tv Inside Story LINKTV April 7, 2021 5:30am-6:01am PDT
♪ >> hello again. i ran and the u.s. say they are making constructive progress any the latest efforts to revive the funny 50 nuclear deal. two working groups focus on getting each side back into compliance. >> we find this position realistic and promising. it could be the start of correcting the bad process that has taken diplomacy to a dead end. we welcome these comments. >> brazil has recorded more than 4000 coronavirus deaths in single day.
nearly 330 7000 people have died since the start of the pandemic. the u.s. president says anyone over the age of 18 be able to be vaccinated from the middle of this month. joe biden is winning covid-19 infections are still increasing with newer variants spreading rapidly. half of those new cases are from a handful of states. >> the virus is spreading because we have too many people who see the end in sight and think we are at the finish line already. let me be deadly earnest with you. we are not at the finish line. we still have a lot of work to do. we are still in life and death race against this virus. until we get more people vaccinated, we need everyone to wash their hands, socially distance and mask up in a recommended mask from the cdc. >> the type of restraint used by the police charged with killing george floyd has come under scrutiny in a u.s. court.
the seventh day of the trial in minneapolis focused on derek chauvin's use of force and how officers should de-escalate crisis situations. women and children who were sleeping were among civilians killed in ethiopia friday. a long-running dispute over contested land. the area is claimed by two tribes. ethiopia is accusing egypt and sudan of obstructing talks over its contested mega dam on the blue nile. that is after three days of meetings between the nations failed to reach an agreement. ethiopia is voting the green meadows owns dam to produce electricity. neighbors fear it will affect their water supply. those are the headlines. i will have more news for you on al jazeera after inside story. ♪
>> attempts to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal. the u.s. and iran hold talks in vienna. donald trump pulled america out. joe biden once back in. what are the challenges ahead? can the two sides find agreement? this is inside story. ♪ hello and welcome to the program. the dispute has been going on for months about who should take the first step toward reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.
the u.s. and iran are gauged in talks with -- in vno are presented of's of china, germany, france, the u.k. and the e.u. hold official meetings. the delegations will be in separate delegations with the e.u. shoveling between them. negotiations are getting all part -- are focused on getting all parties back inside after donald trump withdrew from the packed in 2018. tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. neither washington nor tehran can see an early breakthrough in the vienna talks. >> we don't underestimate the scale of the challenges ahead. these are early days. we don't anticipate an early ora media breakthrough as the -- in early or immediate breakthrough. we do believe these discussions with our partners and our partners with iran is a healthy step forward.
>> baran says progress could -- but iran says progress could be made in washington is serious. >> we are not optimistic, not pessimistic about this eating. we are confident we are on the right track. if america's honesty is proven, it could be a sign for a better future, a future of peace and security for the region and the world and a peaceful life for people in this region. surely the full implementation of this agreement will be finalized within the coming weeks. >> let's have a look at how we got here. former u.s. president donald trump pulled the u.s. out of the accord in 2018 calling at the worst deal ever negotiated. trumper imposed sanctions on iran with more than 1500 measures. tehran responded by scaling back commitments and enriching uranium levels beyond the 2015 cap. european signatories have tried
to keep doing business with tehran. i ran once sanctions lifted before it returns to the record. u.s. insists iran must dismantle some of its activities. our diplomatic editor is at the united nations. . he says the actions of the previous administration has complicated negotiations. >> all the key participants find themselves back in vienna. the austrian capital is aware the nuclear deal was signed nearly six years ago but so much has changed since that signing in the summer of 2015. it was the trump administration in 2018 that pulled out of the deal, preferring to go for maximum pressure policy against iran. many experts believe that did not end up isolating iran. in fact, it isolated on this ise u.s. with some of its closest allies. nearly all its closest allies with the exception of israel,
saudi arabia and the united arab emirates. iran waited for a year and decided it would start to not comply with some of the details of the nuclear program. now they have got the challenge of trying to put everything back together. the problem in recent months has been the new biden administration says it wants back into the deal. iran says it once the u.s. back into the deal. it is a question of who is prepared to move first. the iranians saying all the sanctions have to be lifted before they come back into compliance. that is why we have this unusual format for the talks in vienna. a creative format that the europeans have been working on. what is known as proximity talks. what we have got today is the iranians meeting with the p4 plus 1, 4 permanent members of the security council plus germany in a five-star hotel in the center of vienna. the u.s. are not there. they are meeting in another
five-star hotel almost directly opposite the imperial hotel. the e.u. representative will go between the u.s. hotel and the hotel of all the others passing messages back and forth trying to make progress. the idea is that rather than one side having to move first, both sides are going to make a comprehensive list, a list of all the sanctions the u.s. has to lift. a list from the u.s. of what iran needs to do to come back into compliance with the nuclear deal. the idea will be to get both of these things that happen at the same time. sounds easy. it is going to be very complex. ♪ >> let's bring in our guests in washington, d.c. hillary is the former u.s. diplomat and co-author of going to tehran. running us from tehran, a professor of political science at tehran university and in
vienna, the former head of the verification and security policy coordination office at the international atomic agency. let me start with you. what is it that has fundamentally changed that allowed these talks to happen? there has been months of posturing about the u.s. and iran. did this, in any way as a surprise? >> i would not say it was a surprise. it is a new development. the new development that led up to this development was the united states dropped its insistence that i ran meet directly with u.s. officials without u.s. officials or before u.s. officials would give any sanctions relief to iran. that was the trump approach. meet with the united states without united states easing sanctions. haydn started off in office with this approach.
the difference in the changes that this did not work. the u.s. envoy was able to convince others in washington because there is a divide in washington, he was able to convince people here there could be indirect talks with iran, proximity talks, what is happening now in vienna. he said publicly -- and this is critically important -- he said that the u.s. understood the u.s. would have to lift the sanctions that are inconsistent with the 2015 jcpoa. what iran has been demanding from the start. >> nobody expects these proximity talks will be easy, but how long andrduous do you think this process will end up being? >> i think it will take some time because both sides are coming into this discussion with
hard-line positions. iran:'s position is the united states needs to remove all the sanctions imposed under the trump administration and also possibly compensation for the financial damages to the iranian economy. on the u.s. side, there is demand iran reverse the steps it has taken to step outside of the uranium enrichment limits of the jcpoa. i think the europeans have a bit of a challenge to try to bridge this gap. there are some suggestions of a phased approach or step-by-step action for action approach. i think we need to wait a couple of days to see how this will pan out the two sides are meeting in vienna at two hotels that are pretty much opposite each other with the europeans shuttling back and forth. >> how confident do iranian officials feel about the idea that they are on the right track to try toli revive the deal?
>> i think they understand this is just the beginning. usually these kinds of talks are complicated and they do take a lot of time. i think the americans understand that they have a very narrow window of opportunity if they want to make a deal with the government. the presidential campaign for the iranian elections, they actually start in a couple of weeks in ran. -- in iran. if the negotiations pan out further than that, we will have to wait until september when iran has a new president and there is a good chance the conservatives might win the election and they were critical of the deal from the start. you have to understand the mood in tehran is a lot of skepticism in regards to the americans because they essentially left the dealer easily and iran had to remain in the deal for over a
year, obliging by its side of the deal without getting any economic sanction relief. the mood is not very optimistic. >> he just mentioned these looming presidential elections in iran that will be taking place in june. how concerned are members of the biden administration about the potential outcome of that? it is expected conservative hardliners may prevail in these upcoming elections. how much more difficult is that going to make reviving this deal and also negotiating going forward? >> i think the one element of consensus that i pick up within the biden administration as they understand there will be -- the next president of iran will be our conservative in political terms or right wing or hard-line and more difficult to negotiate with. there is consensus that is going to happen. the problem with that for the
current negotiations as there is some concern here about continuing to negotiate with the current team, with president romney's -- president romney's current team cared will they be able to deliver under the next president of iran? it is a bit of mirror imaging because this is what happened on the u.s. side. when president obama was president, we agreed to one thing to when trump became president, we decided to follow another path. there is a sense iran could do the same thing. the bigger picture here is not so much who is going to be in power in iran. there is a reluctance here within the biden administration and certainly within congress to even go back to the jcpoa. that is the unstated elephant in the room. the americans understand within the biden administration that if we go back into the jcpoa, the united states would have to not
only lift the sanctions trump imposed but we would have to lift almost all nuclear related sanctions legislatively with congress by 2023. that is something within the biden administration they understand they cannot do. >> what are the questions that iran is going to have to answer going forward related to nuclear research and development it has engaged in and how d's -- and how easy or difficult is it going to be to establish a continuity of knowledge? >> that is a very good question. this is something the trump team should have thought about before they exited the jcpoa. for nearly two years, iran has been ramping up its enrichment program. they have acquired experience in manufacturing. production of advanced centrifuges. they have the same designs of which six designs are producing. so iran's knowledgebase and
experiential base has increased considerably. this cannot be reversed. the question that iran is on the hook for relate to safeguards and previous activities prior to 2003. one location is narbonne. the site of the high research center that was demolished. one is on the outskirts of tehran where equipment was stored. there is another site in the vicinity of tehran where there were particles picked up of uranium that had been manipulated or processed. the iea complaint -- claims the
explanations are not feasible. iran's response is that these issues relate to an issue that is two decades old and we should move forward. for verification implementation, these issues need to be clarified one way or another. >> you heard hillary mentioned the fact it is going to be difficult for the bite in the administration to lift -- to lift -- the biden administration to lift all the sanctions. when it comes to iran's perspective, we have heard from officials in tehran they want to see all sanctions lifted before they can start negotiating with the u.s. is there any room for negotiation or are they really going to stick to this -- is this going to be a sticking point going forward? >> i think iran is going to
stick to that plan because that plan was specified by the supreme leader of iran. if you look at this from iran's perspective, there is a lot of mistrust regarding the americans. from iran's perspective, iran gave a lot of concessions. even though the deal was enshrined in a u.n. security council resolution, donald trump easily withdrew. iran is selling less oil today than it was before signing the deal. it is doing worse than when it signed the deal. i think it is going to be very difficult in that sense. when biden came into power, there was some optimism that we do understand regarding the u.s. congress and it is very tricky of course with the senate being completely split between republicans and democrats. i think biden did have the
opportunity to at least lift some of the sanctions using executive orders. he did not do that. so far, he has been following the so-called maximum pressure campaign of the trump administration. iran did not appease trump with all the pressure that existed during those four years. i do not know why they are following the same policy that they are admitting that failed. >> i want to ask you to expand a little more on the point you were making about how complicated the situation is when it comes to the sanctions, especially the ones imposed by the trump administration. these were put in place to make it impossible for a new administration to reenter the deal. >> yes, they were. the special envoy and his deputy know this very well. the interesting thing -- and this is something i think is not really understood -- is why
didn't president biden when he was rolling back all of the other contentious, controversial trump decisions, the trump decision to pull the united states to pull the -- to pull of the unit is states out of the paris climate treaty, when president biden rescinded the trump policies on the u.s. border with mexico, all of these harsh controversial policies, bided rescinded those -- biden rescinded those with the snap of a finger. why didn't he do that -- trump's policy on the commitments to the iran nuclear deal? i think it is because within the biden administration, there is a split. there are people within the administration, not just congress, who do not want to go back to the jcpoa as it was agreed in 2015. they went to renegotiate it. they want to reimpose more restrictions and for this to
last longer. the people within the biden administration are not so much against sanctions. they are against the way the trump administration did it to they would like to have a sanctions regime that gives some control over iran's economy, control over the development of its nuclear program and allows iran to have some breathing room . but not to be completely free of these restrictions. constant -- the complication is not so much a legal or bureaucratic problem. it is a problem of political will. it is that president biden looks at the middle east, looks at iran in a fundamentally different way than president obama did. obama looked at iran as a great opportunity. like when president nixon went to china and opened u.s. relations with china. biden does not see it that way. he sees iran as a problem to contain. >> you mentioned the fact there are members of the biden
administration who would like to renegotiate the deal. would not that take leverage? does the u.s. have leverage to do something like that right now? >> there are people within the biden administration that think they do. in some ways, they think what trump did as unsuccessful as it was, has given the biden administration the leverage it needs to get what they say they want. a longer and stronger deal. my sense is it is not so much a longer and stronger deal. it is they want to park the iran issue. they want to put iran over to the side so that president biden can focus on his ambitious domestic legislative agenda and tried to contain iran as a problem. they don't see iran in terms of being an opportunity for u.s. foreign policy and strategy. they don't look at it in a bigger strategic picture. >> this is the amount of time necessary to assemble sufficient
material for a nuclear weapon. it increased to at least a year. where is it that now? >> i knew you would ask this question. this concept of breakout time is a silly concept. it is not a criticism of you. it is those who advance this concept. for a country to breakout, it would need to make somewhere around 10 or 15 deliverable nuclear weapons. it makes no sense to breakout to make one nuclear weapon and paint a target on one's forehead. iran as far as we know has not tested a reentry vehicle capable of carrying a nuclear explosive device. this device would need to survive being shot up into space, reentering the atmosphere at a velocity of five kilometers or more per second, surviving extreme heat and pressures, the
detonating mechanism all need to survive so that at the point the designers have designed it to explode, the device will explode. in any case, iran does not have the capability to manufacture a deliverable warhead based on the evidence we have seen thus far. the concept of a breakout time actually is a very damaging concept. arguing in terms of whether it is 12 months or three months or six weeks really does not make any sense. it muddies the picture and confuses the situation. over the past two year, iran has created a number of bargaining chips. unlike july 2000 15 -- july 2015, and now has three metric tons of an image through geranium. it only has 17 kilograms of 20% enriched uranium, which is not sufficient for one nuclear
weapon. we need about 25 for a newcomer state like iran to make a nuclear explosive from highly enriched uranium. i think one should not get into this concept of a breakout time. one is fooling oneself. one should deal with the situation as it is on the ground. the obama administration was only able to make the jcpoa because it agreed to iran's demand to continue enrichment, which is allowed under the jcpoa, albeit a maximum of 6.7% enriched uranium. iran now has nearly 7000 centrifuges. it is operating five more advanced designs. that is where the focus should be. to return to the june -- the july 2015 limit. and then talk about some sort of broader deal. iran has already committed under the nonproliferation treaty not
to develop nuclear weapons. that is already there. we really should not lose the main issue with all these other confusing issues of iran should never have a nuclear weapon. all of these things are covered one way or another if we get back to the jcpoa. lastly, i think the biden administration was also focused when iran interfered with the verification system and stopped implementation of the additional protocol. the iea director astutely rescued the situation where iran was continuing to gather this data and allow them together the data so as you mentioned they can maintain continuity of knowledge. >> i'm so sorry. really have a minute left and i want to ask one more question. expectations going into this are
very low. i want to ask you, what you believe iranian officials think has to happen for these talks to be considered a success? >> when we are saying iran is close to the bomb, we have to remember netanyahu has been saying this since the 1990's and that was over 20 years ago. when they were saying they have to bomb iran in 2009 and 2010 and iran is not even close now. regarding the negotiations, from iran's perspective, iran does not want to renegotiate the deal. iran is not thinking about a broader deal. why should iran give more concessions when the current deal has failed? i think the path forward is for the americans to return to the deal. it was them who left the deal first. and then iran has said it will move quickly after that and returned to its obligations under the deal. >> we have run out of time so we will have to leave the
sonoko sakai: well, i grew up in a very small town called kamakura, whichs about an hour outside of tokyo. and so i was immersed in the old world, old japan, very artisinal, without even knowing what that word is. they have this craftsmanship. that was the way people lived. you had to know how to work with your hands. and it was an awakening for me as a young child looking at the craftsman's work.