Saturday 18 July 2015

"I'm really surprised about all this fuss about the Iranian bomb"

Today's Dateline London was partly surprising and partly unsurprising. 

The unsurprising bit was that three of the four guests were on board with the Iranian nuclear deal, while the other guest (Abdel Bari Atwan) was only not on board with the Iranian nuclear deal because he thinks Iran should have the bomb.

(Those who aren't on board with the deal but don't think Iran should have the bomb were conspicuous by their absence).

Here's a flavour of that part of the discussion:
Guest One: It is an important deal, I would say, and it is good that it has been done...Out of the three options [military strike, continuation of sanctions, deal], this was the best.
Guest Two: I'm really surprised about all this fuss about the Iranian bomb...I believe Iran is entitled not to trust the United States...We have Pakistani nuclear bomb, we have Indian nuclear bomb, we have Israeli nuclear bomb, so why Iran shouldn't have one? 
Presenter: I mean, actually you could say that American foreign policy in the last twenty years has extended Iranian influence in the region.
Guest Two: Yes it did...American foreign policy is a disaster for the whole region.
Guest Three: I think the first thing to say about this is that in a Middle East seized by chaos there's something to be said for having a government that you can actually negotiate with.  
Presenter: That's a very good point.  
Guest ThreeYes. This was a very cautious agreement, notwithstanding what Benjamin Netanyahu has said. As someone who has visited Iran...I think we've missed any number of opportunities to promote the moderate cause in Iran. 
Guest Four: The problem with Iran itself is its rhetoric is volatile while some of its action is slightly more cautious...All that said, my kind of instinct about this is probably the best sort of deal that we could have hoped for. And it certainly trumps..all the conceivable alternatives which would have been catastrophic.
Guest One: The hope...the hope, not the belief...the hope is that by negotiating with Iran the moderates will get the upper hand and we have to try and see.
The (pleasantly) surprising bit was that two of the guests stood up to Abdel Bari Atwan (Guest Two, as you may have worked out!) and stood up for Israel - and that one of them was Iranian writer Sharan Tabari. 

She pointed out that Iran is the only country in the region explicitly threatening to destroy another country and when Bari started ranting that Israel (that very threatened country) "is destroying Lebanon" and "destroyed Gaza" last summer, she held her ground, repeating the point that Iran has explicitly stated its desire to destroy another country in the region and saying firmly that this has to stop.

You tell 'im, Sharan!


  1. When they say, "American foreign policy", they don't mean the Nobel Peace Prize Winner-in-Chief, do they? "For the last twenty years" would normally include Him, but seeing as how they're approving of the deal, they don't mean it that way.

    I don't have the stomach to watch this today, but did anyone mention that The Obamessiah deliberately avoided supporting the Green Revolution (the rhetoric was sort of there, but no action was ordered), the one time we really did have a chance to support the moderates they're all claiming are vital now?

    1. No (you won't be surprised to hear), Obama wasn't named-and-shamed.

      They did complain though about the failure of 'the West' to back the moderates when the opportunity arose...though without directly mentioning the Green Revolution or the U.S. president at the time of that crushed uprising. Naturally.

    2. Next question for the BBC: Define 'moderate'.

      It's like how they treated Labour's 13 years in power when discussing economics. 13 years didn't exist, 2010 is Year Zero, and their beloved Obamessiah's 6+ years don't exist when discussing foreign policy, and so the last 20 years don't include the Cairo Speech, or the 'red line' for Assad that was somebody else's fault.

    3. UK GDP under Labour increased by a staggering 25% during its period of office (97-10). Surprising thing is, how few Labour politicians ever point that out.

    4. Credit bubble and pubic sector spending splurge. Greece did even better.


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