'This Week' Transcript: John Brennan, Reps. Hoekstra, Harman, Sens. Collins, Lieberman

MORAN: All right, well, it -- had it not been for -- for this terrorist act -- and perhaps in the long run, too, David -- the most important thing that had happened in the world, perhaps, is what was going on in Iran. We had another massive uprising, unrest on the streets of Iran over the past couple of weeks. And the Iranian government now going directly after one of the leaders of the opposition, Mir Hossein Mousavi. His nephew was killed; his wife was arrested. How significant is what's happening in Iran? Or is this just another, as we've seen over the past few months, bubbling up of this opposition and -- and the government being able to tamp it down?

SANGER: Well, you know, it's very significant. The question is, is it Tiananmen all over again, in other words, a government that will be able over time to contain this? I think a few months ago, we all would have said, yeah, they'll be able to do that. But every time this cycle happens, the Iranian opposition seems to come back stronger and stronger.

And that leaves President Obama with this fascinating game of sort of three levels of chess that he's got to play on Iran in this coming year. The first American priority, of course, is the nuclear program. And we reported in the Times this morning that the administration thinks they have a little bit more time on that, in part because the Iranians have run into more technical troubles with their enrichment -- nuclear enrichment program than people thought they had.

Those troubles may, in part, be because they have a bad system and bad and old equipment and may, in part, be because there's been a fairly lengthy American and Israeli sabotage effort underway.

MORAN: We've sabotaged the Iranian nuclear program?

SANGER: In the past, we have been successful -- the United States has been successful and the Israelis and to some degree the Europeans have in getting into the supply network that the Iranians have used to take equipment into Iran for enrichment.

The more interesting program is the one that President Bush began, to try to go in after the electrical systems, the computer systems, of the Iranians, and it's unclear to me how successful the U.S. has been...

(CROSSTALK)

MORAN: Well, do these protests open the opportunity -- as -- as David wrote in the New York Times this morning -- for sanctions to take a bigger bite?

WILL: Sure, and sanctions targeted at the investments overseas of the Republican Guard. Somewhere between Tiananmen, where there are demonstrations that are successfully put down by the regime, and Romania, where you have demonstrations and, poof, the regime goes away, this probably falls.

I think we're witnessing slow motion -- and perhaps not so slow, after all -- regime change. Now, this regime is much more ruthless in dealing with its own people than the shah was, it's pretty clear now. But the question is, does its oppression deepen the resistance? And I think yes.

BROWNSTEIN: And, certainly, the president's tone has changed. In the Oslo speech, in the -- in the statement this week, we're clearly identifying with support for the -- the protestors and -- and kind of affirming our traditional role as kind of, you know, a voice in -- in support of individual liberty.

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