Sign in to comment!

Hannity

What message does a nuclear deal with Iran send?

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 20, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And welcome to 'Hannity.'  So is President Obama trying to make a deal with the devil? Now, U.S.-led nuclear talks with Iran are expected to continue next week. But meanwhile, last night, the president issued a statement aimed at the Iranian people -- get this! -- praising Iran's leadership for its commitment against nuclear weapons? Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My message to you, the people of Iran, is that together, we have to speak up for the future we seek. As I've said many times before, I believe that our countries should be able to resolve this issue peacefully with diplomacy. Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons, and President Rouhani has said that Iran would never develop a nuclear weapon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Now, those are very trusting words about Iran's supreme leader, the very same man who just last year said that ISIS was created by, quote, "American Zionism and especially the veteran expert of spreading divisions, the wicked government of Britain."

Now, perhaps President Obama is not familiar with the thoughts of his former CIA director, General David Petraeus, who recently told The Washington Post that, quote, "The foremost threat to Iraq's long-term stability and the broader regional equilibrium is not the Islamic State. Rather, it is Shi'ite militias, many backed by and some guided by Iran."

So can America really make a deal with a regime dedicated to the destruction of American interests? Joining me now with reaction, author of "Foreign and Domestic" -- retired brigadier general Tony Tata is with us. "Invisible Armies" author and Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Max Boot is with us. And former deputy national security adviser Ambassador Nancy Soderberg is back with us.

Let me start with a series for all three of you, yes or no questions. Is -- do you all agree this is a rogue regime in Iran and a state sponsor of terror? Do we all agree on that?

MAX BOOT, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS SENIOR FELLOW: Yes.

BRIG. GENERAL TONY TATA, U.S. ARMY (RET.): I do, Sean, yes.

HANNITY: Nancy?

NANCY SODERBERG, FMR. DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Of course. That's not the question here.

HANNITY: No, that's my question to you. Believe it or not, it's my show. I get to ask the questions. Do we also agree that Iran has been fighting proxy wars and giving weapons to groups like Hezbollah and others? Do we all agree on that?

BOOT: Of course.

TATA: Yes, there's no doubt.

HANNITY: Nancy?

SODERBERG: Sean, you know, you do this every time. Let's get to the real question...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: I'm going to give you time to...

SODERBERG: The question is whether we should be talking to this horrible regime, which we all agree is horrible. And the question is, yes, we spoke to the Soviet Union...

HANNITY: Well, you can answer your own questions and answer your own question (sic), But I'm asking you, do you agree that they fight proxy wars and fund terror groups like Hezbollah and others? Do you agree with that?

SODERBERG: Of course we do, but I'm...

HANNITY: OK.

SODERBERG: ... trying to get to the real substance here, which is...

HANNITY: Have they repeatedly -- the leaders of Iran, including the leaders that the president was talking about -- have you all heard these leaders talk about destroying Israel and wiping them off the map? Do we all agree that they've made that threat repeated times?

TATA: Absolutely.

BOOT: Absolutely.

HANNITY: Nancy, you're last again.

SODERBERG: I answered that question last time I was on this show.

HANNITY: And the answer is?

SODERBERG: Still yes.

HANNITY: OK. Let's take a look through history. First, let's look at a video of American flags and Israeli flags being burned in Iran. And I'm getting to a point here. Nancy, I promise, I'm going to give you a lot of time to talk through it.

Then we have, for example, all the quotes of different ayatollahs at different times and presidents at different times, you know, talking about Iran, that the cancerous tumor of Israel has to be uprooted from the region, calling Israel the rabid dog of the region, Israelis should not be called humans. We have, God willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world without the United States and Zionism. And the Zionist regime has reached a dead end. Thanks to God, your wish will  soon be realized and this germ of corruption will be wiped off. And thanks to God, the countdown to the decline of America's demonic power has begun.

Here's the question. And I will start with you, Nancy, because you're so eager and have such vibrancy and a desire to talk. Why should we not -- why should we not wait until they denounce those comments, statements, and denounce and renounce their terror ties and being a state sponsor of terror before -- as a precondition to any negotiations? Wouldn't that be a wiser strategy?

SODERBERG: We tried that for 10 years, and they were very close to getting a nuclear weapon. It's only because we're talking to them that they're not getting a nuclear weapon right now. Without talking to them, there's no question they would have that. And then we're in a military confrontation with them.

Yes, we all agree the Iranian revolution created a terrible regime there. You missed the whole killing of the demonstrators and the students in 2009 during the elections. That's partly why I think President Obama is reaching out to the youth. Twenty-one percent -- 60 percent of that country is under the age of 21. We want them to see a different Iran.

HANNITY: Yes. I'm sure they all got to see it because...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: ... such an open society...

SODERBERG: And that's another problem...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: I think Nancy's point is, frankly -- it's based on an absurd premise. I would argue that for any negotiations to take place, they first must renounce terrorism, their ties to terrorism...

TATA: Yes. Sure.

HANNITY: ... and being a state sponsor of terrorism. And I think the president's comments are beyond naive if he thinks that they don't want a nuclear state because they have told him so. I think it's a very dangerous precedent the president is setting.

TATA: I agree with you, Sean, and I think your lead-in questions were very appropriate. This president, this administration has just eliminated Hezbollah and Iran from terror threats in the national security report. That somehow slid under the wire just this week. They're no longer in the national security report. Last year, they were at the top of the chart.

And so you have to wonder if that's some kind of quid pro quo or opening gambit in these -- the negotiation that Secretary Kerry is doing. But how can they not be listed as a terror threat, when it -- the -- it's so obvious...

HANNITY: Crazy, right?

TATA: ... everywhere you go. And then we have the president talking to the Iranian people, reciting poetry to them, when just a few years ago, they were maiming and killing our soldiers with the most lethal form of roadside bomb. I don't know what pie in the sky world we're living in right now, but this is ridiculous.

HANNITY: Yes.

TATA: This is a rogue regime, oppressive regime...

HANNITY: Hey, Max...

TATA: ... that wants to destroy Israel and the United States!

HANNITY: Hey, Max...

SODERBERG: Nobody -- nobody...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Nancy, hang on. Let me bring Max in. Max, I want to -- I want you to follow up on that because I think the general's bringing up a good point here. They won't even say that this is a terror state anymore. All three of you agreed on that, even Nancy. So...

SODERBERG: No, I don't believe it. They...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: You don't believe they're a state sponsor of terror?

BOOT: Give me a chance to speak here, Nancy.

(CROSSTALK)

BOOT: The reality, Nancy, is that whatever the...

SODERBERG: There is no...

HANNITY: ... administration may say...

SODERBERG: There's no -- let me finish!

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Nancy, let Max talk. He hasn't had a chance to talk.

SODERBERG: No, I'm correcting...

(CROSSTALK)

SODERBERG: There is no question that Iran is supporting...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Guys, Nancy, let him talk!

BOOT: ... and we are not doing anything effective to stop Iran. It goes beyond a terror report. The fact is, as General Petraeus pointed out, Iran is running a proxy war in Syria and Iraq, as well as in Yemen. It is taking over a good portion of the region.

And what are we doing to oppose Iranian design? I don't see anything. Instead, I hear administration spokesmen saying things like Iranian actions are potentially helpful as long as they're not too divisive, which is a little bit like saying that, you know, applauding Al Capone for providing liquor to the thirsty masses and hoping that he's not too criminal. Well, the very nature...

SODERBERG: Max, you're an expert...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Let him finish! All right, Nancy...

(CROSSTALK)

BOOT: The very nature -- you know, Nancy, if you could stop interrupting me and let me finish my thought? The fact is that the very nature of Iranian action is divisive and sectarian.

And it sends the wrong message when President Obama is reaching out to the Iranian people not to tell them to overthrow their rulers, whom they hate and who oppress them, but to tell them about how he's about to reach a deal with their rulers that will allow them to keep a nuclear program with all restrictions off of it in 10 years. That is not the message we should be sending to the people of Iran.

HANNITY: All right, let me -- let me -- let me ask Nancy this. You agree that they're a state sponsor of terror, they fight proxy wars, et cetera. So according to all the details, the ones that we have as of now -- and we may never even get to see the whole deal, we found out yesterday, which is understanding -- they don't label now Iran as a state sponsor of terror. But they're going to allow the Iranians to keep spinning their centrifuges, enriching uranium. And as Max rightly pointed out, in the sunset years of this deal, they would have the right to build a nuclear weapon with America's approval.

SODERBERG: Well...

HANNITY: Wait a minute. Do you think that is wise, considering their repeated threats to wipe Israel off the map?

SODERBERG: I think -- first of all...

HANNITY: That's a question!

SODERBERG: ... I haven't seen the report...

HANNITY: That's a question.

SODERBERG: Let me -- you said you promised you'd let me talk.

HANNITY: Yes, so answer it!

SODERBERG: I haven't seen any report that the U.S. doesn't consider Iran to be a state sponsor of terrorism. You can't not look at Hezbollah and all the other areas and say that they're not a state sponsor of terror.

But I think it might be -- and Max is a historian, a very good one. Look at what we -- how we acted during the cold war against the "evil empire" in the Soviet Union and make the comparison of, we talked to them throughout that horrible cold war.

BOOT: Nancy, it's true that...

(CROSSTALK)

SODERBERG: ... you have to negotiate -- now you're interrupting me, Max.

BOOT: Nancy, we just talked about...

SODERBERG: Max, now you're interrupting me!

BOOT: The only agreements that we reached that were at all worthwhile were with Mikhail Gorbachev because he was a different kind of Soviet leader.

SODERBERG: No, that's not true.

BOOT: And we have not seen...

SODERBERG: We had -- that is not true, Max.

BOOT: We have not seen an different kind of Soviet leader...

(CROSSTALK)

BOOT: ... leader in Iran.

SODERBERG: We had nuclear agreements on arms control from Nixon through the end of the Cold War. That's just not true. I know you know that.

BOOT: The Soviets violated the SALT treaty. It was meaningless.

HANNITY: Do you really believe the -- you -- I'll go back to my question -- allowing them to spin their centrifuges, enrich uranium, and in the

sunset years, have a nuclear weapon, sworn to Israel's destruction...

SODERBERG: No, we will not have -- we will not agree...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: Can I finish the question? Is that a risk you're willing to

take?

SODERBERG: No.

HANNITY: Do you really trust the mullahs in Iran with their radical

Islamic views?

SODERBERG: No, I don't, and neither does the administration.

HANNITY: So they shouldn't have a nuclear weapon.

SODERBERG: They should not have a nuclear weapon, and we've been clear from day one they will never have a nuclear weapon. What we're trying to do is avoid having to have a military solution to achieve that goal. And no one has taken the military off the table. What the rational voices in this conversation are trying to do is negotiate no nuclear weapon, as opposed to having to bomb no nuclear weapon.

HANNITY: All right, Tony Tata...

SODERBERG: And I think it is absurd to not...

HANNITY: General?

SODERBERG: ... agree with that.

HANNITY: General?

TATA: I'm not sure what world you're living in. The military solution is happening now. Iran is in Iraq. They are fighting not as an ally to us. They are fighting to push the Arabs away from the Persian border, as they've done for thousands of years. They're fighting in Syria. They're fighting all across -- against U.S. interests. They want to destroy

Israel.

The military solution is on the table now. It's on the battlefield. And they're practicing destroying our aircraft carriers...

SODERBERG: Wait. Just let me get you straight. You're arguing we should be at war with...

HANNITY: All right...

SODERBERG: You're arguing that we should...

TATA: No. No.

(CROSSTALK)

TATA: All I'm saying is that they're already at war -- they're already at with us...

BOOT: The only way...

TATA: ... and we're acting like they're not. And we're negotiating with them...

HANNITY: All right, final word, Max.

(CROSSTALK)

BOOT: The only way you can get a credible deal out of Iran is to have a credible threat...

TATA: That's right.

BOOT: ... of military force against them. In 2003, they interrupted their nuclear program because they were afraid of us after the invasion of Iraq.

TATA: That's right.

BOOT: But nobody is afraid of President Obama. Nobody imagines that President Obama...

TATA: That's right.

BOOT: ... would ever bomb Iran. So Iran has no reason...

HANNITY: All right...

BOOT: ... to reach a real accord to give up its nuclear programs...

HANNITY: Guys, thank you very much...

BOOT: ... which is something they have to do.

(CROSSTALK)

SODERBERG: Max, look at the facts.

HANNITY: Thank you, guys.

SODERBERG: That's just not true.

Content and Programming Copyright 2015 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.