Fred Fleitz served in 2018 as a Deputy Assistant to President Trump and Chief of Staff to National Security Adviser John Bolton and is currently President and CEO of the Center for Security Policy. At the time of this interview, Fleitz was Director of the Langley Intelligence Group Network (LIGNET), a commercial intelligence analysis service owned by Newsmax.com. Fleitz covers part of the contemporary history of Iran concerning nuclear proliferation, North Korea, Africa, and relations with western countries including the Bush and Obama administrations.
I worked on national security issues for the US government for 25 years. I was a CIA analyst for 19 years. I worked for John Bolton as his Chief of Staff at the State Department when he was Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security for about 3 and a half years. I was with the House Intelligence Committee for about 5 years and, that doesn’t add up to 25 because some of these jobs overlapped and in most of my jobs I covered proliferation, including the Iranian and North Korean WMD programs, especially the nuclear programs. When I was with the House Intelligence Committee one of my jobs was looking at finished intelligence by the intelligence community and I had the task of reading and briefing to national intelligence estimates on the Iranian nuclear program to members of the House of Representatives on the Intelligence Committee so this gave me a pretty good background of both the open source and the classified information on Iran’s precision nuclear weapons.
Ambassador John Bolton is currently serving as the 27th United States National Security Advisor. Previously, Bolton served as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations from August 2005 to December 2006, and is a former senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), senior advisor for Freedom Capital Investment Management as well as a commentator for Fox News, and of counsel in the Washington, D.C. office of the law firm Kirkland & Ellis. This interview covers the history of Iran’s nuclear program, the IRGC, and affiliated organizations such as Hezbollah, Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, and Al-Qaeda in the context of recent history in the Middle East and US relations.
Interview with John Bolton | Washington D.C.
Well during the 1950s in the Eisenhower administration there was a lot of optimism that, uh, atomic energy would provide peaceful electrical generating power for much of the rest of the world so under what was called the Atoms for Peace Program the United States fostered the growth of the nuclear industry around the world. What was not fully appreciated at the time was that as nuclear technology spread so too did the risk of nuclear proliferation. But in the case of Iran, the Shah’s nuclear program we believe was peaceful during the time that it was undertaken. The real shift came after the Islamic revolution of 1979. Sometime during the mid to late 1980s, we believe that the Ayatollahs began a nuclear weapons program in a very serious way looking to find ways to get enriched uranium or plutonium reprocessed from the spent fuel of nuclear reactors to develop into a nuclear weapon. The United States was concerned about this during the ‘80s and ‘90s but really did not have much visibility into what exactly the Iranian regime was up to. We became more concerned as evidence came to light of the proliferation network of Dr. A. Q. Khan, sometimes called the father of the Pakistani nuclear weapons program. Khan was a real proliferation entrepreneur. He had stolen uranium enrichment technology from Eurenco, the European enrichment company, he used to develop Pakistan’s uranium enrichment capability, and he sold it to rogue states around the world.
Arang Keshavarzian is an Associate Professor Middle Eastern Studies at NYU. His focus is on modern Iran and the Persian Gulf, although he has studied, conducted research, and taught in several other countries in the Middle East and North Africa, including the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Turkey. His book, Bazaar and State in Iran, was based on his intensive field research and engages with the literature on networks and political institutions in order to trace the structure of the Tehran Bazaar under the Pahlavi monarchy and Islamic Republic, and shed light on the organization and governance of markets as well as state-society dynamics, more generally. The analysis stresses unintended consequences, while identifying mechanisms and contradictions that traverse the immediate issue of bazaars and the Iranian case. He has also published articles on clergy-state relations and authoritarian survival in Iran. Currently, his research examines the Persian Gulf in order to analyze the processes of late imperialism and globalization from the perspective of local circuits of trade and transnational alliances.
Hadi Enayat is a political sociologist whose main interests are in the areas of religion and international relations, the sociology of law and secularism studies. He has written Law, State and Society in Modern Iran: Constitutionalism, Autocracy and Legal Reform, 1906-1941 (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2013) and Islam and Secularism in Post-Colonial Thought: A Cartography of Recent Genealogies (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017). He currently teaches at several universities in London and specializes in the political sociology of the Middle East, socio-legal studies, comparative politics and race, ethnicity and multiculturalism.
Interview with Hadi Enayt | London July 07, 2015
And those two politics had a relatively institutionalized and kind of centralized legal system. Qajar Iran not so. Okay. First of all we are talking about, you know, the Qajar Empire itself was a confederation of power which was very, very weak and fragmented. There was no standing army and there was a very rudimentary bureaucracy. And, this weakness and fragmentation was reflected in its legal system.
The legal system is complicated and messy. There were multiple jurisdictions. But, broadly speaking there were two sets of courts and jurisdictions. One was called Shar and one was called Urf. Shar meant religious courts and Urf meant customary courts. Okay. Shar courts took care of, you know, what we call today civil law.
There were broadly two jurisdictions or two, you know, sets of courts in 19th century Iran. The first were called Shar courts, Shar means Sharia, okay. And they were generally run by the clergy of course and they took care of what we today call civil law, mainly. Okay. Marriage, divorce, wills, inheritance, sometimes property disputes, sometimes some commercial disputes and also some aspects of criminal law, mainly murder. Okay, which should be done according to the Sharia principle of Qisas which is retaliation. The second jurisdiction and most legal disputes were actually administered in this jurisdiction were called Urf courts. Urf means custom in Arabic. And in practice these courts took care of most aspects of criminal law and what we today call administrative law.
Now, both of these jurisdictions were largely outside of the control of the Qajar authorities except for in Tehran. Okay, there were some centralization there. But, both of them were largely outside of the control of the Qajar authorities and they were very, very irregular. You know, inside the Sharia courts there was some measure of legality and procedural regularity, okay. Although they were also quite unpredictable, as we said. But, especially in the Urf courts. The Urf courts, you know, Urf law was not codified at all. In fact, law was not codified at all in the 19th century. Sharia courts was written down into multiple books of fact which were kind of sometimes internally inconsistent and sometimes conflicting with each other. But, the Urf law was not codified at all. So, the Urf courts were very unpredictable. And extremely arbitrary.
Dr. Yaphe ran the Iran desk at the CIA during the American Hostage Crisis and discusses the events of the late 1970s and 80s surrounding the 1979 Revolution in Iran, the taking of 52 American hostages at the American Embassy, and the conflict with Iraq.
Judith Yaphe is an adjunct professor in the Elliott School and Senior Research Fellow and Middle East Project Director in the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS) at the National Defense University in Washington, DC. Before joining INSS in 1995, Dr. Yaphe served for 20 years as a senior analyst on Middle Eastern and Persian Gulf issues in the Office of Near Eastern and South Asian Analysis, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA. She specializes in Iraq, Iran, Arabian/Persian Gulf security issues, and Political Islam/Islamic extremism.
Yaphe received the B.A. with Honors in History from Moravian College and the Ph.D. in Middle Eastern History from the University of Illinois. Selected publications include Strategic Implications of a Nuclear-Armed Iran with Dr. Kori Schake, (2001), The Middle East in 2015: The Impact of Regional Trends on U.S. Strategic Planning (2002), The United States and the Persian Gulf, ed. by Richard D. Sokolsky (2003).
. . .
And I had done some work for him and he was off on his way to Beirut on a mission for Secretary of State Shultz at the time, having to do with the PLO and peace prospects, so very early stages, and he was killed in the Beirut bombing in April of 1983.
And I think I was one of several people I knew who were so effected by that event that we found ourselves, a year or two later, in the Counterterrorism Center, which was just getting started, and I think it was the beginning of – well, what became, obviously, a full-blown industry, although not really until 9/11.
But that was the beginning and the decision had been made at the time not to sit back and wait for things to happen, but to try to be more proactive. But I was an analyst on my area of specialization and at a time when Iran was a high focus. This is the early to mid-1980s, the Iran-Iraq War is on, of course, but Iran is also involved in a number of bad activities, lots of terrorism going on, and by terrorism, international acts of terror against civilians. There was a pretty good definition at the time, it was not about military operations but it had a _________ they were especially targeting westerners, the United States for different reasons. These were supporters, if not surrogates, of Iran.
And it was a high-agenda item for the U.S. government. When the hostages were taken in Lebanon, that was an extremely high visibility issue, maybe visibility isn’t the right word ’cause nobody knew who – you know, we were not known as to who was working on this. But the point I wanted to make is it had the attention of the president, President Reagan, and nobody, I think, really understood how deeply he was affected by that.
Archival Institute Interviews Kamiar Alaei|Albany, New York February 3, 2015
Kamiar Alaei is a public service professor in the Department of Public Administration and Policy at the University of Albany and the founding Director of the Global Institute for Health and Human Rights. He is an expert on HIV/AIDS, drug policy and international health and human rights. In addition to WHO/CAIRO, he has served as a consultant or temporary advisor to the World Health Organization in Pan American Region (PAHO) to expand health and human rights training programs in the prison system. He and his brother Arash co-founded the first “Triangular Clinic” for three target groups in Iran. His area of expertise, focusing on HIV/AIDS policy and drug policy through an academic perspective with a concentration on central America, the Middle East and Central Asia.
He earned his degrees from Isfahan Medical University (MD), Tehran Medical University (MPH), Harvard University (MS), and the University of Albany (Ph.D.) Alaei is currently completing his degree in International Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford. Selected publications include: Alaei A; Alaei K. Drug users need more choices at addiction treatment facilities. British Medical Journal (BMJ). 22 March 2013; and Alaei K; Mansoori D; Alaei A. The response to HBV Vaccine in HIV infected patient’s. J of Archives of Iranian Medicine. Oct. 2003.Vol.6; No.4:20-25.
. . .
After Islamic revolution in Iran, the policy of official change and they send drug users to prison for mandatory be free from using drugs. And they call them rehabilitation centers, but they were actually prisons, because they didn’t have access to any healthcare services to get you know supplementary treatment for the addiction, and they had no choice except to you know suffer for a few weeks. And since some of them they were you know drug users that they didn’t have experience of injection. When they got to prison, they may got you know some kind of drugs from other prisoners that they brought inside and they shared needles. And that was the beginning of a history of needle sharing among endocrine drug users inside the prison. So this policy unfortunately continued for almost 20 years, and for 20 years there was no treatment facilities for drug users, and if they arrested any drug users they sent them to these mandatory rehabilitation camps.
And they So if they found any drug user, they pushed them to those mandatory rehabilitation camps, and for 20 years they had this kind of policy. And that was the reason that drug users they had to shift their behaviors, and some of they started injecting drugs and sharing needles while they were in prisons. And when they got released, they may got infected by bloodborne diseases such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis B or hepatitis C. The first HIV case was detected in Iran in 1986 among a hemophilic case. And after that, for a while policy makers they denied that there was any HIV issue in Iran. They called it this was a western disease and we as a Muslim country we don’t have any kind of those illegal behaviors which put a trace of population to get HIV, except through blood transfusion.
At the beginning, the main route of HIV transmission was through blood transfusion from blood that they got from France, because they didn’t have any screening system. So the majority of people that they needed blood they got infected if they needed blood due to surgery or the type of disease that they had like thalassemia or hemophilia. But when they identified that the rate of HIV is increasing among this target population, they started to do screening, and that was after a few years the rate of HIV among this type of group was declined. But for more than a decade that there was a debate between experts and policy makers to have some survey among other high-risk behaviors. Finally, officials accepted to have a pilot survey among drug users, and the best way to find. So that was the reason – I totally lost what I was talking about. What was it?
Okay, yeah, yeah. So the first pilot project was implemented among drug users, and the best way to find them was through prison system. So they had a pilot survey among three main prisons in southwest, southeast, and the western part of Iran.
And they found the rate of HIV is high among drug users who were in prison. The rate was between five to eight percent. What they did, so they closed one of the prisons in southeast and…
The Islamic Republic of Iran has become one of the dominant military powers in the Middle East active in many international conflicts and a constant threat to regional stability. Learn about the revolutions and social movements that make up the turbulent history of modern Iran. Explore the world of the ancient Persian Empire, the establishment of Shia Islam in Iran, and experience the moving events of the 20th century to present day in this powerful documentary series years in the making.
In the oppressive grip of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, protesters in the streets of Iran call for the end of the Islamic Republic and the return to the peace and progress of the last ruling dynasty. Get to know the people of Iran today, what they are fighting for, and why foreign help may be needed to throw off the yoke of Iran’s duplicate military powers used to suppress its own population.
Experience the rise and fall of the Soviet Empire through the life and work of Grisha Bruskin. Born to a Jewish family in Moscow at the end of WWII, Bruskin rose to fame as an intellectual and artist in an underground social movement that questioned the Soviet way of life beneath the radar of the ruling elite. His work exposes the undocumented history of what became known as, “the Soviet situation,” and expresses the sentiments of generations lost to communist rule.