How Close Is Iran Really to Nuclear Capability?
Assessing U.S. strategy to Iranian quest
- Duration 6:54
- Date Dec 15, 2011
Assessing U.S. strategy to Iranian quest
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This transcript is automatically generated
Apparently there's new fears -- may be weeks away from being another step closer to creating.
A nuclear weapon the Jerusalem Post is reporting today they're running government is about the fire center fugitives at a secret underground plant near one of the country's holiest cities.
It would be capable they say of enriching uranium at a higher grade than ever again that brings us closer to nuclear weapon ambassador Dennis Ross is here is a former special assistant to President Obama.
A former senior director of National Security Council just recently with the Obama administration until early December and this is your first television interview has -- -- BI DC.
It feels different.
I'm sure it's been a busy couple years with this administration and then we've we've talked about new fears about Iran.
Probably more times and then I can count but I have to ask you when you carry forum like this.
How close you think Iran is ten nuclear weapon.
Well they're not that close to nuclear weapons with the USA weeks away no they're not weeks away they have to enriched to much higher -- and they are they have to weaponized where that they have not.
So they're not right on the brink but obviously this is a program that one has to spend a great to have time.
Being vigilant about.
When the president entered into this administration 2008 he talked about engaging Iran it -- that diplomacy was at a route that he was willing to entertain.
We seen a height and rhetoric since and the world has obviously changed as well.
But there have been reports said the president will become more aggressive as we get closer to -- -- -- twelve election.
More aggressive in his approach -- -- do you see that happening.
-- -- says he's been pretty aggressive all along the fact is he made it clear from the beginning that he was determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
The focus on engagement was both genuine in terms of seeing if there was a diplomatic way to resolve this.
But it was also useful -- to mobilize the rest the world to be supportive what we're doing to put more pressure on -- The key -- always been -- -- -- concentrate pressure on Iran in a way that's gonna make a difference to Iran and then give them a way out if in fact they're prepared taken.
So bringing us -- had -- -- if you about what is this president look like when he's in his leadership Brawley say he's been tough on Iran.
-- what is being tough on Iran look like in this presidency vs the other presidents you've worked for like Reagan or Bill Clinton.
Well I think you have -- every president is different but the key here is that you're dealing with an Iranian program -- obviously poses a threat to everybody and including to our national vital interest.
President's been very clear and all the meetings we had that this is something we head to head off.
There were different ways to try to do it he was very focused on us he spent and has been enormous amount of his time.
Dealing with this issue is one of the most severe and and significant -- -- challenges that he faces.
He's brought this up with every -- that -- dealt with multiple times -- with the Russians with the Chinese.
And it's been an increasingly significant focal point of his presidency he's.
Consistent after the it's interesting going into an election year to take an examination of the policy the president who's in office and often times we dissect the policy from Washington coming down to -- all of us around the country but I'd like to ask you.
What should the American people demanded their next leader when it comes to Iran when it comes to middle east policy bush should we want from our next leader in office.
Well I think the first thing is.
Because Iran poses a threat to our vital -- security interest.
You wanna have confidence that in fact this is an issue that you know is going to be dealt with -- Iran -- nuclear weapons is something that transforms the world as we know it.
This is not something that we should be living -- containing this is something that it's important to ensure that has prevented so the first thing as.
Knowing that the president is going to -- deal with us in a way that ensures our interest -- -- Can you be specific about that -- -- dealing with that because we've obviously talked about military action as well.
And everyone's wondering if is that option on the table the president just said last week of course all options -- on the table but when it comes to Iran.
Does diplomacy work is diplomacy the most effective way or is forced the most effective way.
Nobody wants to use force if you don't have to use force you never know what the consequences are going to be well so that Iran -- nuclear weapons creates its own set of consequences so.
The question is how do you blend diplomacy and coercion in a way that produces the -- we want which is in Iran without nuclear weapons are we on the right path.
I believe we -- right path I think we still have time and space but this is an issue that you have to watch closely.
When -- return to Israel obviously are as you look at the issues of Middle East you have to look at Israel whenever key allies there the president said this recently in New York a fundraising event.
He's in quoted try not to pat myself too much on the back with this administration has and more in terms of the security.
The State of Israel than any previous administration's.
Since you've worked with -- presidents in the past wondering if you think that's true.
I can tell you as -- as a fact of life I was actually one of the original authors of something known as strategic cooperation with the Israelis and the Reagan administration.
There is no doubt that where we are today is something that we didn't fully even envisioned back in the early 1980s when we -- this.
So the truth is in terms of the character cooperation and Israelis to focus on security issues that the nature the he dialogue with them.
How we work for them across the board of intelligence and national security questions.
Really isn't precedent is built on a base it's built on -- foundation that was created over time but it's been taken to new heights.
-- wouldn't give credit just to this one administration for being the most let me make sure you quote him -- Has done the most in terms of security for the -- Israel you're saying it's really a combination of the administration's in the past as well.
One thing about Israel this has been a nonpartisan issue and -- should remain that way the fact is presidents of both parties have been committed to Israel's security.
This president has taken it to a new level and they've -- nature of the cooperation is unprecedented.
Just a quick final question you -- time magazine -- person of the year is the protestor.
You obviously were in office an incredible time in the Middle East where you have the Arab Spring and I'm wondering today because you just spoke about this in -- speech that you just recently gave about.
Our stake in the Middle East and trying to make sure that our interests -- achieved.
To this date.
Have we done a good enough job as a country capitalizing if you well on some that -- that we've seen in the Middle East and making sure that our interests are at the forefront in that region.
-- we're facing an enormous challenge anybody to who you would hear was says they know exactly how things are gonna unfold.
During a time of change when nobody predicted what was gonna happen -- you should be a little bit cautious about listening to what they have to say I would say this however.
This is a time of potential it's a time of risk and potential to challenge for us at this juncture is to figure out.
How do we position ourselves so that's kind of interest that we have the kind of values that we have are more likely to shape and to find the Middle East over time.
Nobody is going to be able to write this story in a way that reflects exactly what we want because the people of the region the ones writing it.
We have a big stake there and we have the ability to try to influence and we're gonna have to do that.
Sounds like -- -- next and you conversation for for the -- of accident with our to have you back with us.
On the show thank you for your service of this administration thank you NN for the for to have that conversation featured bastard thank you very much as Chris.