Professor Vincent Ferraro on US-Iran Tensions | Connecting Point | Jan. 14, 2019

Professor Vincent Ferraro on US-Iran Tensions | Connecting Point | Jan. 14, 2019


>>>AFTER MILITARY ACTIONS
AGAINST EACH OTHER IN RECENT WEEKS, TENSIONS BETWEEN THE
UNITED STATES AND IRAN WERE AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH, AND THREATENED
TO BOIL OVER INTO OUTRIGHT WAR. AMID IRAN’S RECENT ADMISSION
THAT IT SHOT DOWN A CIVILIAN JETLINER, THOSE TENSIONS SEEM TO
HAVE EASED A BIT, BUT CAUTION REMAINS.
I SAT DOWN WITH VINCENT FERRARO, PROFESSOR EMERITUS AT MOUNT
HOLYOKE COLLEGE, TO LEARN MORE ABOUT WHERE THE TWO COUNTRIES GO
FROM HERE.>>THE PROTESTS ARE FROM PEOPLE
WHO GENERALLY BELIEVE THAT THE IRANIAN GOVERNMENT TRIED TO
DECEIVE THEM. BECAUSE INITIALLY IRAN DENIED
RESPONSIBILITY. AND SO THERE IS AN AWFUL LOT OF
SENTIMENT THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS BETRAYED THE INTERESTS OF
THE PEOPLE. THAT’S BUILT UPON THE ECONOMIC
TURMOIL THAT’S GOING ON IN THE COUNTRY.
THE PROTESTS HAVE BEEN GOING ON FOR SOME TIME SO THIS WAS THE
LATEST CATALYST. WE DON’T KNOW HOW EXTENSIVE IT
IS. WE’VE GOT THE NEWS BROADCASTS
SHOWING LARGE CROWDS IN CERTAIN CITIES, BUT WE DON’T KNOW
EXACTLY HOW PERVASIVE IT IS ACROSS THE COUNTRY AS A WHOLE.
THE HARDLINERS IN IRAN ARE MAKING THE ARGUMENT THAT THE
UNITED STATES IS ORGANIZED THESE PROTESTS, THERE FOR THEY TAKE IT
AS A SIGNAL THAT THE UNITED STATES IS CONTINUING ITS POLICY
OF REGIME CHANGE.>>IS THAT WHAT IS BEING
PORTRAYED ON THE STATE-RUN MEDIA.
>>ABSOLUTELY. NO QUESTION.
>>IF YOU BACK UP TO NOVEMBER THERE WERE ALSO ANOTHER SERIES
OF PROTESTS AS WELL.>>RIGHT.
ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN IRAN ARE QUITE BAD BECAUSE OF THE
SANCTION, IS THAT HAVE BEEN IMPOSED.
SO IRANIAN, ORDINARY CITIZEN IS REALLY SUFFERING A GREAT DEAL.
>>IF YOU LOOK BACK A WEEK AGO AFTER SOLEIMANI WAS KILLED YOU
HAD FOOTAGE OF PEOPLE IN UNITY MOURNING IN THE STREETS THAT HE
HAD BEEN KILLED. AND THEN YOU FAST FORWARD TO
THIS WEEK WHERE YOU HAVE PEOPLE PROTESTING.
IN THE MIDST OF ALL THAT THERE HAVE BEEN TWO IRANIAN
JOURNALISTS WHO HAVE QUIT, ONE IN PARTICULAR WHO PUT SOMETHING
ON INSTAGRAM WHO SAID, I HAVE LIED TO YOU, I TOLD YOU LIES FOR
THE LAST 13 YEARS. THAT POST HAS BEEN SINCE TAKEN
DOWN. OBVIOUSLY COURAGEOUS MOVE ON HER
PART, BUT NOW YOU’RE HEARING FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE TELLING YOU
WHAT WAS HAPPENING, THAT IT WASN’T TRUE.
>>YEAH, BUT I THINK THE CATALYST FOR THAT PARTICULAR
RESIGNATION WAS THE FACT THAT SHE HAD BEEN ON THE AIR GIVING
THE GOVERNMENT LINE THAT IRAN HAD NO RESPONSIBILITY
WHATSOEVER. ONLY TO BE BETRAYED BY
SUBSEQUENT INFORMATION. AND HER BELIEF WAS THAT THE
IRANIAN GOVERNMENT HAD LEADS TO HER SHE NO LONGER HAD CONFIDENCE
IN THE NETWORK. A GOOD THING FOR HER TO DO, HER
COURAGE WAS REALLY QUITE EXTRAORDINARY, BUT AGAIN I
WOULDN’T READ TOO MUCH INTO THAT.
I THINK IT’S REALLY A CASE OF VERY SPECIFIC EVENT THAT RAISED
AN AWFUL LOT OF EMOTIONS THAT ULTIMATELY COLLAPSED VERY, VERY
QUICKLY.>>NOW THERE WERE SOME OTHERS
WHO ALSO RESIGNED AS WELL, SO DOES THIS SPEAK TO KIND OF A
CHANGE IN HOW IRAN WILL HAVE TO NOT ONLY DEAL WITH THE DOWNING
OF THE PLANE, BUT THE UNITED STATES BUT REALLY THEIR OWN
PEOPLE BECAUSE A LOT OF THEIR PROBLEMS ARE COMING FROM WITHIN.
>>ONE WOULD THINK. ON THE OTHER HAND THIS PROBLEM
REALLY STRENGTHENS THE HANDS OF THE HARDLINERS.
WHO BELIEVE THAT IRAN HAS HA NOT BEEN FIRM ENOUGH IN DEALING WITH
THREES PROTESTS. SO IT MAY TURN OUT THAT THE
GOVERNMENT COULD CHANGE, BECAUSE OF THE PROTESTS.
OR IT COULD BE THAT THE GOVERNMENT WILL CHANGE WITH MUCH
HARDER PRESIDENT BEING INSTALLED.
IT’S VERY DIFFICULT TO READ. OF WHERE WE ARE.
>>RIGHT. SO LAST WEEK WHEN WE WERE
TALKING ABOUT THE LATEST NEWS IN IRAN OF CERTAINLY WITH THE
KILLING OF SOLEIMANI, PEOPLE WERE SAYING WE’RE ON THE BRINK
OF WAR. THINGS HAVE QUIETED A BIT, THE
NEWS CYCLE HAS SHIFTED. WERE WE ON THE BRINK OF ARE?
ARE WE ON THE BRINK OF WAR?>>UNQUESTIONABLY, WE ARE ON THE
BRINK OF WAR. IT’S REALLY A QUESTION OF WHAT
THE IRANIANS ARE GOING TO DO NEXT.
THEIR INITIAL RESPONSE TO THE ASSASSINATION OF SOLEIMANI, I
USE THAT WORD KNOWING EXACTLY WHAT IT MEANS, WAS THAT THIS WAS
AN AFFRONT AGAINST IRANIAN SOVEREIGNTY, AN ACTED OF WAR.
IT CLEARLY WAS IN MANY RESPECTS. IMAGINE HOW AMERICANS WOULD HAVE
RESPONDED IF THE IRANIANS HAVE KILLED THE CHAIRMAN.
JOINTS CHIEF OF STAFF.>>LET’S GO BACK TO
ASSASSINATION. THEN WE CAN GO INTO THE
RESPONSE. THERE’S A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO
WOULD DISAGREE WITH YOU SAY THAT THIS WAS A LAWFUL MILITARY
TARGET AND THE PRESIDENT WAS WELL WITHIN HIS RIGHT AND THAT
HE WAS A TERRORIST, KNOWN TERRORIST WHO KILLED HUNDREDS OF
U.S. SOLDIERS DURING IRAQ I THINK THE NUMBER HAS BEEN 600,
THAT THE ADMINISTRATION HAS TALKED ABOUT.
THAT IS ONE PART OF HIS RESUME. SO WHY WOULD IT BE CONSIDERED AN
ASSASSINATION AND WHAT MAKES IT DIFFERENT, FOR EXAMPLE, WITH OWE
SAM MA BIN LADEN, WE KNEW WHAT HE WAS UP TO, HE WAS A
TERRORIST. THAT THAT AN ‘SASS MAKES.
>>OBSTRUCTON OF JUSTICE WAS A FREELANCER.
HE WASN’T A REPRESENTATIVE HE WAS A GENERAL, HE WAS SECOND IN
COMMAND BASICALLY. SO WE’RE REALLY TALKING ABOUT AN
ATTACK AGAINST THE STATE OF IRAN AS OPPOSED TO AN ATTACK AGAINST
P A CITIZEN OF IRAN. AND IT’S TRUE THAT SOLEIMANI WAS
RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF IEDs WHICH HAVE KILLED 600
AMERICANS. BUT SOLEIMANI WAS A SOLDIER.
WHAT DO WE PAY SOLDIERS TO DO? THE FACT THAT HE DEVELOPED THE
IEDs SIMPLY REFLECTS RELEVANCE OF MILITARY WEAKNESS OF IRAN
VIS-A-VIS THE UNITED STATES. SOLEIMANI WAS KILLED BY A DRONE
ATTACK. IRANIANS COULD ARGUE THAT THE
DRONES WERE JUST AS UNETHICAL A WEAPON OF WAR AS AN IED.
SO, SOLEIMANI WAS DOING WHAT HIS STATE ASKED HIM TO DO.
HE WAS A SOLDIER. HE DID KILL AMERICANS, NO
QUESTION ABOUT THAT. BUT DO WE KILL THEM BECAUSE THEY
ARE BAD PEOPLE OR BECAUSE THEY COMMIT BAD ACTS IN THE NAME OF
THEIR STATE. IF IT’S THE LATTER THEN IT’S AN
ACT OF WAR. AND THAT’S ASSASSINATION, IT’S
NOT LEGITIMATE USE OF SELF DEFENSE.
>>OKAY. CERTAINLY AGAIN AS I SAID JEH
JOHNSON, WHO WAS THE FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY FOR
PRESIDENT OBAMA SAID HE WAS A LAWFUL MILITARY OBJECT — I’M
SURRY TARGET I SHOULD SAY. PRESIDENT TRUMP ANNOUNCED NEW
SANCTIONS LAST WEEK, IS THIS IT FOR A WHILE?
I KNOW THAT IRAN RESPONDED LAST WEEK TARGETING BASES BUT WHAT’S
NEXT, WHAT DO YOU THINK THEIR NEXT MOVE WILL BE?
>>THEY WILL USE THEIR PROXIES TO KEEP ATTACKING VARIOUS
AMERICAN TARGETS. I DON’T THINK THERE’S GOING TO
BE ANY CHANGE IN IRANIAN BEHAVIOR.
IF ANYTHING, THE LACK OF RESPONSE BY TRUMP TO THEIR
ATTACK UPON THE MILITARY BASES INDICATES THAT TRUMP IS
UNWILLING TO USE FORCE. AND THIS WAS TRUE WHEN THE
IRANIANS SHOT DOWN THE DRONE, WHEN THEY ATTACKED THE OIL
TANKERS IN THE PERSIAN GULF. PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS VERY HARSH
RHETORIC BUT HIS ACTIONS DON’T BACK UP HIS WORDS.
>>ALTHOUGH HE DID SAY ON CAMPAIGN TRAIL HAS SAID HE
DOESN’T WANT US TO GET INTO UNNECESSARY, UNENDING WAR.
SOME PEOPLE MIGHT SAY AFTER THE DRONE ATTACK AND OTHER ATTACK
THAT HE USED RESTRAINT.>>THAT COULD BE TRUE.
BUT WHY DID HE SEND 15,000 ADDITIONAL TROOPS TO SAUDI
ARABIA. HIS POLICIES ARE REALLY
INCOHERENT, I DON’T REALLY KNOW EXACTLY WHAT HE’S TRYING TO
ACCOMPLISH IN THE MIDDLE EAST. I DON’T KNOW WHAT HIS POLICY
TOWARD IRAN IS.>>WHAT DO YOU THINK THE NEXT
MOVE SHOULD BE FOR THE UNITED STATES?
>>WELL, I THINK THE NEXT MOVE SHOULD BE TO TRY TO FIGURE OUT A
WAY TO WORK WITH THE EUROPEANS AND THE CHINESE AND RUSSIANS TO
REESTABLISH THE NUCLEAR DEAL. BECAUSE THAT’S REALLY THE NEXUS
OF IT ALL. UNDERSTAND, THE NUCLEAR DEAL WAS
BROKEN BY THE UNITED STATES. IT WAS NOT BROKEN BY IRAN.
>>IT WAS BROKEN BY THE UNITED STATES BECAUSE PRESIDENT TRUMP
DIDN’T BELIEVE THAT IT BENEFITED THE UNITED STATES.
>>WELL, PRESIDENT OBAMA USED HIS SIGNATURE TO SAY THAT THE
AMERICAN STATE WILL BACK UP DISAGREEMENT.
>>HOW DO YOU BUSINESS WITH SOMEONE — GOING BACK TO THE
ASSASSINATION KNOWING WHAT SOME OF THE ACTORS ARE AND WHAT
THEY’RE INVOLVED IN, HOW DO YOU MAKE A DEAL KNOWING WHAT THEY’RE
UP TO? DO YOU KNOW WHAT I’M SAYING?
HOW DOES THAT BENEFIT THE U.S.?>>IT WORKED.
I MEAN, ALL THE EVIDENCE SUGGESTS THAT IRAN DID STOP ITS
NUCLEAR PROGRAM. THERE WERE INSPECTORS THERE.
WHAT TRUMP SAID IS THAT THE AGREEMENT DIDN’T SOLVE ALL THE
PROBLEMS WITH IRAN. AND I UNDERSTAND THAT, THAT’S
TRUE. BUT THAT WAS ALL WE ASKED THE
AGREEMENT TO DO. AND THAT WORKED.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *