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Jimmy Carter: Sanctions Against Iran Will Have Opposite Affect

CBS News White House correspondent Bill Plante interviews former President Jimmy Carter.
John Falls

Following an exclusive appearance on CBS News' political webcast "Washington Unplugged," President Jimmy Carter was at the White House Tuesday for a meeting with national security advisor Tom Donilon.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters in his daily briefing President Obama asked the former president to stop by.

Mr. Carter further discussed his foreign policy experience, detailed in his newest book "White House Diary," with CBS News White House correspondent Bill Plante on Monday.

Regarding Iran, Mr. Carter said he did not think sanctions against a nuclear program would be successful. "The decision about whether or not to become a nuclear power will be made by Iranians," Mr. Carter said. "Outside sanctions will have very little affect on them."

Mr. Carter went on to say that sanctions may have the opposite affect. "That [sanctions] would be one factor in going with nuclear weapons."

Classified documents released this week by Wikileaks revealed Arab allies have encouraged the United States to use force against Iran and its nuclear program, which does not surprise Mr. Carter.

"They have been very concerned, mostly Sunni nations, about Iran becoming more and more powerful."

"They have also made it clear to me that the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which I thought was an unnecessary action, has been the main thing that escalated the increased influence of Iran," Mr. Carter said.

Plante began a question with, "Another issue that persists is Mideast peace." "I've heard of it," Mr. Carter said with a smile.

His presidency was marked by foreign policy achievements and failures, including the Camp David Accords, the Iran hostage crisis and the SALT II nuclear arms reduction treaty. His work after the White House has focused on human rights through the Carter Center, for which he has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

An issue Carter is particularly vocal on is the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

"For the last 30 years, the number one foreign policy goal in my whole life about which I pray more and work more is to bring peace to Israel and its neighbors and you can't bring peace to one without bringing peace to the other."

Watch the video of Mr. Carter on Tuesday's "Washington Unplugged" above to the left.

Carter Says WikiLeaks "Helps No One, But Hurts Diplomatically"
Carter's Advice to Obama: Get Tough

Part two of Plante's interview with Mr. Carter airs Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. ET on CBS News' political webcast "Washington Unplugged" on CBSNews.com. Mr. Carter is the first president to appear on a network's politics webcast.

"Washington Unplugged" airs live daily at 12:30 p.m. ET on CBSNews.com.


Christine Delargy is an associate producer for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. For more of Washington Unplugged, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.