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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  May 17, 2018 12:30am-1:01am BST

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our top story: a reversal of fortunes for malaysia's political leaders, as anwar ibrahim is released from prison. the former opposition leader proclaims a new dawn for malaysia. at the same time, police raid the home of the defeated prime minister, as they investigate his multibillion—dollar investment fund. uncertainty surrounds the summit between the us president and the north korean leader, as pyongyang threatens to cancel the talks. but donald trump says he remains hopeful. and this story is trending on laurel. so what are you hearing — is it laurel or yanny? the internet is divided. apparently it is all a matter of which frequency you hear. that's all from me now. stay with bbc world news. now on bbc news, it is time for hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk.
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i'm stephen sackur. donald trump's decision to dump the nuclear deal with iran has presented the tehran government with a choice. does it make a concerted effort to keep the agreement intact, along with the other signatories, or does it ramp up its nuclear its programme and hang the consequences? i spoke to a former spokesman for iran's nuclear negotiation team, seyed hossein mousavian. in the face of intense pressure from the us, israel and saudi arabia, how will iran respond? hossein mousavian at princeton university,
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welcome to hardtalk. thank you. let's start with that decision by donald trump to walk away from the international agreement on iran's nuclear programme. how well—prepared so you think the iranian government was for that decision? i think they were very well—prepared because from the beginning, the majority of the iranian establishment, they believed that the us would not stick with its commitments, especially when president trump took office. and he announced publicly a regime change against iran, confronting the region. everybody could understand in tehran that he was not going to stick with the nuclear deal. it is a blow for president rouhani and a vindication i suppose
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for supreme leader khamenei, who had always said that this deal, albeit reluctantly signed, would not see america change its policy towards the country, nor keep its promises. actually, there are two schools of thought, since the revolution ini979 in iran, in relation to the us. the first one is you cannot trust the us and you should not negotiate with the us because the us will never stick to any commitment agreed in any deal, therefore it is better never to negotiate with the us. the second school of thought has been saying that yes, you can't trust the us, but we have too many difficulties, too many disputes, and some common interest issues in the region and beyond, and it is better to start to have a direct negotiation and to see whether americans would comply with their commitments or not. actually, after over three decades, the nuclear issue was the first issue, ever, iran and the us had negotiated at a very, very high level, and they agreed on a very comprehensive package. it was not at the same time, as you know, it was not a bilateral
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agreement, although the us played a major role to reach this agreement, it was an international agreement. the europeans, they invested since 2003 in these negotiations and also, it had the international atomic energy agency backup the solution, and moreover and more importantly, it had the un resolution backup. yes, all of that is true, hossein mousavian, but now of course, given that the united states is the biggest player and barack obama of course was a key move in getting the deal done, now that the united states has moved away, iran has to calculate whether there is still life left in the deal and weather the economic gains that were part of that deal can still be made without the united states, and that is why foreign minister, mr mohammad javad zarif has been in moscow, now in european capitals, talking to the uk, germany and france. do you think iran has faith that the europeans can continue
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to stick to the agreement and can give iran the benefits it needs from the deal, in economic terms? it is really a big moment in iran eu relations because, as you know, i have been dealing with european, iran, eu relations since the mid—1980s, and always there was a big question in iran whether europe is independent from the us, whether iran can have a separate, independent, good relationship with the european union or not. iran has decided to stick with the deal with europe, plus russia, plus china. if i may interrupt, iran has not made the decision to stick with the deal without conditions. the conditions laid out by mr rouhani... no, no, you're right exactly. the deal laid out by mr rouhani last week was ok, we we will wait a few weeks before ramping up our nuclear enrichment. we will wait and negotiate
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with our friends, who signed the agreement, to wait and see what they can deliver for us. so clearly, the clear implication... iran has decided to stick with the deal, if they can deliver the commitments for staying in the nuclear deal. it means if the europeans, china and russia, they can fulfil whatever commitments they are committed to within the nuclear deal, which is more about iranian economic relations with europe, china and russia, then iran would stay with the deal. so let's get real, if you don't mind, mr hossein mousavian. look at the way the international trade works, in particular the oil business, denominated in us dollars, where financial transactions tend to be done in us dollars and us banking and institutions are so important. look also at the multilateral
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business arrangements made by companies like boeing and airbus, where europeans are part of a much bigger trading picture, which involves the americans. then consider that the white house has been quite clear they are going to impose secondary sanctions on those companies that continue to do business with iran in the future, and that have a stake in the united states as well. so, as the german foreign minister said the other day, he said "i do not see any simple solution to shield our companies from all the risks of american sanctions." obviously, we're in a very, very complicated situation. that is why the iranian supreme leader publicly said we cannot trust the us, we cannot trust the europeans, because he really doubted whether the europeans would be able to do the deal or not. however, the europeans are publicly saying — insisting that they are supporting the nuclear deal and despite the us
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departure, they would stick with the deal and it will be implemented. it means that they will be able to, or they should be able to, maintain normal economic relations with iran. let's just be really clear about this. do you think the europeans have the capacity and the will to take on the americans on this issue? and notjust use the rhetoric backing the deal, but actually commit to continuing the economic relationship and taking whatever punishments the americans mete out if necessary? yeah, i think the europeans, they have political will, but i really doubt whether they have the capacity. this is something we have to wait to see, but there are ways for europeans. you remember in the mid—1990s, when the us imposed sanctions with a territorial impact
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on iran and the europeans, they decided to pass blocking regulations in order to support european business with iran and to resist the us extraterritorial behaviours. this is one issue, whether the european union would revive relations or not, this is one issue. second, whether iran and the eu would be able to manage the financial system. they do business in euros, not in dollars, because whenever the business is in dollars, it comes to new york for a u—turn and we would have a problem with the us. but if we can have business in europe, then we would face much less capacity for the us to go for punishments. all right, so your view is...
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the europeans, whether they would be able to do it or not, i really do not know. your view is that it is going to be very difficult. explain to me one thing. if it is going to be very difficult — and the europeans have an important decision now to make about how far they can go in trying to make this deal stick — why on earth would the iranian government choose this particular moment to, for example, confront the british government with a particular human rights case which makes it very difficult for the british government to work with iran? i am thinking of course of the woman, nazanin zaghari—ratcliffe, a british woman who is locked up inside iran.
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she has been locked up for more than two years, she faces a five—yearjail sentence for plotting against the regime at a trial which the british government saw as completely unjust and unacceptable, and now we have the iranian attorney general saying that a second case filed against this woman is still open and her sentence might even be elongated. if the iranians need the europeans, why on earth would they be doing this sort of thing? we always have had other disputes on human rights, on the peace process, on weapons of mass destruction, on regional issues. this is not only one case, therefore we need to have a broader dialogue between iran and the eu, like the model they used for the jcpoa. jcpoa really is a good model because only one of the disputes between iran and the european union and the us and international community... it is about trust, though. it is about trust, isn't it? yeah, it is about trust. but how can the europeans trust iran when the government continues
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to imprison women like nazanin zaghari—ratcliffe, who went to visit her family, who according to all observers outside iran is in no way guilty of the crime she has been convicted of, and just appears to europeans to be an egregious human rights abuse? let's be very frank. europeans, any time that something happens to one of their citizens in iran, their assumption and conclusion at the first minute is that they are innocent and the iranian government is guilty, even if, for example, american hikers enter iran illegally, and this is definitely a crime, this is breaking law, the american government says oh no, they are innocent and this is a human rights issue. therefore, as log as the americans and europeans have no respect for the legal system of iran and immediatelyjump up, then we're not going to resolve any
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humanitarian issues. ok, then let's persist with trust a little longer. one of the issues that was proposed by the israelis — and clearly they were working in some sort of association with the americans in the sense that it helped the americans politically — bibi netanyahu came out with a dossier of leaked information that the intelligence services had got from iran, which revealed years and years of lies that iran had told going back to the early 2000s about the nature of its nuclear programme. the point was not so much that this was new because we knew that the lies are being told, indeed the lies were being told when you were part of the nuclear negotiation team. but the germane point today was that the israelis said look, this documentation is a vast amount of research within the so—called project about the weaponisation of nuclear materials that the iranians had been working on. it was taken and put in a secretive location, showing that the iranians had no intention of abandoning
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their long—term programme to acquire nuclear missiles. what do you say to that? steve, i have documented in my book the iranian nuclear crisis, every two years, the israelis have delivered, the prime minister, every two years, the israelis officials at the level of prime minister, the defence minister and the foreign minister, iran will reach nuclear power in two years. you can read my statements from the 1990s, this has been israeli policy to continuously say iran is after the nuclear bomb and iran would reach nuclear bomb in two, three years.
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you remember 2013... we don't need to rehearse every accusation. prime minister netanyahu was... we don't need every different detail of the long, vexed issue of iran and nukes but i ask you, would you acknowledge... yes. eeen today, iran does not tell the truth about all its nuclear programmes in the past and what it's done with the research and the data. steve, the iranian problem is with the fact that the europeans really don't know what is your criteria. for years and years and years, you are inviting iran to respect international rules, regulations and organisations. 0n the nuclear issue, it is clear the sole agency responsible to assess and to give a statement on nuclear programme of any country in the world is international atomic energy agency. also, the united nations security council. when we have reached a deal, from the date of implementation, january 2016, the iaea, international atomic energy agency, steve, 11 times...
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i understand that. publicly, that iran has complied with its commitment in the nuclear deal and there is no evidence of violating the deal and agreement at all. i want to get this clear. mr rouhani indicated that if he does not get satisfaction of the 4+1 of the p4+i signatories sticking to thejcpoa as it currently stands, if he doesn't get satisfaction, he will press the green light on iran ramping up its uranium enrichment programme and its various nuclear programmes immediately and the implication is iran is in a position where it can not just restart the programme,
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but it can massively expand it very quickly. is that true? you see, steve, if the us is going to withdraw from the deal, if the europeans are not going to limit their commitments and violate the deal, if the p5+i cannot deliver their commitments, it is reallyjustified for iran to depart from the deal because the deal cannot be implemented unilaterally only from the iranian side and it's not realistic to expect iran us and other world powers cannot deliver their commitments. this is number one. number two, imagine europeans would not be able to deliver and they would fail, they would follow the us and they would have to stop their economic relations with iran orto minimise it. then they would push iran to leave the deal but iran is a member of non—proliferation treaty.
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iran would remain as member of non—proliferation treaty. the main criteria is non—proliferation treaty. as long as iran is going to be member of non—proliferation treaty, as long as iran is going to permit the iaea inspectors to visit its nuclear programme based on safeguards and iaea regulations, therefore, why there should be a war? and the other members of npt, 180 members of npt, they are already complying with safeguard agreements foreseen in iaea regulations... let's quickly move on, we don't have much time, to syria. after the trump announcement, we then saw tensions rise very rapidly inside syria, notably between israel and iran. the iranian forces, and there are believed to be 30,000 or so personnel directly answerable to tehran inside syria,
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they fired some rockets towards the occupied golan heights. in return, the israeli airforce launched strikes against a whole series of iranian military targets. how worried is the tehran government right now about spiralling direct military confrontation with israel? i believe the issue is not a possibility of direct confronted war between israel and iran. i believe what prime minister netanyahu is doing is going to provoke iran to retaliate. to his invasion of syria. you know, he has invaded syria during the last two, three years over 100 times, all illegal, all aggression, all against united nations charter. however, he is going to provoke iranians to retaliate in order to drag the us to attack iran.
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prime minister netanyahu's objective is clear. first, to kill the nuclear deal and second, to bring the us to attack iran. he's been working on this for 20 years and during president obama, he was even pushing president obama to attack iran. with respect, things have moved on. it's not just about the israelis, is it? we have a team in washington, donald trump himself but his new secretary of state, mike pompeo, his national security adviser, john bolton — these men are on the record as advocating regime change in tehran. it seems to me your government in iran has a choice. it can continue its confrontational policies, building this arc of influence stretching from iran itself all the way to the mediterranean in lebanon by using hezbollah,
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by using the houthi rebels in yemen, its relationship with assad in syria you can do that but if iran does that, it runs the risk of a massive regional conflagration which iran very probably wouldn't come well out of. i agree with you, steve, it's a risky situation and president trump and his team want regime change, president netanyahu and his team want regime change. dragging the us and international community to a war in the region. i agree with you. the syria thing, steven, syria has a government which is internationally recognised as legal government. there is no other legal government in syria. they have an ambassador in the united nations. the legal government of syria has invited russia and iran to go
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to syria to fight terrorism. we have 110,000 terrorists organised by us allies in the region in syria to fight the syrian government, to fight syrian army, to fight syrian security establishment to bring regime change. we don't have any other country the same situation where you have 100,000 foreign terrorists fighting the government to security establishment, the military, in syria to bring regime change in syria. this is illegal. if iran is there, it's based on syrian government request. if russia is there, it's based on syrian government request. if the united states is in iraq, it's because iraqi government, which is legal government, has asked united states, come to iraq, bring yourforces to fight terrorists. this is international
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rules and regulations. who's saying... ? we have governments which... we have governments, which are legal, in syria and iraq. they are entitled to bring other governments, other countries to fight terrorism in their countries. we are out of time but frankly, i need a single—word answer to this. you are suggesting to me there is no likelihood whatsoever of the iranian government changing course right now, is that what i'm hearing from you? no, i'm not saying that. no, i'm not saying that, steve. i say if the us, the us, euro would implement the first agreement between iran and the west, iran and the world powers which is the nuclear deal, then the iranian supreme leader said publicly if the deal is implemented correctly and precisely, we would be open to start a dialogue negotiation on other issues. but if they are going to kill the deal, then there would be zero trust for iran to trust the us
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or europe on regional issues because they would say, even if we agree, even if the united nations resolution is there, the us or europe would fail to deliver their commitments. alright, hossein mousavian, i thank you very much forjoining me on hardtalk. thank you, steven. the weather for the rest of the week and the weekend really is looking very promising. as far as the short term is concerned, really chilly this morning.
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we've had clear skies, so the temperatures dipped away and in fact in some areas to barely above freezing. there's been quite a big gap in the cloud across the uk. you can see scotland, northern ireland and northern england so here, the lowest temperatures. you can see those cool colours here from scotland through the lake district just about into wales and northern ireland. in the south, slightly less cold. around 8—10 degrees. newcastle, first thing in the morning, possibly around two degrees above freezing but lots of sunshine on offer and it will not change through the morning of the afternoon apart from a bit of fair weather cloud building up. that's pretty much it. the temperatures not spectacularly high because it would have been at chilly morning. around 18 in london, 13 in newcastle, maybe 15 degrees in belfast and thursday evening is looking absolutely fine across the uk. a beautiful end to the day is forecast. let's look at friday's weather forecast. lots of fine weather around but the weather will go downhill a little bit, at least for a time
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across western scotland, possibly some spots of rain as well but for the bulk of the country on friday, it's looking fine. maybe 19 in london, 16 in newcastle. then the important weather forecast for the weekend, high pressure anchors itself across the uk. the weather fronts are not too far away, just to the west of our neighbourhood but they will stay, can't move in any closer, because of that area of high pressure keeping the fronts at bay, winds from the south dragging in warmerair, and the weather looks absolutely perfect in windsor on saturday, starting at a fresh night or 10 degrees and warming up to the low 20s by the time we get to the afternoon and it promises to be a fine day across the whole of the country on saturday, light winds as well, lots of sunshine around, maybe a bit of fair weather cloud again, 20 degrees in cardiff, liverpool and eastern scotland getting temperatures in the high teens as well. the weather does change
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in the north—west on sunday. weatherfront has moved in. there is weather in the forecast miklosko but the england and wales, there is weather in the but the england and wales, the weather should hold and another fine day on the way on sunday. many parts of england and wales having a dry weekend all way through. how that early next week? it looks like the warm weather will draw again from europe and the temperatures will be climbing once again. this is newsday on the bbc. i'm rico hizon in singapore. the headlines: a night raid on the home of the ousted malaysian prime minister as he's investigated over a multibillion dollar scandal as the man he once jailed hails a "new dawn". enough of intimidation! no more! we have entered a new era. the us president remains hopeful that his summit with kim jong—un will go ahead after north korea threatens to cancel the talks. i'm kasia madera in london.
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