'This Week' Transcript: Powell and Dudley

TAPPER: Now, since you said that, there is a new regime of sanctions at the U.N. It would ban sale of heavy weapons to Iran. It would create cargo ship inspections and tighter sanctions on Iran's banking and financial sector. Is this strong enough, do you think?

POWELL: I don't think so. The Iranians have been around for thousands of years trading and selling and getting around various constraints and whatnot. They're very clever. And they know what sanctions might be coming. And I'm sure that they have done their own planning and have their own counter-sanctions strategy.

So I don't see that this causes sufficient pain that will cause them to say, gee, why didn't we realize we were so off on this and we're going to stop all of our nuclear program?

The nuclear program is there. It's operating. And I don't think they're going to give it up easily. I think we may have to eventually reach a point where we say, well, maybe we have to accept a nuclear program that's designed strictly for power generation and for their medical research reactor.

But they say they don't want a weapon. So let's put them to that test and put in place a set of inspections and a regime of inspections and the IAEA and the international community that if they violate, if they agree to these constraints, because they say they don't want a weapon, and then they violate them, then the hammer comes down in a way that they cannot ignore.

But right now, it's a dangerous situation. I wish they were not pursuing any nuclear program. But the fact of the matter is, whether we argue about whether they should or shouldn't, they have it. The centrifuges are spinning. They're producing the material. And the policy so far has not caused them to stop doing that.

TAPPER: Education is an issue near and dear to your heart. You and your wife, Alma, started an America's Promise foundation, which announced in March what Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and President Obama, a program called Grad Nation, a 10-year campaign to reverse the dropout crisis. Tell us about that.

POWELL: Let me start it this way. In another generation, the minorities of America will constitute the majority of Americans. And the minorities of American -- of America are not finishing high school at an acceptable rate. Fifty percent of them are not finishing. Among all Americans, a third of our kids are not finishing high school. Three hundred million Americans are now competing with billions of people around the world. This is unacceptable.

So we've got to do something about our graduation rate, and that's why we have started Grad Nation, on top of a lot of other programs. And Grad Nation essentially says all of us have got to get together and focus on the 2,000 schools that are responsible for most of the dropout problem that we have and get into these schools.

But we also have to remember, it's not just the schools. If youngsters show up from a home that is not secure, if they show up and they haven't been fed breakfast, if they show up and nobody's ever read to them in the home -- so it's an entire community problem that goes from high school all the way back to kindergarten, all the way back to prenatal care.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...