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What History Can Teach about the Iran Deal; Interview with Ernest Moniz; Interview with James Hansen; Japan's Military on the Rise Again; Experts Discuss China; The Science of De-extinction. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired July 26, 2015 - 10:00   ET


[10:00:06] FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST: This is GPS, the GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world, I'm Fareed Zakaria.


ZAKARIA: We'll start today's show with the nuclear deal. The Obama administration got Iran to buy in, but can it convince an even tougher crowd? The U.S. Congress. I'll talk to one of the deals' negotiators, now salesman-in-chief, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

Then an important new scientific study says sea levels could rise much more dramatically and much faster than was previously believed only a few years ago. The implications for coastal cities everywhere are staggering. Could it be accurate?

Then after World War II Japan vowed never to wage war. It's even enshrined in the nation's constitution, but now the land of the rising sun wants to dial that back, and maybe it's time. I'll explain.

Also, bringing back extinct animals. Haven't the "Jurassic Park" movies shown us it's a bad idea? Apparently not. I will talk to a scientist who says bringing back extinct animals would be good for the globe.


ZAKARIA: But first here's my take. Let's imagine that the opponents of the nuclear agreement with Iran get their way. The United States Congress kills the deal. What is the most likely consequence? Within one year Iran would have more than 25,000 centrifuges, its breakout time would shrink to mere weeks, and the sanctions against it would crumble.

How is this in America's national interest or Israel's or Saudi Arabia's?

It's not an implausible scenario. It's one rooted in facts. In 2005 three European powers rejected a nuclear deal with Iran after two years of negotiations. On the other side of the table, Hassan Rouhani, now president. He was then Iran's chief negotiator. After the talks collapsed, the Islamic republic ramped up centrifuge production going from less than 200 installed to 20,000 today. There's no doubt that Iran has the capacity to make centrifuges even

under crippling sanctions. Between November 2012 and November 2013 when all international sanctions against Iran were in place, it built 6,000 new centrifuges.

As for maintaining sanctions, the idea that China, Russia and the European Union would maintain sanctions against Iran if Washington turned down a deal that they painstakingly negotiated and fully embraced is farfetched. China is desperate to buy Iran's oil. Russia has already negotiated to sell at nuclear power reactors, and the French Foreign minister has scheduled a trip to Tehran this week to do what that country's diplomats always do -- promote France's corporate interests.

It's worth recalling that when the Obama administration was putting together the last round of U.N. sanctions against Iran, many Republicans dismissed the effort. In an August 2009 op-ed in the "Wall Street Journal" titled "Sanctions Won't Work Against Iran," the Bush administration's ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton, argued that the other major powers would never go along with such sanctions and if they did, it wouldn't change Iran's behavior anyway. Now Republicans say that these same sanctions are wondrously effective if only the administration would keep them on indefinitely.

The crucial reasons the sanctions have been so effective more than critics expected, is they are comprehensive, including China, Russia and Europe. Now there is a profound gap between America and the world in the perception of these sanctions. For many in the United States, the sanctions are a mechanism to punish an evil regime. For most of the other countries involved, the sanctions were enacted specifically to bring Iran to the nuclear negotiating table.

These countries would not allow them to be turned into a permanent mechanism to strangle Iran. They all have relations with Iran, traded with it freely until 2012 and intend to resume and expand these ties. Finally, some who argue against the deal believe that the United States should simply stand firm and Iran will either cave or crumble.

[10:05:09] Anyone who has dealt with Iranians knows they are a proud nationalistic people. The Islamic Republic has endured more than three decades of U.S. sanctions, a nine-year war against Iraq in which Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against them, and various international pressures. If tiny Cuba and North Korea haven't caved after decades of much greater isolation, it's hard to imagine Iran doing so. As for the belief that the Islamic Republic will collapse soon, there is little evidence for this hope.

Obama's critics say that he's gambling that Iran will comply with the accord. In fact, the administration is making a calculated bet that Iran will be constrained by international pressure, intrusive inspections, verification mechanisms and the prospect of snap-back sanctions. The deal's opponents have conjured up a fantasy scenario in which the world will sign up for more sanctions against Tehran. Tehran will neatly return to the table with further concessions or perhaps the Islamic Republic will itself implode and its successors will then denounce and dismantle the entire nuclear program. To bet on this scenario is the real gamble. A high-stakes one with

little evidence to support it.

For more, go to and read my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.

The White House has no fewer than three cabinet secretaries on the hot seat on Thursday in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, making the case for congressional support of the Iran deal. It wasn't a very sympathetic crowd.