'This Week' Transcript: Two Powerhouse Roundtables

STEPHANOPOULOS: That is the question, Christiane, and overnight, President Ahmadinejad did say, though, did conceded, however, that it's been a very difficult year for the Iranian economy.

AMANPOUR: Oh, it's been catastrophic. I mean, all our reporting, just talking to individuals in Iran, it's been catastrophic for the people, but as David says it is less affected the regime. And what it has done is militarized Iran. In other words, now everything is viewed in the parameter of war.

So this is why the revolutionary guard in Iran are taking over -- it's yet another excuse -- for them to take over so many of the institutions. Everything from the press, to information, to everything is being looked at through the parameter of war.

But I think what's interesting is that there was a very interesting conversation with the Iranian ambassador here, the only senior Iranian ambassador or official here, who said that we can have talks, we don't want to with a gun to our heads, that's what they always say, but we don't have red lines except that the United States has to accept our rights under the NPT, the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, which is to enrich.

So the question really is, will the congress, will the political sphere here in the United States allow real diplomacy, allow the administration to conduct a diplomacy which is not just sticks and has some painful, maybe, but carrots, to have a real diplomatic negotiation.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Intention, there, though, congressman I want to bring this to you, that the fear that these talks are just a stalling tactic?

ROGERS: Well, the most productive thing we've gotten with talks so far is an agreement for more talks. That stalling, that time has cost us in their development of their nuclear weapons program. They just recently put in more sophisticated centrifuges to spin up highly enriched uranium that could be weapons grade.

STEPHANOPOULOS: At the same time, though, they agreed to limit on the enriched uranium.

ROGERS: But here's the problem, this is -- think about the consequence of a nuclear Iran, this isn't France, this isn't Great Britain, this isn't rational actors. These folks have committed acts of terror. They killed as many as 600, or contributed to the killing of 600 U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan by introducing weapon systems and training and money.

Bulgaria is now going to the EU to try to get at least some tougher sanctions on Hezbollah through Iran because of their attempt -- they attempted to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington, D.C.

Imagine what a nuclear Iran looks like. A nuclear arms race in the Middle East, I guarantee you, will start. That's very destabilizing.

WILL: If the president means what he has said repeatedly and clearly, nuclear Iran means war with the United States. The president has said that he does not endorse containment of Iran. They will not have, he said, nuclear weapons. So if they can cross that threshold, there must be some red line somewhere that means not a nuclear Iran, but war with Iran.

ROGERS: I mean, there are other options to war.

ENGEL: I think the worst possible scenario would be a nuclear-armed Iran. I think that has to be stopped by any and all measures.

WILL: Which the president has pledged to do.

ENGEL: Well, I'm glad he has. I think it's a good thing that he's said that and done that. And I think that we need to work in consultation with our European allies to make sure that that doesn't happen.

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