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Netanyahu Says Iran Deal Paves Way for Bomb; White House Reacts to Israeli PM's Speech; Imagine a World
Aired March 3, 2015 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: That was President Obama, reacting to Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech to Congress. He hadn't watched it, but he did
say the prime minister offered no alternatives.
And tonight, we dig deeper as the Israeli prime minister finally delivers that speech to Congress, dumping all over President Obama's nuclear
negotiations with Iran and claiming this:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL (voice-over): The foremost sponsor of global terrorism could be weeks away from having enough enriched
uranium for an entire arsenal of nuclear weapons and this with full international legitimacy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice-over): And this hour, we're also standing by for reaction from the White House Press Room. We will also go live to Tehran later and
get analysis from my guests. With me in the studio, the former Israeli government adviser, Daniel Levy; also former U.S. nuclear negotiator, Bob
Einhorn, and later the Israeli intelligence minister Yuval Steinitz.
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour.
The settings couldn't be more different. In Switzerland, American diplomats along with European, Russian and Chinese partners, trying to
reach a nuclear deal with Iran. And in Washington, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a last-ditch effort to stop the deal, taking
his dire warnings to the heart of America's democracy, the United States Congress.
During this highly controversial and politically partisan address, Netanyahu produced no new evidence against the deal and offered no
alternative to it. Instead, he claimed the deal would grease Iran's path to the bomb.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NETANYAHU: That deal will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. It would all but guarantee that Iran gets those weapons, lots of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now the prime minister's speech may have been as much about politics as about policy because he faces a very close election in just two
weeks from now.
His main opposite, the labor leader, Isaac Herzog, said that Netanyahu was only ensuring that Israel would have no input in the talks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ISAAC HERZOG, CHAIRMAN, ISRAEL LABOR PARTY (through translator): The painful truth is that after the applause, Netanyahu remained alone. Israel
remained isolated and negotiations with Iran will continue without the involvement of Israel.
This speech, therefore, greatly undermined the relationship between Israel and the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And as we just heard, moments ago in Washington, President Obama said that the prime minister offered, quote, "nothing new."
Now joining me in the studio here is Daniel Levy, director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at the European Council on Foreign
Relations and he's also been a negotiator in peace talks with the Palestinians under Israeli Prime Ministers Rabin and Barak.
And from Washington, Robert Einhorn joins me, the former U.S. assistant secretary of state for non-proliferation and he has been on the nuclear
negotiating team from 2009-2013.
Gentlemen, thank you both very much indeed for being with me.
You're sitting here right in front of me, Daniel Levy; you know Israeli politics. You know the United States so well.
What has today done to the relationship between the United States and Israel?
DANIEL LEVY, DIRECTOR, MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA PROGRAMME, EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Benjamin Netanyahu is a polarizing figure.
He didn't become any less polarizing today. I think for a few minutes there, we thought maybe he was going to extend an olive branch.
But what happened in that speech, where he essentially accused the president of paving the way to an Iranian nuclear weapon, not just the
president of America, by the way, the entire P5+1, Israel's European allies, I think he doubled down on making this more partisan. It may play
well at home.
AMANPOUR: Do you think it will?
LEVY: Well, I think that Prime Minister Netanyahu wants this election to be about national security issues, not about improprieties in his own
household which are being investigated, not about socioeconomic issues. So I think it probably does help him at home.
AMANPOUR: And we will come to you, Bob Einhorn, in a second to talk about the substance of Netanyahu's comments. But right now we're going to the
White House to listen to Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary.
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: -- specifically that employees of the Obama administration should use their official email accounts when
they're conducting official government business.
However, when there are situations where personal email accounts are used, it is important for those records to be preserved consistent with the
Federal Records Act.
In fact, the president signed into law a bill at the end of last year that clarified the guidelines for how those personal emails can be properly
stored and maintained. This is part of why the State Department has asked all of the previous secretaries of state who have used any email as they
were conducting official U.S. business to send their emails to the State Department so they could be properly preserved and maintained.
Secretary Clinton's team, in response to that request, reviewed her emails and complied with that request by sending all of the emails on her personal
account that pertain to her official responsibilities as secretary of state. They did that, even though many of the records were already
maintained on the State system because those records were emails between the secretary of state and State Department employees using their official
government email address.
QUESTION: So are you saying that her use of her personal email solely was appropriate or was it a violation of this policy?
EARNEST: Well, what you should do is that you should check with the State Department, who is responsible for administering this policy. But the
policy as a general matter allows individuals to use their personal email address as long as those emails are maintained and sent to the State
Department, which, if you ask Secretary Clinton's team, that's what they completed in the last month or two.
QUESTION: Given that she's not the first person to use personal email, does there need to be some sort of system for archiving personal emails of
high-ranking government officials like this?
EARNEST: Well, that is part of this law that I referred to that the president signed into law at the end of last year, that it does establish
clear guidelines for how individuals, if they are using their personal email to conduct official business, can ensure that those records are
Now, the official guidance that we offer to administration employees -- and it's certainly the guidance that I've followed here personally when I've
been at the White House -- is that I use my official government email address when I'm conducting official government business. It saves me the
additional step of having to take a personal email and forward it to my government email so that it can be properly maintained.
Now it's not incredibly uncommon for one of you or one of your colleagues to send an email to my personal address. A few of them -- a few of you
have it. But when I do that, I will answer the emails, which I try to be pretty good about doing, but then I will take that response and forward the
email to my official account so that the record of that email exchange can be properly preserved.
QUESTION: Can you respond to the announcement from the House that they will vote on a homeland security funding bill without restrictions?
EARNEST: Well, Nedra, as you heard me say yesterday, the White House has been urging the Congress for months now to do the right thing and that is
pass a full-year funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security that does not include any politically motivated riders. And the benefit of that
is is that it will allow --
AMANPOUR: Are you sure?
EARNEST: -- the Department of Homeland Security to plan and take the necessary steps to protect the American people.
And at the end of last year, Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill got together and worked to hammer out an agreement about the appropriate
funding levels for that agency.
That agreement was reached at the end of last year, but for several months now, congressional Republicans have prevented votes on that compromise
because they were trying to figure out a way that they could capitalize on a political opportunity.
AMANPOUR: So we may be dipping in and out of this White House press conference for a while, to see whether Josh Earnest does talk about the
reaction to Bibi Netanyahu's speech.
But right now, while they're discussing other housekeeping matters, I want to turn to Robert Einhorn, former assistant secretary of state and on the
negotiating team with Iran for a number of years.
I want to ask you first to address Prime Minister Netanyahu's main charge, that this deal will pave the way for Iran to get plenty of nuclear weapons.
ROBERT EINHORN, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: Christiane, I don't agree with that assessment. When the prime minister says this is a bad
deal but the deal he proposes in its place is an unachievable deal. He calls for Iran to completely dismantle its nuclear infrastructure. He
would like to link the duration of the deal and the lifting of sanctions to far-reaching changes in Iran's regional behavior.
This is simply not negotiable. No one across the entire political spectrum of Iran would accept such far-reaching measures. And presumably Israel
AMANPOUR: Well, do you feel secure knowing what you know about what's being discussed, that this is, you know, not a very bad deal? It's
obviously not the best deal. Everybody would like to see full ending of enrichment. But you've said that it's not possible and the record proves
that up to now, despite sanctions, enrichment has continued.
What do you make of the key components of the deal?
Is 10 years enough, for instance, to be sure that these restrictions will affect their behavior?
EINHORN: A critical element, Christiane, is the notion of breakout time. What this deal would do, the deal that's emerging, it would lengthen from
about 2-3 months, which is the current time, to at least one year, the amount of time it would take Iran to produce enough weapons grade nuclear
material for a single nuclear bomb. The idea is with one year lead time after you've detected a violation, the United States and others in the
international community could intervene decisively to stop Iran from getting to its goal of nuclear weapons, including by the use of military
The administration is also pressing for very rigorous verification measures. So any attempted breakout and violation would be detected at a
very early stage so that there would be plenty of time to intervene decisively to stop them.
So I think obviously it's not an ideal deal. But it's a good deal. And one that's better than any realistic alternative.
AMANPOUR: I'll get to more of those specifics in a moment. But I want to read to you, Daniel Levy, a statement, quite extraordinary, really, from
Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader of the House. This is what she said.
Basically she left quite upset. And she said, "That is why, as one who values the U.S.-Israel relationship and loves Israel, I was near tears
throughout the prime minister's speech, saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States as part of the P5+1 nation."
I mean, she's a staunch friend of Israel for a major leader to say that the prime minister of Israel is insulting the intelligence of her president and
all the international negotiators, that's quite a directed dig.
LEVY: Well, it is. And I think it was hard not to reach that conclusion, Christiane. I think it's a spectacularly bad idea for an Israeli prime
minister to go to Congress and to own a campaign to sabotage diplomacy, the logical endpoint of which could see America in another war, in the Middle
East. That is a very bad idea for an --
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you both, because he actually addressed that. He actually spoke to those who said, well, it's either diplomacy and a
political deal or it's a military deal if Israel wants to make sure that Iran doesn't get any kind of bomb.
Do you think that Israel is ready to go against Iran?
Or will it ask the United States to do so?
LEVY: We've been here before, haven't we, Christiane? This is a story that has kept running and kept running, the threats from the Israeli prime
minister, people have said any moment now it's going to happen. I think for Prime Minister Netanyahu, the option is less than Israeli strike. It
would more be to see the U.S. in a confrontation with Iran. And I think the weakness of Netanyahu's case today is that he precisely did not offer
an alternative. The alternative he putatively offered was a fantasy. The idea that you could get a better deal, that Iran would be brought on its
knees and capitulate, flies in the face of the experience of these negotiations.
So we are left with a binary choice that I think Prime Minister Netanyahu knows is the case but wants to kind of duck away from.
And there was an incoherence to what Netanyahu said today. On the one hand, he said after 36 years, who would believe Iran would change in the
next 10. On the other hand he said, if you keep up the pressure, the regime is so fragile. He said no more inspections after 10 years. But
Iran is a member of the NPT, unlike Israel, by the way. So of course Iran would remain under restrictions.
So let me ask you a few of those questions, Mr. Einhorn. On the one hand, do you think that a military option, if this deal fails, that a military
option could do what Netanyahu would like it to do? Eradicate Iran's nuclear program?
EINHORN: (INAUDIBLE) back Iran's nuclear program. But for how long, we don't know, 12 months, 18 months, 24 months, whatever it is, it would be
temporary. Iran could rebuild that program. But what a nuclear -- what a military strike would do, it would trigger an Iranian decision that they've
so far deferred. And that's a decision to proceed immediately to the production of nuclear weapons.
But under these circumstances, the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors would be evicted. We would lose our best window into what's
going on with Iran's nuclear program. And another result would be to shatter the international sanctions coalition which is vital to keep
pressure on Iran in a post-attack environment. So, no, I don't think the military option is a solution.
AMANPOUR: We'll be back with more of this analysis.
First, we're going to pop into the White House Briefing Room and listen to Josh Earnest again, talking about this issue.
EARNEST: -- include historically significant verification measures. We're talking about detailed verification measures that would include, of course,
as you would expect, the routine inspection of nuclear facilities in Iran, but it would also expand to things like regular inspections of uranium
mines that exist in Iran, regular inspection of manufacturing facilities that are related to nuclear equipment that are critical to the functioning
of their nuclear program.
We're talking about an in-depth, rigorous inspections regime that can verify for the international community that Iran is living up to their end
of the deal.
Now, the second part of your question was related to.
QUESTION: The fact that he was talking about these points of a potential deal.
Should he not have done that?
Was that a betrayal of trust?
EARNEST: Well, again, the Israeli prime minister is allowed to make the decisions, as I referred to yesterday, is allowed to make the decisions
about what he's going to say based on his own assessment about the best interests of Israeli national security. That's his responsibility as the
politically, democratically elected leader of Israel.
But the president has made clear that there are other concerns in mind, principally ensuring that the relationship between the United States and
Israel isn't subjected to the turbulence of partisan politics.
And that's why the president has chosen a somewhat different approach. It's why the president is not meeting with the prime minister on this visit
to the United States. But it does not reflect any change in this administration's or this country's commitment to Israel's national
QUESTION: Hey, Josh. Going back to the emails, the president is a noted emailer in chief.
Has he ever emailed with the former secretary of state, did they email when she was in office?
EARNEST: You won't be surprised to hear that I'm not going to talk a lot in detail about emails that are sent to or from the President of the United
States. But I will tell you as a general matter two things. The first is that the president's emails are subject to the Presidential Records Act,
which does have -- which is a little bit different than the Federal Records Act. Hopefully you guys aren't going to quiz me on that.
But they are subjected to --
AMANPOUR: All right. We're going to take a short break now. You heard Josh Earnest talking about the verification regime that would be in place
under any such deal and that is already actually in place.
When we come back, we'll talk more about what Iran is doing under its terms of the interim deal and we will have the view from Iran.
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome back to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour. As negotiators in Switzerland try to reach an
agreement on Iran's nuclear program, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has, as we know, taken to Washington in a last-ditch effort to
stop such a deal.
Just as we went to air, President Obama said that the Israeli leader had issued, quote, "nothing new" on Iran.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Prime Minister Netanyahu has not offered any kind of viable alternative that would achieve the same
verifiable mechanism to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now as Prime Minister Netanyahu was railing against the nuclear negotiations with a fiery speech to Congress, CNN caught up with the
Iranian foreign minister, Javad Zarif, along the lake front in Switzerland during a break from the talks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did Netanyahu's speech affect the talks at all?
JAVAD ZARIF, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Well, he's trying to, but I don't think trying to create tension and conflict helps anybody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And Netanyahu's speech was avidly awaited inside Iran itself, where we find our own Fred Pleitgen now -- Fred.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Christiane. It certainly was and it's certainly where a lot of people who were following
the speech, of course it wasn't shown here anywhere on Iranian TV, but people certainly did find ways to listen to it. And so far the reactions
that we've gotten here from inside Iran have been quite vicious, as you might expect. The government here has tried to label it as a speech of
what they call Iranophobia. And it's interesting because we just got off the phone with the spokesperson for Mr. Zarif, for the foreign minister,
Marzieh Afkham, and she -- Afkham -- and she issued a statement also denouncing it as what she calls Iranophobia.
And the main quote from that statement is, "The continued lies of Netanyahu regarding the aims and intentions of the peaceful nuclear program of Iran
are repetitive and sickening. With the continuation of the negotiations and the serious will of Iran to remove this artificial crisis," as they
call it, "the politics of Iranophobia are facing major problems," is what they say, which to us seems to indicate that they are still willing to move
forward with the negotiations.
And so far, the negotiations have not been influenced by this speech at least as far as the Iranians are concerned. One interesting point that was
taken, of course, was the fact that Mr. Netanyahu in his speech there said that he believed that Iran needed this deal more than the West does.
That's certainly a notion that the Iranians here throughout today that we've been here and throughout the last couple of weeks, of course, have
been trying to dispel with the Supreme Leader, for instance, coming out and saying, yes, he does back these negotiations but he also feels that a bad
deal for Iran is actually worse than no deal.
And one of the other things, of course, Christiane, that he also said is that if, indeed, these talks fall through, if, indeed, the sanctions remain
in place, the Iranians would still get by -- Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Incredible public negotiating positions from just about everybody right now. Fred Pleitgen in Tehran, thank you so much.
And now what is the reaction from inside Israel itself? Let us bring in Yuval Steinitz, who is the country's intelligence minister. And he joins
me live from Jerusalem.
Mr. Steinitz, welcome back to the program. Do you think that your prime minister's speech --
YUVAL STEINITZ, ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE MINISTER: Good evening from Jerusalem.
AMANPOUR: Good evening.
Did your prime minister's speech affect the dial in the United States Congress? I mean, obviously you're all hoping that they won't back any
What do you think?
STEINITZ: I think it was a very important speech, historic speech. And it's very important that Israel speak up about its national security and
what might affect its very existence. I know that it creates some tension with the administration. Naturally so because we are very critical of
their project, of the negotiations so far.
But nobody can expect literally Israel to keep silent on such a vital issue of national security.
AMANPOUR: Yes, Mr. Steinitz?
STEINITZ: -- speeches do have some effect.
AMANPOUR: OK. Well, I just wanted to ask you, do you think that Iran, as the President of the United States said tonight, you know, nobody quite
knows; the deal hasn't been made. Nobody really knows the parameters of them. And he said that Israeli government officials themselves, you all
admit that Iran has kept its end of the deal under the interim agreement.
Do you agree with that?
STEINITZ: Yes, I think it is at Iran and we say that in advance that we think that Iran have no reason to violate the interim agreement because
this might help it to get a very convenient final agreement. They didn't violate as the interim agreement. They did violate all the international
obligations previously to the NPT. This is my, what, sixth U.N. Security Council resolutions declared that Iran was violating once and again and
again and again all the commitments that it took upon itself in the NPT. So Iran cannot be trusted. I have heard these words about Iranophobia.
This is the most phobia, the most justified phobia in the world. It's like, you know, the German phobia in the 1930s. There are very good
reasons to be afraid from Iran to be afraid from Iran that will become a threshold nuclear state one year from the bomb. We believe even less than
one year and to be afraid of an agreement that 10 years from now will enable Iran to remain threshold nuclear state not one year but maybe few
weeks from fissile material for many nuclear weapons.
Iran cannot be trusted. Iran is not Holland (ph) and we have to be very careful about this issue. It's about the future of the world, not just
about the existence of Israel.
AMANPOUR: I want to ask you a couple of questions about your existential threat that you raised. But first I want to ask you this. You know, your
side briefed reporters quite significantly before this speech that somehow there would be something new that the prime minister, Netanyahu, would come
to the Congress for some, I don't know, smoking gun, new evidence to say that this was, you know, something different than we all thought. He
didn't bring anything new. It was really a sort of a reiteration of the things that he's said many, many times in the past.
I want to know how you react to what Nancy Pelosi, a staunch supporter of Israel, the minority leader of the United States Congress, said.
She said, "That's why, as one who values the U.S.-Israel relationship and loves Israel, I was near tears throughout the prime minister's speech,
saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States as part of the P5+1 nation."
She's basically saying your prime minister insulted the whole of the United States and the president.
STEINITZ: Well, I don't think that this is the case. I like Nancy Pelosi very much and many other congressmen and senators from both sides of the
aisle, Democrats and Republicans. They're all our friends and we believe we are -- we do appreciate it. And by the way, we do appreciate the
friendship and commitment of the president of America and of the secretary of state. And I do admire Wendy Sherman, the chief negotiator. Still we
have different perspective. We are deeply disturbed. It's maybe because we are here in the Middle East we feel the heat of Iran. We are threatened
by Iran from the south, from the north and we don't believe that Iran can be trusted. Supervision of inspection, it's very important. But if Iran
will park too close to nuclear weapons, the temptation within Iran, not now, three years from now, five years from now, to jump to the bomb exactly
like what happened in North Korea after quite similar agreement, will be very big. And therefore we are not in engaged diplomatic solution on the
conditions that it will be (INAUDIBLE).
STEINITZ: -- solution should neutralize the Iranian nuclear plant and not just inspect it.
AMANPOUR: Right. But here's the thing, Mr. Steinitz. Your prime minister according to the U.S. Senate and people like Senator Feinstein and we've
just been speaking to Robert Einhorn, who's been around these negotiations for a long time, offered nothing new.
What is the alternative if there is no deal? Because the idea that you can get a better deal everybody says is kind of a nonstarter. It hasn't
happened in the past. And it's not likely to happen out of the blue now. And inspectors are better than no inspectors; restrictions are better than
STEINITZ: First, you know, it's quite paradoxical, on the one hand, to ask the prime minister not to reveal anything from the ongoing negotiations and
then to say, yes, he didn't expose anything new. No, you have to decide.
AMANPOUR: No, I said an alternative.
STEINITZ: -- prime minister made -- yes, yes. Just one thing to add before the alternative. Prime minister made several very important issues.
One of them was to struggle against (INAUDIBLE) charming campaign (ph). You know, some people tend to believe that Iran is not that terrible
anymore because (INAUDIBLE) changed the tone. And it was very important for the prime minister and for the world to remind ourselves how dangerous
Iran is, how it's behaving the wider Middle East, what it's doing to its own people and how it's still trying to cheat and to keep itself as a
threshold nuclear state, to become a threshold nuclear state.
Now, what are the alternatives? The alternative are not very easy. But we believe that if Iran will face a great oppression (ph) and more
determination from the world maybe there will be some crisis in the negotiation, it's said in several times in the past. But at the end of the
day, if you will force Iranian to choose, you want to save the economy or you want to save 6,000 centrifuges. If you force them to choose, if there
is nothing in between, I believe that at the end of the day, the Iranians will give in and will prefer to save the country economy and not to
preserve several thousands centrifuges of the right to proceed without a deal and much more efficient since the centrifuge, which in my view is one
of the most important topic under discussion.
I think the world have enough leverage on Iran in order to force the Iranians with unit (ph), also the determination to give in and to dismantle
to the level of nuclearizing the threat and not living with it until some inspection or verification and mechanism.
AMANPOUR: OK, Yuval.
STEINITZ: This is not a good enough.
AMANPOUR: OK. I hear what you're saying. I just want to ask one final question.
How do you explain the difference in opinion on these vital issues between, let's say, Mossad, your intelligence and your prime minister?
You know that all these leaked cables and other such things, the intelligence and in the military, they believe the timeline is not as
contracted as Prime Minister Netanyahu says. And there is actually a much longer -- and people will say you know, the prime minister, you know, gave
this same speech 25 years ago in the United States, saying that next year or the year after, Iran will have a bomb.
How do you explain your own intelligence saying that, hang on, he's got the timeline wrong?
STEINITZ: No, this is not the case. I'm the Israeli minister of intelligence. I'm speaking almost on a daily basis with the people of the
IDF intelligence, with the head of the Mossad. I'm getting also reports on a daily basis and I'm telling you we now estimate that the forthcoming
agreement -- I mean, it's not concluded yet, but from what we already can see, will give even less than one year breakout time in the next few
years, that after five or six years, the breakout time will even be reduced and after 10 years, when some of the restrictions will be over, will be
lifted, it might be even one month breakout time for enough fissile material for many bombs.
Now you are asking about the warning that Netanyahu made albeit 20 years or 15 years ago. You are perfectly right. Iran was supposed to develop
nuclear weapons already several years ago. And there were many difficulties and many problems in the Iranian nuclear project. I think the
pressure from the world and you know, and the prevention of setting off commodities, of knowledge, of materials to the Iranians also played a role.
And good for us and good for the world they are not there yet. But now they are close and if the agreement will be the wrong agreement, they might
get even closer and might establish themselves as a threshold nuclear state, very close to the production of nuclear weapons. And we have to
learn something from (INAUDIBLE). What happened with North Korea after a similar agreement shouldn't repeat itself with Iran.
AMANPOUR: Yuval Steinitz, minister of intelligence from Israel, thank you for joining me with the view from Jerusalem. Thank you very much indeed.
STEINITZ: You are most welcome.
AMANPOUR: And as we have seen, Iran dominated events in Congress today and we will talk more about that later. But first, a little bit of Tehran
comes to London, dubbed Iran's Banksy, Mehdi Ghadyanloo is the first Iranian street artist to exhibit in London and also around the world. Like
Banksy, he paints on walls as well as canvas. He focuses on life at home in Iran and he's aiming to continue this artistic journey, trying to build
some bridges across the pond in Los Angeles.
After a break, further analysis and more debate on Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech. We return to my guests, Robert Einhorn and Daniel
Levy. That's next.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program. And my guests, Daniel Levy, here in the studio with me, and Bob Einhorn in Washington, former U.S. assistant
Secretary of State for Non-Proliferation Affairs, I need to ask you -- I know you didn't hear our last guest. I hope you can hear me now.
But let's talk a little bit more --
EINHORN: I have no audio.
AMANPOUR: Oh, you can't hear me. Well, as soon as your audio gets fixed, we'll come back to you.
But let me ask you, Daniel.
I'll come right back to you, Bob.
The Iranians have sent out an official reaction, essentially saying that Bibi Netanyahu's speech was, quote, "boring and repetitive," and adding
that it was just part of quote, "a hardline election campaign" in Israel.
What do you make of that reaction?
It's much less fiery condemnation than I would have expected from Iran.
LEVY: Well, I think that's probably quite a smart reaction. The other thing one might want to say about today's events is that does Netanyahu
become the accidental peacemaker in the following sense, this is not going to be an easy deal. If it happens to selling Tehran, the best selling
points to Iranian hardliners may well be Netanyahu's speech. If this speech is so opposed by Israel, maybe it's not so bad after all.
Just as Netanyahu may well have rallied democrats more around their president on this than previously today, just as he may have sent a signal
to Israelis that he is to blame for this deal happening and now we have to move on, he may well also be helping sell the deal in Tehran. I have to
make one comment on the Iranian Banksy, because it struck me that the other Banksy, who -- the original Banksy has just been in Gaza. And he's just
released videos from Gaza.
A remarkable thing about today is that the Israeli prime minister can go to the U.S., go to APAC, go to Congress and what is the one issue that's
missing? The Palestinians.
AMANPOUR: Peace in the region, indeed.
Well, before we get peace in the region, which seems to be as difficult to achieve as a nuclear deal with Iran, Bob Einhorn, just your political gut
instinct, that speech to Congress, all those American Congress people jumping up and applauding and hooting and hollering, what does that mean in
terms of you know, when the president, if he can get a deal, tries to sell it to Congress?
Are they obligated to vote no because of the reaction they gave to the Israeli prime minister?
EINHORN: It was a powerful speech. But I don't think it's going to change any minds. And if the Congress goes ahead and adopts new sanctions
legislation, the president has made clear that he will veto that legislation. And I think the president will be able to marshal the 34
Senate Democrats whose votes are needed to sustain his veto.
Indeed, the Netanyahu gambit this week may have increased the likelihood that Senate Democrats will stick with their president and vote to sustain
AMANPOUR: Mr. Einhorn, you know, many people say they just don't trust the Iranian regime and as Ronald Reagan said, it was trust, but verify. So
there is a verification, very intrusive one, built in.
What is the best that you can see emerging from these negotiations?
Do you think there'll be a deal?
What will it look like?
EINHORN: I think in the last month there's been increased momentum toward a deal, although the president mentioned yesterday he still believes
there's only a 50-50 chance. But I think the deal will have rigorous verification. It will adopt state-of-the-art monitoring arrangements and
it'll contain a number of constraints on Iran's enrichment program that will lengthen from about 2-3 months to about a year, the time it would take
Iran to produce enough nuclear material for a bomb.
And it would be of fairly long duration; it's -- that hasn't been agreed yet. It could be 15 years. It could be a bit shorter. But it should be
clear that even after the expiration, Iran would not have a clear path to nuclear weapons. It would still be bound by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty. It would still be the rigorous IAEA verification measures in place. And those measures would enable us to detect any effort by Iran to
pursue nuclear weapons. And it would give us time to react including by the use of military force to stop them from succeeding in the production of
AMANPOUR: Does it bother you -- ?
EINHORN: It's not a perfect --
AMANPOUR: Sorry; it's not a perfect -- I understand what you're saying. It's not perfect. But does it bother you that the IAEA, even today, says
that Iran still isn't letting them inspect military installations, to see whether they'd ever tried military applications of the nuclear program?
EINHORN: It's important to divide two things. One, the IAEA has been charged with verifying the interim deal, the so-called joint plan of action
that was agreed in November 2013. The IAEA reports every month on Iran's compliance and has certified every month that Iran has lived up to its
obligations. Where Iran is woefully deficient is in cooperating with the IAEA's investigation of its past activities that the IAEA suspects were
related to the development of nuclear weapons.
It's essential that Iran cooperate with the IAEA so that we understand what they did in the past and could be confident that that -- those activities
are not continuing at the present time and will not continue in the future. That's where they've been -- that's where they have not provided
cooperation. That needs to be corrected before a final deal is achieved.
AMANPOUR: On that note, Robert Einhorn from Washington, Daniel Levy here in the studio, thank you both for joining me tonight.
Very important day.
And after a break, imagine trying to build a bridge between nations that have been worlds apart for decades. The Grammy Award-winning U.S. jazz
players making music with Iranians -- right now -- when we come back.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a world where jazz tries to foster a love supreme between two distant nations as the famous John Coltrane may
have said. There's a lot that separates Iran and the United States as we now know. But even with no diplomatic relations, cultural ties have joined
them together over the years. The non-profit group Search for Common Ground has arranged a U.S. jazz tour of Iran in the hope of building
bridges between the two countries. It's made a cultural ambassador out of the Grammy Award-winning musician Bob Belden, who played his soprano
saxophone with Iranian jazz performers across the country's capital along with several other American musicians.
And an Iranian American filmmaker followed Belden and other jazz musicians on a historic trip and captured the warm welcome they received at Iran's
biggest international music festival.
AMANPOUR: A little harmony amid all the political discord.
That's it for our program tonight. Remember you can always see the whole show online. And we want to leave you tonight with the funeral of Boris
Nemtsov in Moscow today. We covered his assassination in depth on this program yesterday. And people turned out to bid him, the Kremlin's most
outspoken critic, a fond farewell.