Scott Horton Interviews Flynt Leverett

Scott Horton, November 10, 2011

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Flynt Leverett, former Senior Director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council, discusses how the most crucial part of the IAEA report on Iran – that declared nuclear material isn’t being diverted to weapons manufacturing – has been buried under a heap of unsubstantiated rumors and accusations; the evidence that new IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano is much more cozy with the US than his predecessor Mohamed ElBaradei; why those who defend Iran’s rights under the NPT aren’t necessarily minions of the Ayatollah; the equally-wacky end-times theology of the major Abrahamic religions; and why Israel’s real “existential threat” is from losing the support of Jews worldwide, not from an incredibly improbable Iran attack.

MP3 here. (30:05)

Flynt Leverett runs The Race For Iran blog and teaches at Pennsylvania State University’s School of International Affairs. Additionally, he directs the Iran Project at the New America Foundation, where he is a Senior Research Fellow.

Dr. Leverett is a leading authority on the Middle East and Persian Gulf, U.S. foreign policy, and global energy affairs. From 1992 to 2003, he had a distinguished career in the U.S. government, serving as Senior Director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council, on the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff, and as a CIA Senior Analyst. He left the George W. Bush Administration and government service in 2003 because of disagreements about Middle East policy and the conduct of the war on terror.

Dr. Leverett’s 2006 monograph, Dealing With Tehran: Assessing U.S. Diplomatic Options Toward Iran, presented the seminal argument for a U.S.-Iranian “grand bargain”, an idea that he has developed in multiple articles and Op Eds in The New York Times, The National Interest, POLITICO, Salon, Washington Monthly, and the New America Foundation’s “Big Ideas for a New America” series.

18 Responses to “Flynt Leverett”

  1. History should provide a lesson for this current crisis. On 7 june 1981 Israel struck the Osirak reactor south of Baghdad that France was building for Iraq. When the deal was first signed in 1974 it has raised alarms in Israel and they immediately went on a intimidation and murder campaign to try to stop it's construction. Despite this the construction went ahead anyway and fearing "a second holocaust" the Israeli's started to make military plans to eliminate this threat. It is said that Israel began to train for the Osirak mission 3 year's prior to the strike and that even 2 Israeli pilots lost there lives during the training. After everything else had failed on 7 june 1981 preminister Menachem Begin gave the go ahead for operation Opera to take out the Iraqi reactor. A flight of 8 F-16's and 6 F-15's took off from a Israeli airbase in the Sinaï heading towards Iraq flying over Jordan and Saudi-Arabia and entering Iraq. They succesfully took out the reactor and all the planes landed safely back to Israel. There was almost unanimus condemnation of the Israeli action and the US freezed F-16 deliveries to Israel…for 6 months. But after the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and after the Gulf War world opinion began to change. It was said that without the strike against Osirak there would not have been a operation Desert Storm and Bill Clinton in 1996 retracted the US condemnation against the attack and even the French who lost one of it's citizens was retrospectively supporting the attack.

    This is all bull crap. The Osirak reactor was a 40mw light water reactor and was not proliferable and the French added extra safety features to prevent this. In order to suit the Israeli concerns the French promised that they would have staff monitoring the reactors operation for the next 10 year's in addition to the IAEA safeguards and there was barely enough fissile material in the country to make 1 bomb. Unlike the Dimona reactor that was a heavy water reactor that could split plutonium from spend fuel rods the Osirak light water reactor can't do that. With so little fissile material in the country, with a nuclear plant that was not suited for the purpose and with French scientists roaming the facility at will it was very hard if not impossible for the Iraqi's to build a bomb from the Osirak reactor. But there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein had nuclear ambitions but how much Osirak would have helped him in that cause is highly questionable. What is sure is that the strike did do is to drove the Iraqi nuclear program underground and the Iraqi's has used every trick in the book to enrich fissile material for a bomb. It's now known that Iraq redoubled it's efforts for a atomic bomb only after the Osirak bombing and how close they came is only revealed after the Persian Gulf War. Iran has learned from this and has now dispersed it's nuclear facilities across the country in hardend underground bunkers fearing an attack. And perhabs Iran too will redouble it's effort's for a nuclear bomb after it has been attacked.

  2. TRUE MORALITY — TO END ALL WARS

    The corporate rich have the Western world locked in a fake morality, the illusion that everyone is equal to the rich and if they hit it lucky they can be rich. Which turns society into a brainpower dictatorship with people striving to enrich themselves upon the misery of anyone less educated.

    For true morality is the realization that we are all born with a different ability to achieve wealth, which gives us compassion and pity for those less fortunate, which causes our gifts to produce a grateful heart in those we help.

  3. STUPID — SUCKERED INTO

    Bush, says,
    "perhaps Iran too will redouble it's effort's for a nuclear bomb after it has been attacked."

    The President of Iran gave a speech this week, stating that his nation is not so stupid as to be suckered into having two nukes and a nuclear confrontation with the corrupt Western world and all their 20,000 nukes.

  4. Test of iPhone comment. Someone on a desktop please respond if you see this.

  5. Flynt Leverett is a national treasure.

  6. Many years ago, some one claimed that Iranian uranium ore was contaminated with molybdenum, which makes it particularly difficult to refine into fissile material. I've asked about this several times since but have never gotten more info.

    Anyone know?

  7. Many years ago, some one claimed that Iranian uranium ore was contaminated with molybdenum, which makes it particularly difficult to refine into fissile material. I've asked about this several times since but have never gotten more info. Anyone know for sure?

  8. CHRISTIANITY — WHY WAR HAWK?

    In this interview both Scott and his guest were of the opinion that the Christian community was war hawk because of the teaching that believers must use force to overcome evil so that more quickly will come the worldwide battle of Armageddon and Second Coming of Christ.

    Actually, there are over 2,000 different Christian denominations in America, most all churches funded by the richest men in their community and not hardly a sermon can be heard on Armageddon or anything about the end time. For the rich severely restrict sermons on government to the illusion that our good Christian wars overcome all evil, and that Romans 13:1 gives Christians a command to bear the sword for government, and to kill in the name of God and government.

    Truth is, in the early Christian church the New Testament was written in ancient Greek and clearly commanded a pacifist morality from Matthew to Revelation

  9. Romans 13:1 — Ancient Greek
    “Every man – government with its deadly force he must be in submission to. Never for an absolute is there force that kills if not under God. The reason being by God it is allowed to prove the corruption of it… Because of this then also taxes pay to government authorities who rule by deadly force. For the Lord allows it to exist to establish something, for their terrorism in this way continues without end.”

  10. The Bibel is insane nonsens written by the Bishops gathered in Constantinople a.d. 333.

  11. There is no God. Maybe a Goddess, say Hebe, but She is crazy.

  12. TRUE

    Claus Eric Hamle, says, "Bible is insane nonsense,,,"

    First Bible was the Catholic Vulgate Bible, compiled in AD 381. It added 33 major contradictions to the New Testament that are not found in the ancient Greek manuscripts of Scripture. For example, In Matthew 5:38 were told , “Do not use force to overcome evil. If they strike you on the right cheek, turn to them the other.” Then in Romans 13:1 Bibles tell us to bear the sward for government and kill in the name of God.

    All Bibles are identical in thought to the Catholic Vulgate, making them, “insane nonsense.”

    For all members of the early Christian church were pacifists, but today 99% of Christians would join the military in time of war.

  13. Yeah. For which nation?

  14. I was wondering what side Leverett was going to come down on in the smack-down between Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader. Guess it was over before it started. He's come down on the side of the Supreme Leader. He and his wife were just star-struck and gooey-eyed over Ahmadinejad at first. And now, he can't even be made to say his name… Poor Ahmadinejad. No one knows you when your down and out. All your so-called friends desert you when you have nothing to offer them.

    But it gets better. When Scott Horton asks him if there are any Iranian Shiites who believe in the imminent arrival of the Mahdi (عف), Professor Leverett gets all professorial like and says, No, of course not.

    Umm, no, professor. Look no further than your former flame Ahmadinejad. He has sponsored an entire movement based on his imminent arrival. He has had a highway constructed in anticipation of his imminent arrival. He declared that America invaded Iraq to block his imminent arrival. His rivals in the Islamic Republic have fulsomely denounced him for this madness. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/arti… Any fool observing Iranian affairs knows about this. But Professor Leverett can't seem to recall any such…

  15. [...] Iran’s nuclear program in last week’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report were flimsy and backed by little but vague speculation, imagine what they left [...]

  16. [...] against Iran’s nuclear program in last week’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report were flimsy and backed by little but vague speculation, imagine what they left [...]

  17. [...] at not only garnering a wide audience but also having a real impact on the national debate: we debunk the lies ofthe War Party as soon as they are disseminated, and a nation sick of war is [...]

  18. [...] at not only garnering a wide audience but also having a real impact on the national debate: we debunk the lies of the War Party as soon as they are disseminated, and a nation sick of war is [...]

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