September 30th, 2014
11:56 AM ET

Rouhani on Congress and the nuclear negotiations

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Fareed speaks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani about the ongoing nuclear negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

Mr. President, you know that if President Barack Obama brings a nuclear deal to Congress, it is very likely that many people in Congress – his opposition, his conservative opposition – will denounce him as a traitor, as having sold out American security interests. What would be your advice to him? How should he sell the deal in Washington if there is a deal?

I do not wish to give any advice vis-à-vis congress to President Obama. I am certain that they will work it out between themselves.

But you know that it’s very unlikely that Congress will lift the sanctions by law that they have enacted, and so you will have to accept presidential waivers. Is that a compromise you are willing to accept?

Sir, we have nothing to do with the domestic affairs of countries. Whatever the interaction may be between the executive branch and the legislative branch in America, it is none of our business. Our counterpart is not the U.S. congress, it is the U.S. executive branch. It is the administration. We will reach an agreement, God willing, if it is meant to be so, with the administration. And then President Obama’s administration has to work its own problems out with its Congress.

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Topics: GPS Show
September 29th, 2014
05:32 PM ET

Peres: You cannot be global and racist

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Fareed speaks with former Israel Prime Minister Shimon Peres about the growth of terrorist groups in the Middle East.

Do you believe that as a result of this, relations with this common enemy of terrorism, relations between Israel and the Arab countries and Middle Eastern countries are inevitably going to get better?

Undoubtedly, in my eyes.  You know, we live in a global world. I don't, I'm not sure that globality had it in mind or planned it. The fact is, the globality put an end to racism. You cannot be global and racist. Finished. You cannot be global and even nationalistic. Finished. Globality doesn't hang on power, but on goodwill.

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Topics: GPS Show
September 29th, 2014
05:18 PM ET

What will Shimon Peres do next?

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Sixty-five years ago, Shimon Peres got his first major position in Israel as head of its navy. Sixty-six days ago, he finally left government at the ripe young age of 91.

In between, there was an extraordinary career filled with wars and many attempts at peace. Tragedies and triumphs – including a Nobel Peace Prize, 48 years in the Knesset, stints holding seemingly every high office in Israel including prime minister and president. That last one was his final government job, from which he stepped down in July.

So what is he going to do next? This past week he released a humorous video that shows he's working on an answer to that question.

Watch the video for more.

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Topics: GPS Show
September 29th, 2014
09:04 AM ET

Why Iran is key to success against ISIS

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

By Fareed Zakaria

We are now in the air power phase of the campaign against ISIS.  These actions usually go well, think of the air wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya.  The United States has the world's most advanced planes, rockets, and drones and an extraordinarily capable military.

But what usually follows is messy, think of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.  Ground forces have to fight locals and guerrillas in irregular combat.  The most important questions turn out to be political.  Are the local groups, tribes, and sects fighting with the Americans or against them?

In Iraq, the most important problem remains that the Sunnis do not feel represented by the Baghdad government.  President Obama keeps saying that we have a new government in Iraq, but the implication that it is now inclusive is false.  Sunnis continue to have ceremonial posts with little power.  The army continues to be dominated by Shiites at the upper echelons.

The result is visible on the ground.

Watch the video for the full Take or read the WaPo column

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Topics: GPS Show
September 28th, 2014
12:48 PM ET

Colombia's president on his country's economy

Fareed speaks with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos about the state of his country’s economy. Watch the full interview this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

I was in Colombia last year and I was struck by how these war-ravaged and drug-ravaged cities, at least the ones that I had heard of as such, were booming. I mean, your economy is now leading the pack in Latin America?

Well, we are, yes, the country that is growing the fastest. This first half of this year we were the third in the world, the first of Latin America, but the third in the world after China…

The third fastest growing economy in the world?

Yes, after China and Indonesia. But not only that – growth by itself doesn't mean anything. We grow to give the people a better life. And we have been able to reduce poverty by almost 10 percentage points, which is unprecedented. And extreme poverty by almost six. And we have been able to create employment, formal employment, much more than any other country in Latin America. And that has allowed us to be a little less unequal.

 

But we have a long way to go still. But the economy, thank God, is in good shape.

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Topics: GPS Show
September 27th, 2014
10:35 PM ET

Rouhani on the case of Jason Rezaian

Fareed speaks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani about the case of Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian. Watch the full interview this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

Mr. President, I have one last question, and it's one I've asked you before.  But please indulge me. Jason Rezaian, the correspondent for The Washington Post, and his wife, have both been arrested. Nobody knows what the charges are.  Nobody knows why. Your own foreign minister has said that Jason is a good reporter. People have attested to you personally that he is a decent person.

I know you say it's with the judiciary and you can't comment. My question is, I'm trying to get at this a different way. Can you give us hope that this case will be dealt with fairly, with leniency and speedily – that this will be resolved quickly and that Jason will be able to come back to the United States?

Listen. Leniency and everything that you just went over, these are topics to be thought about or spoken of after the final judgment is rendered. And an individual who is brought up on any charges or detained or questioned, all of the different steps must be in accordance to the constitutions and the laws of the country.

If that individual has not committed any crimes, it will be determined that he or she or they are innocent and they will be freed.  And it will be announced openly.

So we must not prematurely express opinions about a case file that hasn't reached the court yet.  Sometimes the minister for judicial affairs sometimes does inquire a member of my cabinet, sometimes does inquire as to the conditions of those who are detained from time to time.

Will you make an inquiry from your office about their condition? It would, I think it would carry some weight.

Generally speaking, for everyone, what I said goes for everyone, not targeted towards a certain case file or a certain individual.

 

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Topics: GPS Show
September 27th, 2014
10:05 PM ET

Chelsea Clinton on Ebola crisis

Fareed speaks with Chelsea Clinton, vice chair of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, about the threat posed by Ebola. Watch the full discussion this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

The CDC, the Center for Disease Control, has just put out a model, a simulation that says if we continue on our current trajectory, I think it's by the middle of 2015, we could have maybe 1.5 million people affected. Do you think that's true?

Not even by the middle of next year, by the middle of January of 2015. The case load in Liberia doubles every 15 to 20 days. The case load in Sierra Leone doubles every 30 to 40 days. So we're truly watching exponential growth, which is why we need to have an exponential acceleration in our coordinated efforts to combat Ebola, particularly in Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as in Guinea.

To build a little bit on what Paul was saying, I think if we look at both historical and contemporary examples, we see that that pace of Ebola case growth doesn't have to be. I mean, Uganda’s had five Ebola outbreaks in the last 14 years, none of which have become epidemics, because there's a strong health care system in place. There's a reason that there's been one isolated case in Senegal and it's been geographically contained in Nigeria, because there are more robust health systems in place.

So certainly our collective hope is that this is a call to action not only to combat Ebola, but to help these countries build their health care systems to better prevent the next Ebola case from becoming an epidemic and to better serve the needs of their populations more broadly.

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Topics: GPS Show
September 27th, 2014
12:08 AM ET

On GPS Sunday: One-on-ones with Rouhani and Peres, and how to contain Ebola

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

On GPS this Sunday: The leaders of the world gathered this week in New York for the U.N. General Assembly meeting, and GPS gathered some of the most interesting voices to get their takes on current events.

First, Fareed speaks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani about the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the state of the nuclear talks, and the harsh judgment handed down against six Iranians who made a "happy" video.

“Iran, from the very first moment, did not hesitate in fighting against terrorism,” Rouhani says. “Other countries apparently had their doubts for quite some time.  They were under the impression that, be it as it may, they acted quite late in the game.”

Next, Fareed sits down with a man who decades has worked at the highest levels of Israel’s government. Shimon Peres discusses the prospects for peace in the Middle East...and why at age 91 he's considering a new career – including delivering pizza.

Also, the Ebola outbreak – 1.4 million infections are possible says the CDC...and that's by January, in just two nations. What could be done to contain the crisis? Fareed puts that question to Chelsea Clinton, Paul Farmer, and Liberia's foreign minister.

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Topics: GPS Show
September 26th, 2014
07:45 PM ET

Zakaria: Turkey key to anti-ISIS strategy

CNN speaks with Fareed Zakaria about the vote in the British parliament, by 524 votes to 43, to authorize airstrikes in Iraq against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

I think many people might have actually thought Britain was already on board for airstrikes in Iraq. We're not talking about Syria. We're talking about Iraq. The significance of this?

It’s very significant, particularly the size of the vote. Britain has been with the United States in almost every military struggle it's had really for decades and decades. But militarily, it's not as significant as you might think.

The crucial issue is the fight between the Syrian Kurds and ISIS that is now taking place very close to the Turkish border. The crucial question becomes, will Turkey get involved? Because if Turkey gets involved, you have a very large country with a very serious army with lots of ground troops that could take on the battle with ISIS.

So far, they’ve been unwilling to do it, for two reasons. One, they're very close to the border, and they worry about ISIS retaliating. But most importantly, there were 49 Turkish hostages that ISIS had. They have been released, and Prime Minister Erdogan said at a meeting that I was at last week that there was no political deal made with ISIS. FULL POST

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Topics: ISIS • Turkey • United Kingdom
September 26th, 2014
03:58 PM ET

From the archive: Interviewing activist radical Anjem Choudary

Have you ever met a jihadi? It's easier to find them in London than in New York. Indeed, earlier last decade, London was sometimes dubbed Londonistan, the origins of which were obvious. Fareed met activist radical Anjem Choudary when he was filming in London in July 2010. Choudary was reported by The Guardian to have been detained on Friday by British law enforcement for allegedly "encouraging terrorism".

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Topics: GPS Show • Islam
September 26th, 2014
02:52 PM ET

Rouhani on the 'Happy' video sentencing

Fareed speaks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani about the controversy over a video created for the song “Happy.” Watch the full interview this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

You had six Iranians, young Iranians, who made this video of the song “Happy.” They’ve been sentenced to lashes, which have been commuted. They’ve been forced to recant on television. Why make them go through this punishment for making a harmless video about a song?

We do have a multitude of problems in the region and the world at large today than to speak about the prosecution of certain individuals. But, be that as it may, I as the president of Iran have been sworn and put there by the will of the people to protect the constitution. If the constitution is ever violated, it is my legal responsibility to take the appropriate steps and implement appropriate actions.

I don’t know the specifics of the case you are referring to, but perhaps in a country, a certain – in any country – a certain individual can be detained or questioned or put on trial. If it is done so, if this is done within the legal framework and if that individual has broken the law, then they must be prosecuted through the legal channels properly. If they haven’t broken the law, then it is a moot point.

You haven’t seen the video. It’s completely harmless.

No.

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Topics: GPS Show • Iran
September 26th, 2014
12:06 AM ET

The fight against ISIS must include Iran

By Fareed Zakaria

The United States has some influence with the Iraqi government, but Iran has far more. The Shiite religious parties that today run the country have been funded by Iran for decades. Their leaders lived in Tehran and Damascus during their long exiles from Saddam Hussein’s regime. When Washington sought to remove the previous prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, Iran provided the push that made it happen. If the goal is to get the Iraqi government to share more power with the Sunnis, Iran’s help would be invaluable, perhaps vital.

In Syria, Washington’s strategy is incoherent. It seeks to destroy the Islamic State there and attack Jabhat al-Nusra and the Khorasan group but somehow not strengthen these groups’ principal rival, the Bashar al-Assad regime. This is impossible. As these terrorist groups lose ground, the army that will most easily take advantage will be that of the Syrian regime, not the disorganized and weak Free Syrian Army. If there is some way to make this strategy less contradictory, it would be to work toward some power-sharing deal in Syria that includes elements of the Assad government — such as generals and intelligence heads. But Washington has no contact or credibility with anyone in the Assad regime. The government that does is in Tehran.

Read the Washington Post column

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Topics: Fareed's Take
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