Exclusive - Reza Aslan Extended Interview Pt. 1

  • Aired:  12/11/13
  •  | Views: 48,428

In this exclusive, unedited interview, religious scholar Reza Aslan explains how the nuclear deal altered the atmosphere in Iran. (6:55)

WELCOME BACK MY GUEST TONIGHT ASCHOLAR OF RELIGION AND AUTHOR

HIS LATEST BOOK IS ZEALOT: THELIFE AND TIMES OF JESUS OF

NAZARETH.

PLEASE WELCOME BACK TO THEPROGRAM REZA ASLAN.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]>> ALL RIGHT.

ALL RIGHT.

>> Jon: REZA I JUST WANT TO BECLEAR YOU ARE A MUSLIM.

>> SHHH.

>> Jon: WHY WOULD YOU WRITE ABOOK ON THE FOUNDER OF

CHRISTIANITY?

>> THIS IS MY SECRET MUSLIM PLANTO DESTROY CHRISTIANITY.

>> Jon: I DON'T KNOW IF YOUREMEMBER THIS YOU WENT ON FOX

AND THE LADY WAS ASKING THEQUESTIONS AND I WAS LOOKING AT

IT LIKE OH, MY GOD REZA IS GOINGTO STRANGLE THIS PERSON.

>> I DID OKAY.

>> Jon: YOU DID WONDERFUL.

IT WAS INCREDIBLE.

THE BOOK IS SO GOOD.

>> THANK YOU.

THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS GIFT FORYOUR JEWISH FRIENDS.

[LAUGHTER]>> Jon: YES.

THERE'S NOTHING WE LIKE BETTERAROUND THIS TIME OF YEAR.

[ LAUGHTER ]NICE PICTURE OF HIM LOOKING

JUDGMENTALLY AT US.

NICE MENORAH.

YEAH, HEY, ENJOY YOUR POTATOLATKES.

[LAUGHTER]HOW ARE YOU DOING OTHERWISE?

THESE ARE VERY EXCITING TIMESFOR IRAN.

>> ABSOLUTELY.

THIS NUCLEAR DEAL HAS REALLYCHANGED THE ATMOSPHERE IN IRAN.

SO MUCH EXCITEMENT OVER IT.

FRANKLY, A LITTLE TOO MUCHEXCITEMENT OVER IT BECAUSE IT'S

NOT REALLY THAT BIG OF A DEAL IN SO FAR AS

SANCTIONS AND RELIEF AND HELPINGTHE ECONOMY.

WHEREAS IN THE UNITED STATESNOBODY TALKS ABOUT THIS DEAL AS

POSSIBLY LAYING THE GROUNDWORKFOR FUTURE NORMALIZATION, THAT'S

ALL THEY TALK ABOUT IN IRAN.

IT'S CREATED TWO CAMPS.

A RECONCILIATION CAMP ANDISOLATIONIST CAMP.

THE RECONCILIATION CAMP HAS ALLTHE MOMENTUM.

THE ISOLATIONISTS ARE STILLTHERE, MUTED, WAITING FOR THIS

THING TO COLLAPSE SO THEY CANATTACK THE CURRENT

ADMINISTRATION.

FRANKLY THE CONGRESS MIGHTGIVE THEM THAT OPPORTUNITY.

>> Jon: HOW MUCH POWER DOESROUHANI HAVE.

WE SAW THE EIGHT YEARS OFAHMEDINEJAD. WE SAW THE GREEN

AHMREVOLUTION WHERE MOUSAVIENAPPEARED TO HAVE DEFEATED

AHMEDINEJAD ELECTORALLY.THERE WAS TREMENDOUS PROTEST

IN THE STREETS,TREMENDOUS VIOLENCE.

THIS MOVEMENT IS SORT OF DRIVENUNDERGROUND.

ROUHANI IS CONSIDERED IN THATMOUSAVI CAMP, YES?

MORE OF A REFORMIST?

>> HE IS A MODERATE.

>> Jon: DOES HE HAVE ANY POWEROR DOES IT REST WITH THE SUPREME

LEADER AND IF HE SAYS HE IS INTHE ISOLATIONIST CAMP ARE THEY

IN THE ISOLATIONIST CAMP?

>> YES.

THE ONLY POWER THAT REALLYMATTERS IS THE SUPREME LEADER'S

VOICE BUT IT'S MORE COMPLEX THANTHAT.

THERE'S A ROBUST CIVICINFRASTRUCTURE IN IRAN AND THE

PRESIDENT HAS THE OPPORTUNITY TOMAKE FUNDAMENTAL CHANGES.

WHAT HE HAS GOING FOR HIM IS SOFAR THE SUPREME LEADER IS

SUPPORTING THIS.

THAT'S WHY THE RECONCILIATIONCAMP HAS THIS GREAT MOMENTUM ON

ITS SIDE AND WHY THEISOLATIONISTS ARE KEEPING FOR

THE MOST PART QUIET BECAUSE IFYOU DISAGREE WITH THE DEAL YOU

ARE DISAGREEING WITH THE SUPREMELEADER.

THE ISSUE AGAIN AND I HATE TOBRING THIS UP RESTS WITH THE

U.S. CONGRESS.

>> Jon: I THOUGHT YOU WEREGOING TO JEWS AGAIN.

[ LAUGHTER ]I THOUGHT THAT'S WHERE WE WERE

GOING HERE AND I WAS GOING TOONCE AGAIN SAY WE'RE QUITE

PLEASANT WHEN YOU GET TO KNOWUS.

[LAUGHTER]>> THIS IS THE PROBLEM, YOU KNOW

SHALL EVERYBODY IN THE U.S.

KEEPS TALKING ABOUT HOW CAN WETRUST IRAN TO HOLD UP ITS END OF

THE BARGAIN.

THAT'S NOT THE PROBLEM.

>> Jon: BECAUSE IN THISCOUNTRY WE HAVE AN ISOLATIONIST

CAMP.

IT'S SIMILAR.

YOU ARE PLAYING TO A VERYPARTICULAR MUCH MORE RIGID BASE

HERE THAT WON'T ALLOW -- YOU SAWTHE KERFUFFLE THAT OCCURRED WHEN

OBAMA JUST SHOOK RAUL CASTRO'SHAND.

LET ALONE TRYING TO FORGE SOMEKIND OF WAY FORWARD WITH IRAN.

>> FAR BE IT FOR ME TO SUGGESTTHAT CONGRESS IS FULL OF PETTY

CHILDREN PRESIDING OVER ACESSPOOL OF WASTED SPACE.

>> Jon: SO YOU DO WATCH OURSHOW.

YOU DO WATCH!

>> YES.

YOU CAN'T HELP BUT FEEL THATTHEY ARE ACTUALLY TRYING TO

SCUTTLE THIS DEAL.

THE NEGOTIATION IS PRETTY CLEARIN EXCHANGE FOR IRAN FREEZING

AND ROLLING BACK THE NUCLEARPROGRAM, WHICH THEY'VE DONE,

WE'LL RELEASE A LITTLE BIT OFTHEIR FROZEN ASSETS AND PROMISE

NOT TO ENGAGE IN ANY NEWSANCTIONS.

THIS BILL THAT CONGRESS ISTRYING TO PASS TO CREATE NEW

SANCTIONS IS A VIOLATION OF THEAGREEMENT.

THE FOREIGN MINISTER OF IRAN, APRETTY WESTERN FRIENDLY MODERATE

PREGUY HAS SAID IF THIS THINGATEPASSES

IT'S THE END OF THE DEAL.

IT'S A DEAL BREAKER.

YOU CAN'T HELP BUT FEEL THISCONGRESS IS FULL OF PEOPLE WHO

ARE LESS INTERESTED IN THE GOODOF THE COUNTRY THAN IN THEIR OWN

POLITICAL GOOD.

THEY WANT TO GO BACK TO MISOULA, MONTANA AND TELL THE

3,000 PEOPLE THAT VOTED THEMINTO OFFICE THAT THEY WERE TOUGH

ON IRAN AND A FRIEND TO ISRAEL.

IT WILL GET THEM REELECTED TOTWO MORE YEARS OF A FAIRLY

CUSHY JOB TO GET PAID TO DONOTHING.

BUT IT'S A DANGER TO THECOUNTRY.

>> Jon: WHEN YOU LOOK AT ITTHERE ARE CERTAIN ABSOLUTE

BOOGIEMEN THAT ARE OUT THERE,THE UNITED NATIONS, IRAN.

AND NOT FOR NO REASON THERE ARECERTAIN THINGS IRAN IS DOING.

THEY ARE BAD ACTORS IN CERTAINFIELDS OF PLAY AND ALL THAT.

>> ABSOLUTELY.

>> Jon: IF WE DON'T ENGAGETHESE COUNTRIES AND BUILD MORE

PRODUCTIVE RELATIONSHIPS I THINKWE'RE BEGINNING TO LEARN THAT

PURE SANCTIONS DRIVENCONSEQUENCES OR INVADING THEM

AND TRYING TO HOLD THE TERRITORYUNTIL A GOVERNMENT ARISES THAT

LIKES US IS NOT MAYBE THEANSWER.

>> WHAT CRACKS ME UP WAS THAT IFSANCTIONS WERE A WAY TO GET

IRAN TO THE NEGOTIATING TABLE.

SANCTIONING THEM IS A PUNISHMENTFOR COMING TO THE NEGOTIATING

TABLE?

THE SANCTIONS WORKED BECAUSETHEY WERE INTERNATIONAL

SANCTIONS.

THEY WORKED BECAUSE WE GOT THEEUROPEANS AND RUSSIA AND EVEN

CHINA TO GO ALONG WITH THEM.

IF THIS SANCTIONS LAW PASSES INCONGRESS IT'S AS CLEAR A MESSAGE

TO OUR ALLIES THAT THIS IS ALL AJOKE FOR US AND WE'RE NOT

SERIOUS ABOUT THIS.

THE ENTIRE SANCTIONS REGIME WILLFALL APART AND IRAN WILL

CONTINUE TO ENRICH URANIUM TOITS HEART CONTENT.

>> Jon: AND THEY'LL ERODE ITANYWAY.

STICK AROUND?

>> SURE.

>> Jon: ZEALOT IS ON THEBOOKSHELVES NOW. REZA ASLAN.

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