msnbc | February 03, 2013
>>> vice president joe biden says the u.s. is prepared to hold direct talks with iran over the program. the vice president is in the middle of a trip to europe during international conference appearance in germany this weekend.
>> there's still time . there's still space for diplomacy. the ball is in the government of iran 's court. it's past time for iran to look serious, good faith approach to negotiations with the p-5 plus one.
>> joining me is former democratic congressman of pennsylvania and joe sus tack.
>> good to be with you.
>> what institutes it?
>> they have to come to the table and understand our red line cannot have the capability for the weapon. they have to be able to negotiate on that area. they are willing to take the nuclear reactor , capability and be sure it remains civilian. the enrichment has to be done out of the country and that that will come back can be used as medicinal reactor. they have to have that.
>> why would they do that?
>> i think they are thinking very seriously of why to do that because the economic sanction that is are multilateral and are working. they are not perfect. i can't tell you they will bring them about to the final resolution of stopping the nuclear weapons program . their currency along with their employment is out of sight. so many are unemployed in the middle class . i think that you are going to see, as this continues where they can't sell the oil around the world because no ship of their own maritime industry can get insurance from lloyds of london to pull into a port around the world and nobody is letting them in. at the end of their own presidential elections in june where they have their own internal strife like our presidential elections where things don't happen until after the election, you will see them with more, i think more effort coming to negotiations with the united states . i can't tell you we are going to be successful.
>> tell me what you think is more likely, holding direct talks with iran or a direct military strike on iran 's new class?
>> you are kind of asking me sort of like when i proposed to my wife. i thought she was going to say yes, but she said no. i kept at it.
>> we persisted. something came about. i think it's more likely it will be successful. i can tell you with assurance this, alex. militaries can stop the problem. we can't fix them. the best military assessment, if we were to strike iran and we should never take the military option off the table if we consider the benefits are worth the cost, we could, at best, slow the program for four years. it would take hundreds upon hundreds of aircraft to beat down their service to air missiles to get to the deeply buried targets. we cannot destroy them completely, but we can stymie it. they can lay thousands of remains to where the energy center of the worldcoms from. that's why anybody who thinks we should not try to bring about a more peaceful resolution to this with economic sanctions that hurt.
>> so, let's get to the chuck hagel factor here. he was against the tough sanctions on iran . are you concerned about his approach to iran ?
>> well, he does have a point in the sense that rarely can sanctions by the united states alone work. it's like south africa . when we got multilateral sanctions were we successful on the country with the devastating system. sanctions are hard to work if you don't get other countries there. i am in support of them. hsbc, one of the largest multinational banks in the world got fined $2 billion in the $38 billion of profit it made last year because it knew it was funneling against our sanctions and others desires money from the iranian revolutionary guard . hundreds of millions of dollars. they finally got called with the multilateral sanctions and we fined them a little bit. there should have been criminal sanctions. it's the only way they will be successful. it's the point they were making.
>> interesting there. look, you know chuck hagel . he endorsed you. you traveled with him to iraq in 2007 . given his performance, he seemed unprepared at times or can you say that's the way he communicates or do you think he was unprepared?
>> his presentation wasn't spot on. alex, you have interviewed me and mine isn't always spot on.
>> i butchered your name on the intro.
>> the point is, who is this man? have they taken correct stock on him? you know all of that. the most important points is he will defend israel without question. he will never take that military option off the table with regard to iran and he will transform our military. he is the kind of individual who will be at the right hand of the president saying here is my best advice. they need a knowledge based military, not just counting how many ships, but can the ships find with sensors the add vi sar. he is the man that is best needed to take defense security forward, remembering the military has to be strong. but it should be used only when the costs are worth it. that benefits far outweigh the cost. that's what we need.
>> listen, we always have you back. you are always a great interview, no matter what you were saying. congressman, thank you.
>> thanks for having me.