tv Amanpour on PBS PBS May 3, 2018 6:00am-6:31am PDT
welcome to "amanpour on pbs." tonight, the newly sworn in secretary of state mike pompeo says the united states is still considering its next move on what he calls the floored iran nuclear deal. while the french president, emmanuel macron, says it's time for a broader deal, but what does tehran think? my exclusive interview with the hamid baeidinejad, the iranian ambassador to the united kingdom. plus, in the age of rising populism and fearmongering, i talked to costa rica's president-elect, carlos alvarado, about how he won a surprise landslide on a progressive agenda.
good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. i'm christiane amanpour in london. america has a new secretary of state. at his swearing in today flanked by president trump, mike pompeo said that the u.s. will soon decide what to do about the iran nuclear deal. and the clock is ticking for trump to make that decision. as european and other signatories t hard to save a deal that after all contains iran's nuclear program. the french president, emmanuel macron tried during a touchy-feely state visit to the white house last week and in australia today he insisted the deal is working. but as designed, he agrees that it's time to add something extra. >> as we negotiated, we signed it, it's good to respect it. and that for me, a good beginning. is it sufficient or not? i mean, my view, it's not sufficient. i don't know what the u.s.
president will decide the 12th of may. i just want to say, what his decision will be, whatever, we will have to prefer such a negotiation on a border deal. >> but is that possible? what would happen if the u.s. withdraws and what if the israeli prime minister's campaign to paint the deal as built on brazen lies? hamid baeidinejad is iran's ambassador to the united kingdom, which is also trying to convince president trump to stay the course. welcome, ambassador, to the program. thanks for joining me. so i guess first and foremost, behind all the public noise about this, what do you, what does the iranian government think is going to happen? do you have any inside track on this? >> of course, pursuing the developments with care and interest and seriousness. this is a very hectic time for the jcpoa, which is the result of intensive negotiations between iran and the great powers. so we are waiting to see what
will be the decision of the united states on the deal. >> are you disappointed, are you concerned about the signals? how would you describe the signals coming from everywhere now? the white house and even europeans? >> of course, they are negative signals on the ground, but we would like to be very realistic and see what would happen -- the final decision of the united states, but the signals are not very constructive. we see signals which are negative on a daily basis, but we want to give the sufficient time to the united states to keep its proper decision. >> you still have some hope? >> i cannot say some hope. of course, hope should be always there. humanity without hope is nothing. but we want to be prepared for different scenarios. if you're prepared for realistic scenarios on the ground, and we
want to wait to give the time to the u.s. to finally decide. >> so you say you're prepared and today the former secretary of state john kerry, who was the principle negotiator along with your foreign minister, dzarif made tweets why it was an important deal, took more than a decade to come to, two years of intense and close negotiations, and he explained that in his tweets. but you just said we're preparing for every eventuality. what happens, what does iran do, if the united states pulls out of the deal, and i guess that would mean reimposing u.s. yes.ions? as you said, there could be some different scenarios on the ground. the first scenario is resorting to the mechanism devised in the jcpoa, sway mechanism to resolve differences which is included in paragraph 36. >> so let's just be clear. the jcpoa is the real name f fo the iran nuclear deal.
you would go to the sort of arbitration paragraph first? >> i'm not saying we would do that. i'm saying that this is a possibility. so it depends on the decision of the united states, if that possibility could come true or not, but this is a possibility. another possibility for us is that in reaction to the united states, we would also withdraw from the deal. that is something very real, and in fact very realistic. so this is something that we are planning and our president also has instructed the different organizations and authorities for, in tehran to prepare for such eventuality. >> what does that mean withdraw from the deal? what does that mean you would do? go back to what? >> when the united states is out of the deal it mean there's is no deal left, because important party of the treaty has abrogated and violated in clear
terms the treaty that is -- in fact the situation as designed in the deal. so a completely new situation. so there could be very clear interpretation that there is no deal left, that iran would be staying in the deal. so the consequence would be that iran would -- would, in fact, would be ready to go back to the, to the previous situation. >> well, that means enriching uranium as a vast speed and capacity? >> it could be enriching uranium. it could be redefining or our cooperation with the agency, and some other activities that are under consideration. >> so in this world of threats and counterthreats, this is what president trump said about, in fact, your president, who said something similar, that would go back to, you know, status quo ante. this is what president trump said. >> they're not going to restart anything. they restart it, they're going
to have big problems, bigger than they've ever had before. and you can mark it down. they restart their nuclear program, they will have bigger problems than they've ever had before. >> how do you interpret that? bigger problems than you ever had before? many interpreted that as once again bringing the specter of a military conflict or military strikes into the political debate. >> at least here i can agree with president trump that iran will not start -- it would not start a nuclear weapons program, because we have never had such program in iran. so we have clearly committed ourselves. being in the mpt first and then on numerous occasions as a policy of the country since we have also from our leadership that in fact nuclear weapons is something forbidden for us. legally and religiously.
so we would not back to -- we would not be in a situation to be engaged in any matter in a nuclear weapons program, but we would be back to the situation in our nuclear industry in terms of enrichment, in terms of other capacities that are quite legitimate under the terms of the mpt and iaea. >> but that's what president trump was saying. if you restart that, you would face worse problems than ever. and as you know, he has got new senior members of his national security apparatus. he's got a new secretary of state sworn in today. he has a new national security adviser. both of them quite hard-line on iran. let me play for you something john bolton, the new national security adviser said as all these protests were under way in iran just around the new year, protests against the government. >> i think now especially, although i haven't favored this deal since it came into being. >> sure.
>> to see the protests in iran. to see the danger that the regime there is in. now to turn away the opportunity to put the economic screws on them in a big way, i think would be a tragic mistake for the administration. >> so before he came in to the administration, he's practically talking about regime change. that's what he's referring to. put the screws on. take advantage of these demonstrations against the government. >> i don't think that these things are relevant here and are related because -- >> are you not worried about this new, new crew in the white house? >> not at all, because, in fact, we started negotiations to be a win-win solution for both parties to the deal, and we are, in fact, very disappointed to see that one party, in fact, tries to abrogate, violate a deal and be out of the deal. but we are very confident that we -- we had the intention to
embark on a confidence-building process and normalize our nuclear industry, and in the meantime, let the international community be, in fact, less concerned and not concerned about our nuclear program. but when that is the situation that they don't want to see these confidence-building enforced, the reality is that we have the full support of our nation to respond very effectively, in fact, to the decision by the united states to withdraw from the deal, if that would be the decision. >> next question is an important one, because you heard what president macron said today. he could see that this deal do under the specific deal, a broader negotiations on other issues. intercontinental, ballistic
missiles, you know, terrorism and regional influence, that whole issue that the rest of the world is also concerned about. does iran believe that that's a starter? can you -- would you do that? would you enter and renegotiate the deal, or have an add-on deal? >> this is not the first time that we hear such statements when we wanted to start negotiations under jcpoa exactly this was the view by some that let's negotiate on everything. on iran nuclear program. on terrorism. on human rights. on regional issues, but, in fact, we were convinced that we cannot, in fact, find a solution for all of these issues. we were instructed by our higher authorities to concentrate under the iran nuclear issue and we believed that with a goodwill we could find a solution and we found that solution. so this is not the new thing to ask. >> i know. would you accept to have, now,
these negotiations? >> the modalities that are suggested totally unacceptable to us because there is some kind of conditionality that if we want to continue the implementation of the jcpoa, there should be agreement on other elements, which is totally unacceptable. jcpoa was negotiated on its own merit and still it's working, and it should be continued to be enforced. if there are other issue, which the party, all parties reach to a conclusion that they can have dialogue and understanding, certainly that's a possibility for the future. >> what do you make now? i know -- i assume you put a lot of faith or hope in european leaders and the other big signato signatories, china, russia, who all signed on to this two-year negotiation in what is known as the jcpoa. it looks like they haven't
managed -- well, we don't know, but as we sit here right now it looks like they haven't managed to change president trump's mind and he may very well pull out. so what faith do you have in europe? >> in fact, this is unfortunate, because this is the second time that europe is really of the mind to salvage negotiations on solution, because that was done in 2005 also. but they were not successful. this time their mind to salvage the jcpoa, and we know they are doing this with a good will to convince the united states to save the deal, but the reality is that they have not opinion able to do that, and we also shared with them the concern that we agree on the strategy, but not the tactic. they should not be, in fact waiting to see if they can appease president trump, by
giving him more concessions, because we think that that is impossible to convince the united states by some -- by such decisions. we should be very clear to the united states that we have a deal. we want to stay the deal, and this deal should be effectively implemented. >> now let's turn to what prime minister benjamin netanyahu presented to the world on monday, when he showed a huge treasure-trove of thousands and thousands of documents. retrieved by agents from a secret warehouse in iran, southern districts of tehran, and this is what he said about the jcpoa, calling it based on a mountain of lies. >> the fact that you have a dangerous deal, the fact that iran is keep or not violating a dangerous deal doesn't make it less dangerous. it's completely flawed. it's based on lies. it's based on the fact that the nuclear weapons program,
acknowledged that they stored up, they didn't come clean with if and also based on the fact that iran will somehow be a docile neighbor. that's not what's happening. the opposite has happened. >> i mean what do you make of those allegations? i mean, clearly, and even the rest of the world says, you did have some kind of nuclear weapons program feasibility studies, whatever you might call it, at least up until 2003? >> there have been some allegations against conducting of such activities in iran, but never there was any proof presented to iran, and, in fact, during the technical talks that we had with the agency, i mean, for so long time, under the different names of resolving the past issues, resolving, in fact, the -- the allegations. we were able, in fact, with iaea to reach such an understanding,
and the iaea presented its final assessment on the issue. and according to that final assessment, which was that iran has not been engaged in nuclear weapons program, the board of governors of the iaea in fact closed this file permanent. that was based on the realities on the ground. >> just one last question, because everybody is now looking at president trump and kim jong-un of north korea. and they're saying that he actually played a very savvy game. he essentially, what people are calling it, used nuclear weapons blackmail against the rest of the world and is getting a visit from president trump, and potentially to denuclearize. we don't know. people are suggesting that maybe iran might take a lesson from north korea? might actually go back to a nuclear weapons program and see how much the world likes that and try to hold out for more and better deals? is that possible? >> as i said, this is off the
agenda, because we believe that, in fact, staying within the npt modalities and renouncing a nuclear option, this is a fundamental policy of iran. so we don't pursue that route, but unfortunately, because of the frustration over the implementation of the deal, now there is a view which is now more strengthening in iran that we should be out of the npt. of course, that is not -- saying that we should start a nuclear weapograons pr but they are very frustrated about being in e npt t depriv of the rights of a state party to that. >> so briefly, is this empowering the hard-liners in iran who also don't like the nuclear deal? >> in fact, on this issue, we have consensus in iran that we want to, in fact, stay within
the npt but should be able to also be enjoying our rights as a state party. as i said, because of such frustration, now there are some views and stronger and stronger that iran maybe is not able to enjoy its rights under the npt and it's better to withdraw. from the npt. >> ambassador baeidinejad, thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you. so turning now to another issue, which is right on the united states southern border. that's the migrant caravan. a big group of central american migrants are waiting to cross over. some of them are now officially seeking asylum, which is a difficult progress and rarely successful for the applicants. as a divisive rhetoric heats up in central america, costa rica is bucking the trend. the nation just held a highly contentious election, where gay marriage was center stage. and costa ricans overwhelmingly
chose a candidate who passionately spoke out for tolerance and inclusivity as well as law and economic progress. he is carlos alvarado, a former journalist and novelest, sworn in on tuesday, becoming at 38 the youngest democratically elected costa rican victory in 200 years. and this is his first international interview. mr. president, welcome to program. >> it's an honor sharing this time with you. >> i want to ask you straightaway, because you are a new central american president at a time when central america is in focus for a lot of the wrong things, i'm afraid. for the push factor sending so many of people through that area up through mexico trying to get into the united states. the so-called caravan of migrants. what do you make of that? how can your neighborhood stop the push factor, so to speak? >> this is a phenomena occurring all around the world related to migration.
this is something we have to tackle regionally. it's not a conflict specific phenomena. it's happening regionally and i do believe we need to deal with it, working in matters of security. working also in matters of the registration and the proper registration of the people and the movement of the people, and as well having a -- defending human rights in the process. >> so, mr. president, let me play this -- this comment from your american counterpart, donald trump, who made it at a speech last week. this is about the migrant caravan. >> we have to have border security. the one good thing, watch the caravan. watch how sad and terrible it is. including for those people, because they come up, and the crime that they inflict on themselves, and that others inflict on them. it's a horrible, dangerous journey for them! for them.
and they come up, because they know once they get here they can walk right into our country. we have the greatest people on earth, and they can't do anything, because the laws are corrupt. >> so it's really become a rallying cry for this administration. i know costa rica doesn't have this exodus, but, you know, it's become a real focal point for the united states. >> well, i would like to use the costa rican example to address that. for example, we have migrants, half a million migrants from central america. especially from nicaragua. and most of them come here to work in agriculture, in domestic service, in private security. and they are really important for our economy. but we also have other migrants. we have lots of u.s. citizens that come here either as tourists or as, when they -- when they are elderly, that come here to have a nice stay in places in costa rica.
so we need to have a balance between the good part of migration, especially the economic part, also in the cultural part, but we also need to enforce a system of security, biometrics and other kind of technology in the borders so these migration can be orderly and we're looking also at phenomenon like organized crime and drugs, for example, that are affecting this region. >> okay, mr. president. let me ask you about your own win. you faced a lot of the currents that we're seeing around the world right now. populism. anti-foreigner, anti-immigration, in some cases anti-the lgbt issues. and you've faced them down and you won. it was quite a divisive election. how did you take that message to the people? how did you dare to face down, for instance, your very
conservative challenger, who basically threatened not to implement the constitutional law on allowing lgbt rights? >> well, i do believe that in our region and specifically in costa rica, we need to strengthen the republican values, or the values of the republic. that means the government of the people, and the government should be for all the families. for all the people. we have to recognize also in costa rica but in latin america the other societies are more and more diverse. we have people living in cities. people living in the fields. people living on the coasts. we have different faith, people are catholic or protestant or different religions. we have people of different ages, and also a strong lgbt movement, the women's movement. and there is lots of diversity. but the republic should be a republic for all the people and
the democratic debate should put all of those points of view, but have a common ground for government. that means that the government should not exclude certain of those groups, but needs to embrace the minority, and i believe those will -- that's the biggest challenge of our current era. >> you just talked about being a bit of an example. one of the things you really are a major example for the world is in the realm of climate change. people look to costa rica and the way your country has implemented sustainable government, sustainable policies, and all sorts of people go to costa rica to figure out how you did it and how it can be translated and transferred around the world. what would you tell the rest of the world, but also especially the united states right now, which is under a severely climate skeptic administration. >> well, we want to move forward with example. actually, we have a electric matrix that's more than 99%
renewable and clean. and we want to move that clean electric matrix to the transportation. our major consumption of fossil fuels is in transportation. so my administration, we're going to move forward aggressively in changing transportation and fossil fuels to renewable energies. that's why we have passed a bill to make easier the import of electric vehicles and we're working with costa rica also with hydrogen as sources of clean energy. our goal is to lead in this matter around the world. we are supporting all the paris agreements, and we want to lead, because we think this is important. in the past costa rica, 70 years ago, abolished the army, and we set an example on peace matters. we also have a strong democratic system as we showed in last election. it's through elections that
people make their decisions, in a really democratic way and we have strong institutions in that. now in climate change we want to step up to the next level and we want not only to protect our biodiversity, we have 6% of the world's biodiversity in our small territory. which is a lot. but we also want to lead in matters of climate change. >> mr. president, carlos alvarado, thank you so much for joining us. >> it's been a pleasure, and i hope you can visit our country again so you can see what we're doing in renewable energies and other fields. >> it would a pleasure. thank you so much. that is it for our program tonight. thanks for watching "amanpour on pbs" and join us again tomorrow night. you're watching pbs.