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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  June 27, 2018 4:30am-5:01am BST

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this is bbc news. the headlines: president trump has hailed a us supreme court decision to uphold his travel ban targeting five muslim—majority countries. he said that in an age of worldwide terrorism, "we have to be tough and we have to be safe". one dissenting judge said the ban was motivated by bias against muslims. the human rights group amnesty international has published what it calls detailed new evidence of the extent of the burmese military‘s crimes against the rohingya people in myanmar. it accuses the army's commander in chief and 12 others of orchestrating rape and murder and driving out more than 500,000 rohingyas. and six european countries have agreed to accept more than 200 migrants stranded for nearly a week on a rescue ship in the mediterranean. this is bbc news. now on bbc news, it's time for hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk. i am stephen
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sackur. since the beginning of this year, the reigning government has not upa year, the reigning government has not up a number of environmental scientist and campaigners. 0ne respected conservationist was found hanged in his cell in what the authorities said was a suicide. what on earth is going on? make yesterday ‘s kaveh madani, a scientist invited back to iran, academic post in london to be the head of the environment department. he got caught up in the crackdown and fled iran in april. why has environmental activism become so dangerous? kaveh madani, at joining
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kaveh madani, atjoining me from california, welcome to hardtalk. kaveh madani, atjoining me from california, welcome to hardtalkm isa california, welcome to hardtalkm is a pleasure to be here. let's start with a pretty simple question. just a year ago, a bit less than a year ago, it you were heading to tehran full of optimism because he had just been appointed to a very important and senior post inside the government, inside the department of environment. can you understand quite what has gone wrong in the months since then? i was going with optimism but it, i knew that the chance of success might be low. i wa nted chance of success might be low. i wanted to give it a try and i was hoping to be able to create hope in
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the months to come, in the months afterwards there was a lot happening and what i learned was that there are radicals and hardliners around the world who do not like the people who can break down walls because having walls is essential to their existence and survival, and that includes the hardliners and radicals in iran, at united states, israel, the rest of the world. well, let's stick with alarm. i just want to get a clear picture of the basis upon which you went back. —— iran. you we re which you went back. —— iran. you were aware of the nature of the regime, you are an academic in london but you still follow closely affairs inside iran. you understood that president rohani had made a real effort to reach out to run in the board and try to convince them that it was worth coming back. did
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you get any sort of assurances, any promises about the way he would be treated and the job that you would be allowed to do. —— rouhani. treated and the job that you would be allowed to do. -- rouhani. when they offered me this, there was only one response for me. i they offered me this, there was only one response for me. i never they offered me this, there was only one response for me. i never asked how much that i have, how much i'm getting paid, there was only one thing i said, go check and make sure that i do not get into trouble. i do not want to get into prison, make sure i get approved. the clearance worked at the beginning but there was a lot of fear and concerns about me and that is what got me into trouble because system could never trust me, and the main reason was that i never could answer this question well, like why would someone return home after 13 years and live a good job to come in the middle of chaos in trying to do something? and the system always thought that anyone who does that must be aspired or be involved in
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corruption and trying to make money or something. let me stop you for a second. you said soon after going back to tehran, quote, if i succeed, and many more may come back to help the government. do you think you we re the government. do you think you were being used in some ways and do you think you were extraordinarily naive? i don't think i was being used, i knew that the chance of success is low. the interview you are referring to is the interview in which i said that i have good reasons to make this decision based on calculated risk. i wanted to give ita on calculated risk. i wanted to give it a try, and see if i can succeed. i was the first example of trying in 40 i was the first example of trying in a0 yea rs, i was the first example of trying in a0 years, they reached out to someone from my generation, it is a generation that was born after the revolution of 1979, and are passionate about their country and wa nt to passionate about their country and want to do something. i really wa nted want to do something. i really wanted to try and make sure that i
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can do my bit and they made use to my country and try to do something. and i come back to this question about being naive because we should explain to everybody, you are an expert in water management, you were there in the department of environment are particularly task of trying to solve what has become a massive crisis for islam in terms of its water resource and water management, there simply is not enough water in iran. really, you must have known that by tackling some of the vested interests in the system, we are talking he now about the water management system, you would be ruffling feathers. you must have thought carefully about whether you have the society and the power base to take on some of the vested interest in iran? yes, and i think when it comes to work and the things i was trying to do were pretty
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successful. i turned my section into one of the most successful and productive, and i would say efficient sectors. this was on the worksite, talking to people, i was in charge of working with ngos and doing outreach and those things were done quite well. i do not think they we re very done quite well. i do not think they were very nervous about my solutions and the things i was trying to do, what they were nervous about was my connections to the west and being a westerner who is returning home and now becoming popular, and a westerner who might be promoting the westerner who might be promoting the western values that the country has been questioning for ever. —— forever. but i never thought that right at the beginning, when i arrived in tehran, but i would be arrested and ta ken arrived in tehran, but i would be arrested and taken to the airport and they would go through my bank account and e—mails and thinking
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that i am aspired. being a spy was the last thing i thought of what i made this decision. we will get into those espionage charges in just a minute because they are very important, but one will brief point about this work you are doing. some figures suggest that more than 90% of iran is experiencing drought to some degree. many of the lakes have been reduced massively in terms of water volume, there is intense farming, which has taken far too much water at the system, the dams that have been built have been effective. all of this stuff, you are raising questions about and as i understand it, the powers that be, including the revolutionary guard corps, which has a finger in pretty much every pie when it comes to the management of iran, they were not happy with some of the solutions you are coming up with. true, and i was talking about those even before getting into office. of course,
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there are people who have stakes and they are unhappy about someone sitting in london and prescribing solutions, so i was given the chance andi solutions, so i was given the chance and i thought that if i can take it to the high levels, that is what i was doing, it is great. plus, i was not only in charge, i mean i was not commissioned to do water as the only thing. i was in charge of outreach, education, and raising awareness, and that is actually what i was very proud of and very excited about because i believed that you cannot really change and make reforms in a country unless the public know about the things that are wrong in what must be done, and that is where i was trying to invest. i knew that in four years, no one, was trying to invest. i knew that in fouryears, no one, no was trying to invest. i knew that in four years, no one, no one on earth can solve environmental problems, no matter where they knew that i could not change that, but i knew that they could affect people ‘s's mines
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and perceptions and values, and that is what i was trying to do without. .. is what i was trying to do without... that is what you say you are trying to do now we need to get to the nub of the musso, which is the conviction of particularly the intelligence department of the revolution guard corps, that you and a handful of other sciences, a dozen or so of you were in the end conducting your environmental campaigns ina conducting your environmental campaigns in a way that was in effect a cover for espionage campaigns in a way that was in effect a coverfor espionage in campaigns in a way that was in effect a cover for espionage in the pay of the united states and israel. —— the matter. is it true? pay of the united states and israel. -- the matter. is it true? and the uk. of course not, like at the beginning, i was laughing when i was reading these things and overtime, i realised how serious these things are. but those accusations are coming from a small percentage of a group which, who are unfortunately powerful. but i run for the people
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of iran and i think that the people of iran and i think that the people of iran and i think that the people of iran were never convinced that these accusations are valid. so i am proud of this decision and i think i would do the same if i go back in time, with the amount of information i had back then. you were briefly detained, wouldn't you ? i had back then. you were briefly detained, wouldn't you? what happens? did you go to the now notorious prison, did you spend time there? no, i was notorious prison, did you spend time there? no, iwas detained notorious prison, did you spend time there? no, i was detained but i was not because i was a government official, my situation was different. what happened to you? there were questions and a lot of things and courtesy of those who are right now in trouble, i think it is not good to disclose every detail about that incident. i do not want to jeopardise things further for those people. not only will you briefly detained, but it seems somebody hacked into your personal
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data and released photographs of you, it seems at a party, at a table drinking wine, which of course for some in iran is something which is not acceptable. i mean, iwas some in iran is something which is not acceptable. i mean, i was at the table and they were wine glasses on the table but there was no photo of me drinking. theyjust get that i was drunk because i was too happy andi was drunk because i was too happy and i was smiling, as i'm doing now is. the 20s this was released and i was smiling, as i'm doing now is. the 205 this was released onto the internet and the iranian media called you debauched and a whole bunch of other things. —— the point is. at this point, were you getting seriously scared for your safety? is. at this point, were you getting 5eriou5ly 5cared for your 5afety?|j will seriously scared for your safety?” will just give you seriously scared for your safety?” willjust give you some background, so those were photos from 2013 in california and they sold it as photos of me blowing a photo at the romanian embassy in malaysia and serving alcohol, which was absolutely wrong and people realised very soon. “—
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absolutely wrong and people realised very soon. —— iranian embassy. i had my e—mails and everything, all the details of my life, and i stayed in the office because i know they cannot ever proved a must buy, based on facts. but when they came to a point that they have released photos that they got to my e—mails, i realise that the only thing they wa nted realise that the only thing they wanted me out of office and that is, all the threats and everything and putting pressure on my family. so i decided to step down because i knew i cannot continue helping my country, even from faraway, because what i want is a more informed society. yes, they wanted me out of office, they won that battle but i think they did not win the larger battle against the people of iran. and will come back to larger battle that you still say you are engaged m, that you still say you are engaged in, but it is important to tease out a little bit of the detail here because i refer to roughly a dozen
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scientist, environmentalist and campaigners in the field who have at one time or another been arrested. some of them, as you say, still in detention, so we have to respect their interest. but sadly, one individual, his case is no longer current because he is dead. that is of course the case of the canadian uranium conservationist, who was found hanged in his cell after being taken to prison. he was a man who did a great deal of work on the endangered iranian cheetah. can you tell me anything about his particular case? so it's, to be accurate, we have been told that he was found in that situation. we still don't know details of that incident, and there are no record, films or anything to prove that. but
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key, this is what we have been told. he was among those activists who are passionate about their country and now, he is being accused of working for, for the intelligence service of israel and others and being... did you ever meet him? it is said by the hardliners using their mouthpiece in the iranian press that you and he were linked in an espionage network.” you and he were linked in an espionage network. i have met a lot of iranians, especially those with passion about the environment, including him. and last summer i was invited by him to give a lecture on iran's water problems at the university he was a professor of. and i remember that, you know, we we re and i remember that, you know, we were asking, like, why he is teaching at that university. and he was very teaching at that university. and he was very proud of his impact, and the fact that he can have an impact
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and try hard for the well—being of the iranians. i don't think, overall, in my life, i might have beenin overall, in my life, i might have been in meetings with him or places for a few hours in total, so i can't reallyjudge everything for a few hours in total, so i can't really judge everything about for a few hours in total, so i can't reallyjudge everything about him, but i was always giving positive vibes and i felt he is a but i was always giving positive vibes and ifelt he is a guy but i was always giving positive vibes and i felt he is a guy who ca res vibes and i felt he is a guy who cares about his country.” vibes and i felt he is a guy who cares about his country. i had to ask you, you are talking to me from obviously an undisclosed destination in california, which is where you are currently. to some, watching this in iran, particularly those in the regime, they will say look, he has gone to america. he had an academic post in britain but he hasn't gone back to britain. it is interesting, they will say, that he is now in california. what is your response? what are you doing in california? i have been moving around since i got out of iran. i
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can't go back to the uk, come back to the uk, because of the visa rules of the united kingdom, which requires people whose visa has been cancelled or curtailed to stay out of the country for a year, which is called the cooling off period, which isa called the cooling off period, which is a sad thing. so i am on a leave of absence from imperial and will need to wait untiljanuary next year. so despite the fact that the iranians claimi year. so despite the fact that the iranians claim i have a dual citizenship, i don't, and i don't have a visa to return to the uk. i have a visa to return to the uk. i have been going to some conferences, including meetings in the united states, and that is what i am doing right now. i got my education here, did both my ph.d. and post doc at the university of california system, and that is why i am here having a lot of scientific meetings. what are your conclusions, having considered
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what has happened to you over the last nine months, what are your conclusions over the power balance in tehran today? you have already referred to what you see as a struggle between hardliners and the more pragmatic, moderate elements in the iranian government. now that you have experience what has happened to you, what is your conclusion about what is going on? we have an invisible government, as well, which does not want the current government to succeed. 0f does not want the current government to succeed. of course, things are relative. so compared to each other, the one which is officially in power is supposed to be more of a reformist, and the other ones are the hardliners and radicals, who don't want jcpoa to the hardliners and radicals, who don't wantjcpoa to succeed, don't wa nt don't wantjcpoa to succeed, don't want people like us to be good citizens of the world and be friends with the rest of the world. so i think that is what they are concerned with when they see
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environmental activism. and this is what is actually creating a lot of problems for the people of iran. so they have the same voice as trump and others, and they don't want the current system to function well, because they are threatened by, as i said, breaking down the walls, and any sort of diplomatic success. and thatis any sort of diplomatic success. and that is sad, because at the end of the day, who loses are the people of iran. and that breaks my heart, that, like, you know, the people of iran are the ones who have got caught in the middle of this battle between the world's powers. all right, then what is the most helpful thing to do, given what is happening in iran today? i mean, goldtron, you referred to thejcpoa, with the acronym for the nuclear deal which trump has just walked away from, backed out of, and the us is reimposing very tight sanctions on
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iran. do you support sanctions or, like a lot of other people who analysed sanctions from outside, do you think they are counter—productive? you think they are counter-productive? it is... so there are trade—offs. no one, i think, can say for sure that sanctions don't work or, you know, if they would work. but what we have learned over the years is that that system has been able to function, they find ways around things. but once you put sanctions on the country, they use more of their resources . country, they use more of their resources. and what has happened to iran is environmental destruction, economic destruction, and a lot of problems for the people of iran. the system has been able to function and go longer and longer, but who is losing other people that those who impose sanctions claimed to be trying to protect. this is a problem i have with the type of things that are happening. and the other thing
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is, if you go in and negotiate a deal, whether good or bad, you walk away in a year or two back from it, what does it tell the world? that you cannot trust the united states, you cannot trust the united states, you cannot trust the united states, you cannot trust the west, and all these things. and again, this causes problems for the iranians. why? because now if they are out on the street and they want to have any sort of peaceful demonstrations, they will be told that you are in alliance with those who want the regime to be overthrown. kaveh madani, i hear in your voice all the passion you have for the people of iran, that is why you went back to iran, that is why you went back to iran last september, but the truth is you ran away. and i wonder what your advice is to other smart, educated iranians living abroad, who might like you think that there is something they can offer to the country in terms of going back and trying to build a better iran. would your advice to them today be to forget about it, not do it, or
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should they go for it and give it a try? listen, we need to slow down things. the country is going down in every angle, and if we just say that kaveh madani didn't succeed, let's not go back, we are ignoring the fa ct not go back, we are ignoring the fact that there are a lot of people who have gone back into the business world, into the private sector, and they are helping the country. so if we all leave that country and just sit in, i would say, our offices and houses abroad and just blame the system and blame the country, we are not doing anything for the country. but with the greatest respect, and with all due reference to the hardships you face, that is exactly what you are doing right now. what ami what you are doing right now. what am i doing? iam what you are doing right now. what am i doing? i am saying we shouldn't go back? well, no, but you yourself have spoken with your own behaviours. i mean, you have got to a point where you felt so threatened that you walked away, and i am
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guessing you have no intention of going back. i cannot, you know, i think it is not rational to go back and go in prison and die. but i would say that it is not like every person should not go and take a political position. i think in my case, my case shows that going back and taking a political position is not a wise option, but the thing is that i could push back some boundaries. and if there were, like, 100 of us going back and trying to do things, they cannot accuse eve ryo ne do things, they cannot accuse everyone of us for being a spy and doing things like, you know, working forforeign services. doing things like, you know, working for foreign services. this doing things like, you know, working forforeign services. this is our generation. 0ur generation, like, 70% of the population, finally we have to have a role on the government, and we should be able to serve the people of iran and serve our country. and so yes, of course, we wa nt our country. and so yes, of course, we want to stand on our own feet. we wa nt to we want to stand on our own feet. we want to be friends with the rest of the world, and i think a lot of
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people of my age and my generation think that way and they have suffered a lot, and they want this situation to change. but if we all leave the country and wait for a foreign power to break down the country, i don't think this would work. the people of iran are the ones who need to decide, and those of us who are abroad should help. if we can't go back is of a security threat, at least we have to work on offering solutions rather than nagging, nagging, nagging, and blaming the system are just waiting for a better world. we're out of time so we need a yes—no ants are. do you think you, kaveh madani, still in your 30s, still smart, still in your 30s, still smart, still with a lot to offer a iran, do you think you will ever go back and live and work in your country?m you think you will ever go back and live and work in your country? if i have... yes. i want a one word a nswer have... yes. i want a one word answer and you gave it to me. kaveh madani, thank you very much for joining me on hardtalk. thank you. well, it does look as though
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there could be some slightly cooler weather, with a little bit of rain on the way, but not until the end of the weekend and into next week. in the short—term, well, the heatwave's just going to continue for the next few days, and into the weekend as well. and in fact, on wednesday, the highest temperatures are expected across, potentially at least, scotland and northern ireland. temperatures could hit 30 degrees celsius, and it'll be quite a bit cooler closer to the north sea coast. so this high pressure's very much in charge of the weather, notjust across the uk, but much of western europe and across scandinavia too, even in stockholm and 0slo, the temperatures have been skyrocketing. so through the early hours of wednesday morning, it's a case of clear skies. there will be some low cloud lapping onto the coastlines,
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some mist and fog as well. so, for some of us in the eastern counties, it is a case of grey skies first thing in the morning, but only briefly, and then quickly that sea threat will burn back to the coast and we'll get that sunshine. so it's a sunny, hot day across much of the country, and again, the highest temperatures are expected across scotland and northern ireland. but there will be a huge contrast in the temperatures. for example, look at that north sea coastal strip, even across scotland. the yellows there indicate much lower temperatures, and anywhere from newcastle, hull, into norwich — not spectacularly high, the temperatures here. in fact, in the low 20s, and all of that heat, because of the wind, is being pushed in the direction of western britain. so this is where we're going to see the high temperatures — again, the west midlands, for example, into wales. now, that eastern coast may hang onto some of that low cloud, notjust into wednesday, but into thursday as well. but we're mostly talking about the mornings. so again, in the morning, we could be waking up to some clouds in the east, and those temperatures may be getting up to 21, whereas across northern ireland and scotland here, where we've got
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more sunshine and those clear skies right from the word go, highs will be getting up into the high 20s, and quite possibly breaking 30 degrees. and then somewhat cooler, i think, by the time we get to friday. temperatures in belfast back down to around 25 celsius, but they may rise a little bit across the south. now, here's the outlook into the weekend. temperatures modestly high in belfast, around 21 or 22 degrees, but perhaps picking up into the high 20s. not far off 30 there across southern parts of the uk. now, i mentioned that there is a change on the way. looks as though thunderstorms across the south will be developing as we head into the weekend, and they could be drifting northwards probably sunday night into monday, but at the moment it's a low risk. there's no guarantee, and not necessarily cooling off all that much, so there is a change on the way towards the weekend. hello, this is the briefing. 0ur hello, this is the briefing. our top stories... a victory for donald trump after the us supreme court upholds his trouble than targeting five muslim majority countries. after last week's attempt on his
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life, barbara's president points the finger at formerfirst life, barbara's president points the finger at former first lady grace mugabe. we have an exclusive interview with emmerson mnangagwa. a spanish court finds that thousands of babies were stolen decades ago. argentina's world cup hopes are still alive. the last gasp goal sends the team into raptures and
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