"Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN
On GPS this Sunday: A special program from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where Fareed sat down with three world leaders.
First, a 1-on-1 interview with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to discuss the nuclear negotiations, relations with the United States, whether he believes an Israeli military strike is likely, and what he thinks should happen next in Syria.
“Well, the people, when they say ‘Death to America!’ – do you know what they are really saying? What they mean to say relates to the aggressive policies of the U.S. and intervention and meddling by the U.S.,” Rouhani says. “We don’t want those to continue. We want people to decide for themselves.”
"All countries in my part of the world, we want democracy to prevail. I told the people, if you want American policies to stop, we need to take action. We need to make the US Understand that its meddling is inappropriate."
Then, an exclusive interview with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who discusses the economy, “Abenomics,” and relations with China.
Finally, Egypt's interim prime minister, Hazem El Beblawi, discusses his country's path towards democracy three years on from the beginning of the Arab Spring.
Rowhani makes some good points, winning great marks on presentation and communications skills, a night and day difference compared to his monstrous predecessor!
I must say though, students of post-revolutionary Iran are well familiar with cycles of excitement brought first by a "Pragmatic" Rafsanjani, in the '90's, followed by the "Reformer" Khatami at the turn of the new century, and now President Rowhani's elegant and articulate promise of "Constructive Engagement!"
The question though, is: Has there been a net gain or net loss in the Islamic Regime's credit rating throughout these cycles?
While the verdict is still out on President Rowhani, his personal style and sincerity notwithstanding, might an argument be made that the first two presidential hopes (Rafsanjani + Khatami) were rendered ineffective due to the political rigidity of the Supreme Leader? In contrast, the supreme leader's recent references to the need for strategic flexibility may in fact provide Rowhani the window his predecessors hadn't had. And so, might it be that Rowhani's symbolic campaign 'key' was in fact forged by the failed ice-breaking presidencies of Rafsanjani and Khatami?
Time shall tell, but while the third time around may indeed be the charm, I would not bet the farm on Rowhani winning the Lombardi trophy as the all-mighty Iranian Revolutionary Guard ("Sepah") is the real dark horse whose allegiance will prove to be more supreme and consequential power base, trumping even that of Ayatollah Khamenie's.
No doubt many in the West still doubt Iran's nuclear programme and doesn't believe in Rouhani's words, that their programme was purely for civilian purposes. He was trying to make his point clear, while at the same time defending their right to nuclear "energy". He might be sincere, yet the hawks in the Congress don't trust him.
Very true @ j von, because it doesnt suit their agenda to believe him.
Good man, Iranian brother ally
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The Global Public Square is where you can make sense of the world every day with insights and explanations from CNN's Fareed Zakaria, leading journalists at CNN, and other international thinkers. Join GPS editor Jason Miks and get informed about global issues, exposed to unique stories, and engaged with diverse and original perspectives.
Every week we bring you in-depth interviews with world leaders, newsmakers and analysts who break down the world's toughest problems.
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Check out all of Fareed's Washington Post columns here:
Obama as a foreign policy president?
Why Snowden should stand trial in U.S.
Hillary Clinton's truly hard choice
China's trapped transition
Obama should rethink Syria strategy
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