JESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore. And welcome to this edition of The Wilkerson Report. Now joining us is Larry Wilkerson. He was the former chief of staff to Colin Powell and is an adjunct professor at William & Mary College. Thanks for being with us, Larry.
COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON: Good to be here.
DESVARIEUX: So, Larry, what we'd like to discuss this week is the Iranian government's attempts to thaw relations with the U.S. They've actually sent out Rosh Hashanah greetings to Jews. They've sent worldwide--they've released political prisoners, exchanged letters with President Obama, praised flexibility in negotiations, and transferred responsibility for nuclear negotiations from the conservatives in the military to the Foreign Ministry. So a lot of people are talking that this could be a real change of Iranian attitude. What do you make of this? Does this represent a real opening for a deal?
WILKERSON: I think so. I think putting Salehi into the Atomic Energy Organization and putting Zarif into the Foreign Ministry and giving the Foreign Ministry responsibility for negotiations are major moves and major signs that Iran is ready to seriously negotiate. I think President Obama has done the proper things. I think the exchange of letters probably, if we knew what those letters said, would cement this new opening. And I hope we go positively from here on. I know there are people arrayed across the spectrum in this country--and certainly there are similar people in Iran--who don't want negotiations to succeed, so it'll be a tough route. But I hope it shows some progress, and I hope it ultimately produces a diplomatic solution.
DESVARIEUX: And that diplomatic solution, to you, what do you see actually being a concrete deal that you think both sides could agree to?
WILKERSON: That's been there. It's been there for years, decades, even. All Iran has to do is limit its enrichment to what would be normally done under a civilian program, under probably at the outset and for a couple of years (maybe five) very rigorous inspection and immediate access to anywhere by the IAEA until Iran has substantiated to the international community that its program is purely civilian, in exchange for substantial sanctions relief. The outlines of a deal, indeed, the specifics of a deal have been there for some time.
DESVARIEUX: And who would be opposed to a deal like that? And why?
WILKERSON: First and foremost, Prime Minister Netanyahu and his extremely right-wing government in Tel Aviv. If you've seen what they've laid down as their deal parameters, if you will, it leads off with no enrichment at all, that is to say, they do not want any nuclear program whatsoever in Iran. And then you come to this country and you find Netanyahu's allies in people like Senator John McCain, Senator Lindsey Graham from my home state, and others who are bordering on being traitors, in my view, because they won't let this president have room to achieve a diplomatic solution. They're all angry now that he didn't bomb Syria, that he in fact, in conjunction with Putin, came up with a deal that may be extremely challenging to implement. But nonetheless it's kept the bombs from dropping, which is a good thing. And so they're moving on to Iran, with Graham even saying he's going to move for legislation to authorize the use of military force against Iran in the next four to five months... [P]eople like Lindsey Graham and John McCain need to sit down, recede into the background, if you will, and shut their mouths.
Full interview here. H/T Mondoweiss and LRC.