Trump ups pressure on Iran as North Korea complains

This is a rush transcript from "The Five," August 6, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER JOHN BOLTON: This is an indication of how strongly we feel that the Iranian nuclear weapons program, its ballistic missile program, its support for terrorism, its belligerent activity in the Middle East have to stop.

HASSAN ROUHANI, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The first step would be President Trump to show that he genuinely wants to engage in negotiations to solve a problem. What's the meaning of negotiations when you impose sanctions at the same time? It's like someone pulling a knife to stab a rival or an enemy in the arm while at the same time claiming we should be talking and negotiating.


SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS: Let's bring in our panel to talk about that: Jason Riley, Wall Street Journal columnist and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute; Mara Liasson, national political correspondent for National Public Radio, and Charles Hurt, opinion editor for The Washington Times. Welcome to you all.

Jason, I'll start with you. The president's remarks, there, the Iranian president saying essentially you can't be mean to us and talk to us at the same time, it's not going to work.

JASON RILEY, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Shannon, I think this the right call from the administration. President Trump campaigned on this. The Obama administration refused to submit it to Congress as a treaty because he knew the Senate wouldn't go along. The public never really supported it. Polling around the time it was implemented was around 21 percent positive for the public.

Plus, it's a lousy deal. The sunset clauses allow the Iranians to wait us out. The inspections are limited. We can't even verify that they are doing what they said they can do. And we gave Iran more resources to cause more trouble in the Middle East by easing the sanctions which is exactly what they had been doing. So I think this is definitely the right thing to do.

BREAM: There are those who think that it should be held together, mainly some of our European allies. If they don't think it's a great deal, they think it's a worth salvaging because of the way it currently stands. Here's what GOP senator Lindsey Graham, his message to them.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: To my European friends, under these sanctions you have to pick between the American economy and the Iranian economy, you can no longer do business with both. Choose wisely. To our European allies, stand behind the Iranian people, not the ayatollah.


BREAM: Mara, that's quite a binary choice.

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: Yes, quite a binary choice, and European companies do a lot more business with the United States than they do with Iran. And most of the people I talked to said that even though Europe would like to keep the deal intact, they are just not going to be able to because the choice is to stark. Already you see European oil companies pulling out of Iran. To have secondary sanctions, which the administration is promising, put on European companies that continue to do business with Iran is just too high of a price for them to pay. So most people think that this deal will be undermined because the United States is pulling out.

BREAM: The top Democrat on the House side, Nancy Pelosi, House minority leader, said this. Far from making us more safe, the president's latest ill-informed attempt to dismantle the successful Iran deal makes America and our allies less secure. She says it's counterproductive. It diminishes America's international credibility, erodes are relationship with our allies, and sets back the past toward a more stable reason and peaceful nonnuclear future. Charlie?

CHARLES HURT, THE WASHINGTON TIMES: I think it kind of goes back to what Jason just said about the fact that the reason President Obama didn't put the Iran deal through Congress is because even Democrats wouldn't have gotten on board with it. And so it's kind of a musing to sit here and listen to Nancy Pelosi now sort of lecture that somehow it would have been a wiser path to stick with it.

The other thing I think is important to remember is when you look back to three years ago, think of where we would be today if we had never had that Iran deal. The old sanctions would still be weighing an additional three years. The Iranian regime was by many reports in dire, dire straits. People were very upset. There was a lot of protest in the streets. And because of that lifeline, because of the billions of dollars that we gave them and the removal of the sanctions, it gave them a real breath of fresh air and strengthened them a whole lot.

And so I just think that this probably is a very wise strategy that we are taking now. And let's not forget, this is a radical, theocratic regime that is underwriting terrorism around the world, wants to destroy America and remove Israel off the map. How can you take people like this as anything other than a militant enemy in the world?

BREAM: Let's talk about North Korea as well because obviously they are another situation where we are dealing with sanctions. Here is some back and forth. This from former U.N. ambassador Bolton who now is national security adviser with the president.


BOLTON: There is nobody in this administration starry-eyed about the prospects of North Korea actually denuclearizing. The North Korean regime knows what we expect of them. We expect they're going to live up to their word. They gave their word to the South Koreans. They've given that word to us, and denuclearize and get moving. We want performance here, not rhetoric.

I don't think he's starry-eyed, either, but we have tried in every way we can. I think we are doing the maximum sales job we can to say that door is open, the opportunity is clear.


BREAM: And Jason, yet again we have North Korean officials speaking out this weekend saying they demand that these sanctions be rolled back, that they've started to meet us on their obligations.

RILEY: This was part of the problem with the phasing out approach that the Trump administration agreed to as opposed to forcing North Korea to upfront agree to denuclearization. So they're saying, hey, we've done some things, we've sent back remains of soldiers, we released some hostages. What are you giving us in return? Of course our intelligence agencies say that the missile programs continue, and not only our intelligence agencies, the U.N. intelligence agencies are telling us the same thing. So we have seen these goodwill gestures before from North Koreans, the Obama administration saw them, the Bush administration saw them, but we really need to see concrete steps towards denuclearization, and we have not seen that yet.

BREAM: Mara, South Korea is investigating a number of potential sanctions violations, getting help possibly from Russia or China to make sure that North Korea survives.

LIASSON: Right. This is a problem because the North Korean definition of what denuclearization is, is not the same as ours. They want some kind of freeze for a freeze. And Donald Trump came back from that meeting in Singapore and declared flatly there is no more nuclear threat from North Korea. So the question is, as this goes forward and, as Jason said, we get more evidence of North Korea not dismantling, in fact continuing to produce weapons, what does the president do? Does he feel he has been snookered, or is he so anxious to declare victory that he overlooks that?

BREAM: Well, key members of his administration, including Secretary Pompeo keep saying we know that this is a long road. We have lengthy expectations for how this is going to go. And I guess that's trying to manage expectations to some point.

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