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Noam Chomsky on Obama’s Foreign Policy, His Own History of Activism, and the Importance of Speaking Out


AMY GOODMAN: Defense Secretary Robert Gates met with leaders of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia last week to increase support for a new round of United Nations-imposed sanctions on Iran over its uranium enrichment program. While the Obama administration intensifies its efforts to win Chinese and Russian backing for tougher sanctions, France and Finland have indicated the European Union could consider unilateral measures against Iran if a UN resolution fails to materialize.

Well, as the United States, the EU and Israel step up the pressure on Iran, we spend the hour with the world-renowned linguist and dissident, Noam Chomsky, whose latest speech begins with a critical look at US policy towards Iran. An internationally celebrated professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chomsky is the author of over a hundred books on linguistics, mass media, American imperialism, and US foreign policy. The New York Times called him perhaps “the most important intellectual alive today,” but his opinions are rarely heard in the mainstream media.

Well, I had a wide-ranging conversation with Professor Chomsky at Harvard Memorial Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts just a week ago. He talked about antiwar activism, the lessons of Vietnam, President Obama’s foreign and national security policies, and also the risks that Noam Chomsky himself took as an activist and someone who has consistently spoken truth to power.

We begin with an excerpt of Chomsky’s speech, a critique of the Obama administration’s push for tighter sanctions against Iran.

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