Foreign correspondents currently posted to London look at events in the UK through outsiders' eyes, and at how the issues of the week are being tackled around the world.
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Hello, and a very warm
welcome to Dateline London.
This week we discuss the future
of the Iranian nuclear deal,
as President Trump says he'll
tolerate it for just a few more
What impact will that
have inside the country,
where xxx are in prison?
And as two key British Cabinet
ministers made Brexit pleas
in Germany, was anyone
in the EU listening?
My guests this week: the French
journalist Agnes Poirier,
from the magazine Marrianne,
the American writer and broadcaster
Jeffrey Kofman, the Iranian writer,
broadcaster, and journalist
Amir Taheri, and the British
and writer Adam Raphael.
Welcome to you all.
The Iran nuclear deal survives,
at least for a few more months.
President Trump has declared
he will extend sanctions relief
for Iran just once more,
giving European countries
what he called 'a last chance'
to fix 'terrible flaws'
in the 2015 deal.
For example, the White House wants
signatories to agree permanent
restrictions on Iran's uranium
enrichment - currently they expire
in a sunset clause in 2025.
And the administration has announced
14 new targeted sanctions
against individuals and entities.
Amir, all other signatories say
this deal is working,
... So what does this stance from
President Trump mean, do you think?
Years trying to link the deal to two
other issues, one being the missile
programme, which is mentioned in the
United Nations resolution but not in
the deal. Don't forget that the deal
is just a verbal deal, nobody signed
it. Nobody is really legally
committed to it. It is just a
political move. The second thing is,
he wants to leak it -- link it to
human rights, which is why the
Iranian Chief justice has been
sanctioned under the new decision by
President Trump. He has made some
headway with President Macron of
France, who has also mentioned these
two issues will stop the idea is to
force Iran continue negotiations for
a new package so that the nuclear
issue is not treated in isolation.
The idea is that you cannot have a
regime behaving differently, to be
nice on the nuclear issue but bad on
the missile issue and the human
rights issue, holding 36 Western
hostages, for example, without
charging most of them. There is a
package of problem, and I think if
Trump succeeds, it would need a run
to solve all of that problem. It is
a country with a lot of problems
with the outside world, and it is
wise to tackle all of them together.
Jeffrey, is President Trump saying
this because of all the factors that
Amir is highlighting? Or is it also
a visceral reaction to a deal that
was signed under President Obama?
is clear that it is the latter.
These are complex issues that take a
lot of study. We know he is not a
man who likes to study. These are
gut reaction. It is, they are bad,
Obama like them, therefore I don't.
There is no chess, this is checkers.
The people around him agree that
this is one foreign policy area
where they seem united.
There is a
consensus that Iran has got away
with a lot, that there has been
kowtowing to them to try to
accommodate, and I think there is a
sense that Iran needs to be held to
account, which is why there is some
support for this. The complexity of
this, and when you add in the
demonstrations we have seen in a run
in the last months or weeks, that
come in conservative areas, they add
a layer of complexity that makes it
more difficult to navigate this.
When Iran says it will respond
forcefully to any attempts to get it
to negotiate something new, what
does that mean? What is your take?
It doesn't mean anything, it's just
bragging and sabre rattling, because
Iran is really in a very weak
position at the moment. The trick
that the Americans are playing, and
let's now do a bit of Trump bashing.
I don't think Trump understands the
situation. But the American
administration is making a comeback,
regardless of Trump. Grip it is a
little too soft. The fact is, he was
America acting unilaterally. All the
European powers are horrified by
what is going on. --
it is a little
too soft. You cannot hope to be the
leader of the Western world if you
behave in the way that America is
doing. Outside the missile deal and
what have you, there is the whole
situation in the Middle East. Of
course, I can understand why
Europeans and Americans are worried
by Iran's role in Syria, in Yemen.
There was a whole series, but the
way to approach it is surely not in
the sort of incredibly blunt,
aggressive way, ignoring all his
allies. I'm a little worried by your
soft approach to Trump here.
want to participate in Trump
bashing. I don't care about Trump.
What I am saying is that he has not
acted unilaterally. He has renewed
the suspension of sanctions. So far,
he hasn't done anything.
given 120 days.
He is free to
suggest, and he is suggesting, let's
bring a package of issues we have
with Iran, and instead of parking
them on one side because we want to
fudge the issue, let's face them. It
is good for Iran, too, because Iran
has not benefited from this deal at
all, contrary to what people think.
With his 120 day deadline, what do
the European signatories do now?
What is their response?
there is no better alternative to
this agreement that was so long in
the making, in the preparing. If
Trump and the American
administration was so authentically
genuine about actually making it
better, because the issues, as you
very well said, are complex, and
there are other questions to be
debated. It should be done behind
closed doors, as it had been done.
It is a question for diplomacy. The
25 countries that participated, it
took about 10-15 years to get to the
point with Iran that we reached, and
then suddenly, there is all this
bragging, as you are saying, which
is so counter-productive, especially
when you are dealing with Iran. If
we want to take it further, why not?
It is not by behaving...
He has given this
ultimatum or four months.
ultimatum is a diplomatic term. It
must be done through diplomatic
channels. He has said, this may be
the last time I signed it.
doesn't sound like an ultimatum?
have to have a back-up plan.
become the defender of Trump!
not the intention. We want your
I have nothing to do with
Trump or anything, I am Iranian. He
is suggesting that Iran is the cause
of many problems.
We don't deny
To that point, then... What
could change inside Iran?
As I said,
Macron has agreed. The British at
the moment our row because they are
obsessed with Brexit. The Italians
have no Government, nor do the
Germans. So, he is saying, let's
bring in run to the negotiating
table. About the Middle East, the
intervention in other Arab
countries, support for terrorism,
holding Western hostages. All these
things, and it would be good for
Iran, too. Once the underbrush is
cleared, then they can really lift
sanctions on Iran. They haven't
lifted sanctions on Iran. The
Iranian embassy in London cannot
open a bank account in London. It is
forced to pay its staff in cash. Did
you realise that? This is what Trump
is saying. You say you don't like
it, Trump is crazy, he is a sexual
predator or whatever...
That is not
what we're here to discuss. Will it
help ordinary people in Iran? We
talked a lot about the protests, a
lot of it to do with the economy,
several thousand people still
imprisoned, perhaps more. To your
point, what could what could benefit
the very young population, all those
people who don't have a job, those
fundamentals of life, how could that
The problem with Iran is
that you have two countries. It is
Iran is a revolution, and Iran as a
nation state. One day, Iran must
decide to become a nation again and
not be a vehicle for exporting
revolution. In that case, Iran has
no problem with anybody. It is the
only country in the Middle East with
defined borders, the only one. The
only country in the Middle East that
has not been at war with anybody for
400 years, apart from the Iraqi
invasion. We have no problem with
anybody. The problem we have is
because we want to make the rest of
the Middle East... We don't share a
border or compete over markets or
access to raw materials. We have 2
million Iranians living in the
United States. We always had good
relations with them, but we have
become the number one enemy of the
United States because of the
revolutionary side of us. Israel
have been our friends for ever,
since we freed the Jews, and now we
have become enemies of Israel. I
never heard anybody say anything bad
about Jews in Iran, and there is no
anti-Semitism in Iran, and now we
become the most anti-Israeli. This
doesn't represent a run. If it can't
come back as a nation, with its
culture, history, resources, its 80
million population, it would be a
fantastic thing for everybody.
will be an enormous Twitter debate
about all of this, but we will be
coming back in future, for sure.
There is more to discuss this week,
and we must move on. We already
mentioned Brexit. You can't ignore
it this week.
Two British Cabinet ministers
who stayed in place after this
week's Government reshuffle headed
to Germany midweek to make
separate pleas about Brexit.
The Chancellor, Philip Hammond,
and the Secretary of State
for Exiting the EU, David Davis,
urged their respective
audiences to remember
the importance of London's
financial services sector.
They told a German newspaper it
makes no sense to put in place
unnecessary barriers to trade
after Britain has left the EU.
Agnes, Britain seems to want
a bespoke trade deal,
was anyone listening?
Agnes, they certainly give the sense
that Britain might want a bespoke
deal. Do you think anyone in Germany
was listening this because Mike
were pretty busy in Germany this
week. I don't know why they chose
that particular week to go. And it
was supposed to be a three-day charm
offensive. That was a hell of a
three-day charm offensive, because
they ended up telling the German
newspapers that EU leaders should
not want to continue punishing, that
they were paranoid and backward
They said, remember the
financial crisis, and we don't want
another one, therefore it behoves
all European countries to remain as
one in terms of financial services.
Philip Hammond said something new,
which is bewildering, but at least
it's something new to bring to the
Brexit debate, saying, actually, it
is for Europe to make an offer, to
tell us what you can bring to the
table. It is not necessarily for
Britain to tell you, Europe, what we
want. Then it is what we call a
conversation between deaf and mute
people. The German business leaders
they met in Berlin said, hang on a
minute, we don't know what Britain
wants. One day, it is a Norway-
style agreement, another time it is
Canada plus, plus, plus, trade
agreement with financial services.
They would say they did go to
Germany knowing what they wanted -
stability in financial services, one
of the things that brings the most
money into the UK.
It is key to the
British economy, but then Michel
Barnier, who is the face and voice
of the 27 EU member states, for the
moment, he said that the City of
London and the banks operating there
will lose their passporting writes.
That hasn't changed, so now it is a
question for the British Government
and therefore the Tory Party to come
together and decide what they want
in order to have just one line will
stop they go to Brussels and say,
OK, this is the kind of agreement.
It is a total mess, isn't it? The
new thing is that we now seem to be
willing to pay to secure additional
rights for our financial services,
so we would have to pay a financial
penalty. Whether any of this can be
sold in the British Parliament or to
the British people, I have no idea.
But it is a fantastic mess. What is
interesting to me is that, day by
day, reality begins to intrude into
these negotiations. So, the French
are only too keen to take over our
financial services. I can see Mr
Macron rubbing his hands at this
very moment. The fact is, this
country, it's not mad, in my view,
never has been and won't be now, and
the Conservative Party, in theory,
should represent the interests of
business. That is what it has
traditionally been about. Bad
business won't put up with the sort
of line that the Conservative Party
now appears to be destined for. I
think the party will have to start
adjusting, and indeed the parliament
and the Prime Minister, we are going
to go in for a most fantastic up. I
am pessimistic about what is going
What does that mean, what will
they do? Will it be business coming
back and saying, we need clarity
because we can't plan without it?
Agnes makes a good point because
there is no clarity in the
Government or unity in the
Conservative Party. Until they can
reach an agreed view, it is
impossible to put forward an agreed
position. We really are in a mess
here, and I can understand the
irritability, and indeed the
impatience, of our European
partners, former partners, with the
British position. And it is caused
by a political crisis within the
Government. It is so easy to muddle
up the Conservative Party and the
nation, but they are to separate
things. If you talk to
conservatives, they regard them as
the same, and that is one of the
real problem is that we face.
Somehow, the Tory Party has got to
sort itself out, and it's got to
actually begin to realise what it is
about and what can unify it.
Otherwise, we are in a total mess. I
am very pessimistic.
have that pessimism. Sometimes, I
wonder if this is just the
disorganised chaos of the political
process. Sometimes, when we are in
the midst of these kind of storms,
you think, my gosh, it is going to
hell in a hand basket, but this is
often how politics works, and it
takes this kind of brinkmanship,
uncertainty and bargaining can
sometimes lead to a resolution. The
concern is that we have just over a
year to resolve this.
Less than that
- October, because you have a
six-month ratification process. We
are talking until October.
There are two other
teams that Kaymer. One is that the
pound went to its highest level the
referendum. It was $1.37. Something
like that. Partly in response to
apparent statements, or indications,
from France and Holland... Spain,
pardon me. That they would be open
to a soft Brexit, which somehow
encouraged the markets here and gave
business sense that there may be a
way out. Then this very unexpected
comment from Nigel Farage, saying,
maybe we should have a second
referendum, which I think really is
extraordinary, the idea that the man
who really initiated this whole
momentum now wants to go back to the
people, potentially, for another
one. Me thinks it has to do more
with him than with Brexit, now that
his own contact in the White House,
Steve Bannon, has been brushed aside
and he has to find a new role in
life. There are so many currents
now, and it does become incredibly
difficult to wonder whether this
will lead to something stable, or
whether we will count these days
down and still be talking in this
I want to pick
up on something that you were saying
about the Conservative Party. We had
a reshuffle this week that was quite
extraordinary, and you talk to
people at Westminster all the time.
International viewers who didn't
follow it, we had a Health Secretary
who apparently was going to be given
another job and managed to persuade
the Prime Minister not only to stay
in this job but to add another title
to it. Another cabinet minister who
was told she was going somewhere
else dug her heels in, spent three
hours in Downing Street and came out
on the backbenches instead. What
does this tell us about Theresa
May's authority, how much of it was
tied up with Brexit? It has been an
Shambolic is the
only thing you can make of this
reshuffle. Normally it is a time of
the utmost prime ministerial power.
Unfortunately, this one, I don't
know, really... She's badly served
by some of the people around her.
There appears to be no proper
preparation for a reshuffle. The
idea that somehow... Jeremy Pied has
been a close colleague of hers for
over five years. And for longer than
that. She must have known exactly
where his position was, or she
should have done. The idea that
somehow, coal, on the day, he says,
I'm digging in, just this total lack
of preparation, so you feel that it
is unprofessional, but she doesn't
have the skills to manage her party,
that she is very, very weak indeed,
and she is only propped up there
because they can't agree between
themselves, the Tory Party at the
moment because they have in such
crisis, on who should be her
successor. I Tim Jeffery's point
that politics often does seem to be
a very convoluted, fractional fell,
and in the end it all resolves
itself. We are going through a
period of politics in this country
which is really unusual, and yes,
there may be a resolution at the end
of the day, but my goodness, it will
be difficult to get to.
from the consulate of Britain is
sadness. This reshuffle is
shambolic, but it feels as if we
should send a rescue mission to
Downing Street. Here is a political
prisoner who is trapped by her own
troops was not send the SAS! Do
something. But it's sad, in the end.
We can laugh, but it's sad, because
as a result, Britain is in a state
We can't leave without discussing
the enormous offence he has
caused with comments made
during a bi-partisan Oval Office
meeting about immigration laws.
Donald Trump himself
denies using the offensive
word beginning with S,
though concedes the language
he used to describe
various African countries,
and others, was 'tough'.
Jeffrey, the UN didn't say
the language was tough,
they said it was racist.
Jane, are you putting me in a
position of using a word on the BBC
Entirely your choice!
don't know what the censors think
about it. This is the President of
the United States. I did not think I
would have to repeat this word on
air as a journalist. He called these
countries the word beginning with S.
It is so deeply offensive. Whatever
you think of the man, it is
unthinkable that you can defend that
kind of talk from a world leader. I
think it is also offensive when you
think of the tradition of America,
give us your poor, your tired, your
huddled masses. Let's be honest,
most of America was settled from
countries that were at the time...
Could have been described with the
same word. Whether it be the
European countries in the 19th
century or just after the war,
Ireland in the 19th-century - these
countries were, by Donald Trump's
definition, much the same. That is
what has built the great country. So
it is just mind-numbing to know how
We are used to a year of
bellicose language from Donald
Trump, to his extraordinary use of
social media in the small hours of
morning - should we be surprised or
is there something more worrying
First of all, Trump denies
having said that.
That precise word.
He said he used tough language, but
there are multiple people who were
in the room.
You have to give him
the benefit of the doubt.
not, because a Democratic senator
So we give the Democratic
senator the benefit of the doubt.
Those who know American language
know that this is S word is part of
the routine vocabulary of Americans,
but when it comes to foreigners,
including the Portuguese
secretary-general of the UN, sounds
terrible. The French, Germans and
other countries have certain words.
Except the president doesn't say
It is part of the
language of daily life, and American
literature is full of capital F
words and capital S words.
form in this area, when he described
racist in South Carolina, saying
there was a fault on both sides. He
comes with form.
I don't want to
defend Trump. It is none of my
business. I am saying that we have
to put things in context, and I am
against ideas that become
fashionable. A fashionable idea is
to hit Trump, so I'm against it. If
tomorrow the fashionable idea is...
It is not fashion, it is fact. We
have the president of the free
world. It is absolute indignity
personified. I think we should stop
talking about him until the American
people remove him from power in a
peaceful, democratic way.
It is not fair to
dismiss this as fashionable. What he
did was to dismiss... He used that
word against El Salvador, Haiti and
Africa, and said, we need more
Norwegians. That is, by any
definition, a white supremacist
agenda of, we need more Scandinavian
- looking people, fewer of those
others. When you reduce this to what
it really means, that is what he was
Gentlemen, ladies, we will
leave our largely civilised
discussion there. Nice to see you
That's all we have
time for this week.
Do join us again next week -
same time, same place.
But for now, thank you for
watching, and goodbye.