOVIE.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE][LAUGHTER]

>> Jon: I'VE SEEN IT AND --[LAUGHTER]

>> A LOT OF BUZZ.

I TOLD YOU A LOT OF BUZZ.

I LIVE IN HOLLYWOOD.

A LOT OF BUZZ.

>> Jon: IT'S A VERY NICEMOVIE.

IT AIN'T YALTA.

THAT'S ALL I'M SAYING.

ZEALOT SON THE BOOKSHELVES NOW.

REZA ASLAN THANKS SO MUCH FORBEING HERE.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

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