Published September 29, 2009
This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," September 28, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, there's dangerous news tonight out of Iran. Iran has just test-fired missiles capable of reaching Israel and 80 United States bases in the Middle East. This comes on the heels of news that Iran has been secretly building a second uranium enrichment plant. Talks are set to begin on Thursday between Iran and six other countries, including the United States.
Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton joins us live. Good evening, Ambassador. Ambassador, Robert Gibbs today I think described the missile testing by the Iranians as provocative. Do you think, or do you know, whether the missile launching was planned before the outing of the second uranium enrichment plant, or is that something they came up with to sort of thumb their nose at us?
JOHN BOLTON, FORMER AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: I suspect it was planned beforehand. It was launched, after all, on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. I think it was a Happy New Year present from the Iranians to show that they could range Israel with this Shahab-3 missile.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, there's so much attention on the uranium enrichment, for obvious reasons, and for the -- and for the meeting that's coming up this week and for the -- and the missiles that were tested today, but one thing that I don't hear much about is Iranian's tentacles around the world. I mean, they have business interests in Venezuela, Senegal -- I mean, a lot of -- they're building -- they're building up around the -- around the world.
BOLTON: Well, there's that. There's their support for terrorism around the world. But their connection to Venezuela is really very worrying. They've agreed that Venezuela will ship them refined petroleum products, which they need. That would help break any sanctions that the U.S. may propose. Venezuela has uranium that they can sell to Iran for the nuclear program. They can have weapons deals with each other. So there are a lot of possibilities there, none of them good.
VAN SUSTEREN: What countries have been trading or giving them technology for this -- for this nuclear weapon?
BOLTON: Well, going back some years before, China clearly was. Now, they have denied any recent dealings with either nuclear technology or...
VAN SUSTEREN: What's "recent" mean?
BOLTON: The last 10 years. But there are a lot of scientists, especially from the former Soviet Union, out of work now, who have probably found their way to Iran, with some pretty high-paying jobs in the nuclear and ballistic missile field.
VAN SUSTEREN: How about Pakistan and A.Q. Khan? Have they been big traders or suppliers of technology?
BOLTON: A.Q. Khan was a supplier of technology to the Iranians. There's no doubt about it. We know that A.Q. supplied weapons designs to North Korea and Libya. There's every reason to believe he supplied weapons design information to Iran, as well.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, if sanctions are imposed -- if talks don't go particularly well this week and sanctions are imposed, do you anticipate that they'll help? And secondly, do you think that the Iranian people think that it's us doing something to them or that it's their own government doing something to them?
BOLTON: Well, I think -- even if another sanctions resolution can be obtained from the Security Council, I think it'll be just as watered down as the first three. I don't see sanctions succeeding. And particularly -- let's focus on what sanctions should do -- stop Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons. It's not a question whether more sanctions can hurt Iran economically. It's can they get Iran off the nuclear path? I don't see that happening.
I think, given the dissent in the streets in Iran after the fraudulent June 12th election, that the Iranian people are sophisticated enough to know that the problem is the Islamic revolution, Ahmadinejad and all the ayatollahs, not them.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, that would help us, then. I mean, at least it'd advance out purpose because we saw the June 12th election that there was much discord in the streets of Iran. So I mean, if -- if that's the -- if that's true, then the sanctions would have some -- would have an impact.
BOLTON: Well, I think we should do more to help the opposition generally, both inside and outside Iran. And I think that -- I think that anything we can do to explain where the problem is and that it's particularly with the leadership, the regime itself, would be helpful.
VAN SUSTEREN: What kind of sanctions would you suggest?
BOLTON: I don't think sanctions are going to work. I think...
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I mean, what -- I mean, and I recognize that...
BOLTON: I think we're past the point...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... but I mean, like, what do you -- maybe I should word it this way. What do you think is going to come out of it, if sanctions are voted? What kind of sanctions?
BOLTON: I think some marginal increase in the banking sanctions, maybe some tightening of trade restrictions, and so on. I think it's very unlikely that Security Council will pass an embargo on the export of refined petroleum into Iran. And if you don't get a Security Council sanction, if it's not worldwide, there'll be massive leakages into Iran.
VAN SUSTEREN: I was just going to say it would be cheating.
VAN SUSTEREN: (INAUDIBLE) sanction can't really -- I mean, it doesn't really hermetically seal or -- or cut out the country.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, that's not -- that's rather bleak. All right, let's go to Honduras.
BOLTON: More good news!
VAN SUSTEREN: More good news! To Honduras, the interim leader down there (INAUDIBLE) they got the ousted president, who is holing up in the Brazilian embassy down there. We've got the interim leader, who has apparently shut down some media, not all. That's not good. And you've got this bizarre -- well, my characterization -- phone call from the ousted leader from the Brazilian embassy to the U.N.
BOLTON: Yes. That's the first time I've ever heard of that -- that kind of address to the U.N. General Assembly. But I think, actually, Zelaya's behavior even before that call raised some very important new questions. He said that he is being besieged in the Brazilian embassy by Israeli mercenaries firing X-rays or some kind of rays at him to affect his health.
Now, number one, that is delusional behavior and I think lends a lot of credibility to the argument this guy had Napoleonic aspirations in Honduras. But perhaps even more significantly, by saying it's the Israelis who are after him, I think we've seen here a real streak of anti-Semitism. It's not like he said Ecuadorian mercenaries or Uzbek mercenaries. It's the Jews. And I think the State Department and our government are in a very uncomfortable position supporting somebody who could be, probably is, anti-Semitic. We need to know more about that, and I think the State Department ought to be pressed on that point.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why should the United States care about Honduras? I mean, like, it's a small country. Is it because they are our friends or is it because -- because we worry that they'll get too chummy with -- with Venezuela and other countries that we certainly have -- have mixed feelings about?
BOLTON: You know, Honduras, like a lot of Latin American countries, fears strongmen who take power and then never give it up. That's what this constitutional struggle is all about. And the fact is, Hugo Chavez and his allies around the hemisphere -- in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Cuba -- are all pushing fairly weak democratic institutions in the hemisphere and I think really challenging them.
So what happens in Honduras, while it may seem a small, insignificant country, really has ramifications for democracy throughout the hemisphere, and therefore for stability and the security of the United States. This is a much bigger issue than people think. You know, we look at Hugo Chavez and we say the man's a clown. He may be a clown, but he's worse than that, too. He's a threat, and we need to take him seriously.
VAN SUSTEREN: And he's hooked up with Ahmadinejad.
BOLTON: Absolutely. And the Russians.
VAN SUSTEREN: And the Russians. Ambassador, thank you, sir.
BOLTON: Glad to be here.
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