Britain and Germany call for new sanctions against Iran as EU foreign ministers gather to discuss concerns over the Iranian nuclear programme.
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Britain aims to tighten the screw on Iran. It's calling for more
sanctions from the European Union at a meeting of foreign ministers.
Iran's all-important oil industry could be a target, says Britain's
William Hague - just one of the options being considered. I hope we
will agree today additional measures that will be an
intensification of the economic pressure on Iran. Peaceful,
Welcome to GMT, I'm George Alagiah. Also in the programme:
So far, so good - America rewards Burma for progress, but says it
needs more reform before it's business as usual.
And green is red hot at the Tokyo Motor Show as Japanese
manufacturers unveiled their visions for the future of the car.
It's midday here in London, 3:30 in Tehran, and 1:30 in Brussels.
That's where the British Foreign Secretary William Hague is pushing
for more sanctions against Iran at a meeting of fellow European Union
foreign ministers. The talks come two days after Iranian protesters
stormed the British mission in Iran. Mr Hague, who's since ordered the
expulsion of Iranian diplomats from London, suggested that Iran's
money-spinning oil industry could be targeted, though he acknowledged
that there could be a variety of views on that.
Here is James Reynolds. This morning in Brussels, Britain's
Foreign Secretary William Hague arrived to test Europe's desire for
further steps against Iran. European Union has taken many
measures already but the additional measures, I hope we will agree
today, that will be an intensification of the economic
pressure on Iran. A peaceful, legitimate economic pressure,
particularly to increase the isolation of the Iran financial
sector. The attack, British Embassy is still fresh in every one's mind.
-- the attack, V. There is enormous amount of support for those people
who have had a dreadful experience. This is what British diplomats are
still recovering from. The country's two compounds in Tehran
work stormed by protesters on Tuesday. In response, Britain has
withdrawn its staff and ordered the closure of the Iranian embassy in
London. It wants Europe to act together. Here is what may be
discussed in Brussels. Iran is one of the world's largest oil
exporters and it is how the country get much of its revenue. There is a
suggestion that an oil embargo may be debated.
The EU and Iran do a lot of business, but Iran's key market is
in Asia, China in particular, which means that more European sanctions
can only have a limited impact on Iran.
Let's get some more analysis on the story. We will be like that the
Iranian embassy in London shortly, but first, let's cross to Brussels.
His Tehran going to be concerned that William Hague, up the British
Foreign Secretary, is talking about targeting the oil industry? I think
they are very concerned. I think they should be concerned. Judging
by the muted response from Iran today after the events of the last
24 hours, the closure of the embassies and the expulsion of
Iranian diplomats from London, it is quite clear that either they,
Iranian leaders, they recognise that the attack on the British
Embassy was pretty much a major mistake bad miscalculation -- and
miscalculation and has projected Iran of working outside the norms
of international relations and international law. Here, it has
firmed up the attitudes of the foreign ministers here, who are not
talking, are they don't have any more doubts, if there were any,
about increasing sanctions against Iran. Here, the idea... Can I just
interrupt? When you say there is a sense that there has been a
miscalculation, are you suggesting that within the administration in
Tehran, there is now, if you like it, various factions vying for
status, vying for power? Well, there was always a division about
this issue of relations with Britain and how to handle the
latest sanctions that Britain imposed about 10 days ago. The
Government of President Ahmed dared Jack was against the idea are such
taking -- the Government of the present was against taking such
drastic measures, but the opposition had different ideas.
Let's go back to or oil sanctions, it has been suggested on BBC World
News by our colleague James Reynolds that most of Iran's oil
coast eastwards towards China and Asia, so they wouldn't really have
to be worried about sanctions from Europe -- goes eastwards. Europe
accounts for about 15-20% of Iran's oil exports, and the drying up of
20% of the oil exports, it is not going to impact that much. But
these things have a tendency to be incremental, NSX that today, the
European Union is going to do that, tomorrow other countries might be
under pressure to do the same thing. If, for example, the banking
sanctions are tightened further and many countries are going to censure
and Iran's central bank, bent Iran's -- then Iran's ability to
get its hands on its oil export revenue from countries like China,
South Korea, India, it is going to be difficult. Already, Iran has
trouble getting the money for its oil exports from China. Apparently,
they have signed some kind of barter agreement. They have trouble
getting the money getting back from the Indians, who are channelling
their money through Turkish banks these days. These are serious
problems. A we will leave it there for the moment. -- we will leave it
there. Let's go to the London Iranian embassy, described the mood
there. Diplomats were given 48 hours to leave, were they not?
know that they have to leave very soon, but it is rather quiet here,
despite some calls or demonstrations in front of Iranian
wet -- embassies in European capitals. We only have one protest
here, but in front of the Iranian consulate, 10 or 15 minutes' walk
from here, we heard that there are some Iranians killing to do their
paperwork, because the consulates said it is opened their -- queuing
up. They say they are doing their best to try and finish the
paperwork and give people their documents, including passports
under ID cards. They have also started moving things out of the
consular. Both of you, thank you very much. American Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton has told Burma's leaders that changes
they've made so far are unprecedented and welcome, but just
a beginning. Mrs Clinton said it was encouraging that Hang Seng Sue
Key was free to take part in the talks but the US would not take any
further part until broader Reformation as were taking place. A
we are not that the point yet until -- that we are considering lifting
sanctions. That is because of ongoing it concerns, policies that
have to be reversed. But any steps that the Government takes will be
carefully considered and will be, as I said, matched, because we want
to see political and economic reform take hold and I told the
leadership that we will certainly consider the easing and elimination
of sanctions as we go forward in this process together. Let's cross
live to Thailand, where many Burmese exiles live. Thank you for
joining us on GMT, of what is your reaction to what you are hearing
from Burma? -- what is. We are quite excited, this is an
historic moment. We certainly hope that Hillary Clinton can break the
ice and can leverage the reform of the Burmese pro for -- process. We
are the same as many Burmese, cautious as to whether this change
is irreversible, and especially within the military administration,
because there is ongoing and oppression -- ongoing depression.
I'm sorry to interrupt you. When you say you are excited, are you
not concerned that there are still something like 1,000 political
prisoners behind bars? That is where we have concerns, for
political prisoners under -- and oppression in a wider area. The
President was saying there were no political prisoners left, so at
least acknowledgement about those remaining political prisoners and a
dressing on going -- and a dressing ongoing issues. And there are many
other concerns, when we talk about reconciliation. Would you accept
that in the end, in these sorts of things, you have got to be prepared
to take risks, and that is what America is doing? That is exactly
what we are doing it, of course. Every change has always risk
involved. Especially taking risks... The President is taking risks to
change. It is so via a oppression. A lot of people have suffered -- it
is so via. -- Severe. It is all about risk taking. But the question
is whether shall we take this risk? Is it worth it? Then the question
is, well a lot of stakeholders take this risk? We will have to leave it
there, sorry to interrupt again, it is a difficult line. Let's take a
look at some of the other stories today.
Thousands of people are protesting in Athens about salary cuts and tax
increases. They are staging a 24 hour strike against austerity
measures which Greece must implement if it is to reach the
next stage of the international bail-out plan.
The cigarette manufacturer British American Tobacco says it will
challenge a new law passed in Australia that requires tobacco
companies to sell their products in non branded packets. The changes
due to come into force in a year's time. -- changes.
Police in Mexico have discovered the 600 metre tunnel used
discovered -- Korea drugs from Tijuana to San Diego. The tunnel
entrance was close to the headquarters of the federal police
force Bob bash. Still to come, the Afghan women out
of their homes and now working. They are afraid it will all change
if there is a reconciliation with the Taliban.
Let's get all of the business news. I didn't know this, but there are
much fuel made in China labels around.
You wouldn't believe it, but yes, the overheated economy looks like
it is cooling down. The latest figures from China manufacturing
figures show that the economy fell by one. In November. This is a sign
of the Government's's efforts to cool the economy but also a sure
sign that the problems are the Eurozone are filtering through to
China and affecting demand for Chinese goods. Let's listen to what
they had to say. The PMI data we saw today shows the economy is
slowing and slowing fast, so with growth coming off quite
considerably, if you take that in conjunction with calming inflation
under property market that looks like it is correcting significantly
and the disastrous looking efforts in the euro-zone, it means that
policy makers in China are fairly concerned. This comes after the
Chinese central bank announced it is cutting reserve ratios for banks,
basically meaning it is easier for banks to lend money. Talking of
central banks, Mario Draghi is the new head of the European Central
Bank and has been speaking in the European Parliament, I think it was
his first time, any hint as to what he is going to do with the bank and
its policies? He has been talking about what he thinks government
should do. He has said he wants more integration between
governments and wants European economies to work closer together
and warns that the risks to Europe's growth have really grown.
Basically, it is pretty grim reading. Let's listen to what he
had to say. Whatever the approach, companies, markets and the citizens
of Europe expect policy makers to act decisively to resolve the
crisis. It is time to adapt the euro area designed with a set of
institutions, rules and processes that is commensurate with the
He is basically saying they need to work together, European leaders of
the Eurozone economies. There will be a meeting in Brussels in nine
days' time between Eurozone leaders. His words come only a day after the
central bank, the Federal Reserve and the central banks across Europe,
agreed to come together to create more liquidity in the markets. If
we can look at what the markets are doing now, that is what the
We have not got the European markets for you, but they are
stable. This is GMT from BBC World News.
The headlines: Britain pushes for more sanctions against Iran at a
meeting of European foreign ministers. On an historic visit to
Burma, Hillary Clinton says more democratic reform is needed before
full diplomatic ties with the US can be restored.
Women's rights activists in Afghanistan say the international
community is preparing to abandon them in the rush to withdraw troops
from the country. Improving women's rights was one of the major
objectives cited when US-led forces toppled the Taliban ten years ago.
Now campaigners fear that women and their concerns could be sidelined
at the upcoming Bonn conference on the future of Afghanistan.
Fashioning a new future, for themselves and their country. Every
stitch testament to a fragile freedom. Under the Taliban, Afghan
women were trapped at home, uneducated and unemployed. Spalford
Teniers, and they make up half the workforce -- if you spool forward
ten years, they make up half the workforce at this company where
they toil alongside men. Zargona says she is proud to be the
breadwinner for her two younger brothers. But the company's founder
worries about the outlook. If there is reconciliation with the
insurgents. None of the Taliban have come forward to say, I am a
moderate and I believe differently. We are fooling ourselves if we
believe that the Taliban have changed their view or philosophy.
They have not claimed that they have changed and will be different.
There are big plans for this business. The hope is to begin
exporting to the US and Europe, and eventually to create a hundred jobs
here. All of that might be possible in the future if the future is not
shaped by the Taliban. In areas under their control, women are
still voiceless and defenceless. This is Siddiqa, 25 years old. Her
final moments are captured in this footage, which emerged in January.
For the crime of adultery, the Taliban stoned her, then shot her
dead. This woman is another of their targets. She is a prominent
member of parliament who survived a Taliban ambush on her car last year.
This outspoken activist refuses to be silenced, but she fears that
Afghan women could soon be abandoned by the international
community, which promised them so much. They seem to turn their faced
to women's issues and say, we just want to say goodbye and leave
Afghanistan. That could put us more at risk, because we have been
outspoken about what we want. eldest daughter is studying hard.
She wants to be an aerospace engineer. But she and her younger
sister are afraid for themselves and their mother. They want a
future outside Afghanistan. The Tokyo Motor Show is getting
underway at the end of a dismal year for Japan's car industry.
First it was hit by the earthquake. Then floods in Thailand disrupted
its supply chain. Still, Japanese manufacturers remain confident in
their capacity to lead the way to a new generation of cars.
The Tokyo Motor Show is a celebration of Japanese cars. But
this has been a terrible year for the industry. The earthquake, the
tsunami, the floods in Thailand. Nissan is showing off new types of
electric vehicles, putting the technology into his sports car. The
chief executive says more production will leave Japan unless
the high yen can be tamed. That is why we are being very vocal to the
Government to say you should not underestimate what is taking place.
Take action. I do not buy that there is nothing you can do. Look
at what the Swiss have done. They have drawn a line in the sand. The
whole country was a lined on a position, and they made their
position respected. Japan is one of the largest economies. It has a lot
of financial clout. Japan can make it happen if it wants.
challenge for these companies is to ensure that making cars in Japan
remains profitable in the years ahead. Other countries are simply
cheaper. But the future for Japan could lie in the -- becoming more
high-tech. Toyota is pushing ahead with hybrids. The mass
manufacturing of cheap vehicles, Japan struggles to compete, but it
is leading the way in developing the next generation of cars. In the
market, we successfully transformed the conventional engine into their
new type. That activated the industry. So I really hope the
future course is now starting. amount of Blitz can hide the
difficulty faced by manufacturing because of the strong yen. But the
car industry is putting its faith in what made it a world beater -
Japanese ingenuity and innovation. Ask anyone about Hamlet, and they
are likely to answer back with another question - To be or not to
be? Unless, of course, it is a foreign production, in which case
the question will sound completely different. Well, on today's GMT, we
are talking about one such production in German. And it is not
just the sound that is different - its look is also a radical
departure from the Shakespearean standards. In the original, there
are over 20 characters. In this one, directed by Thomas Ostermeier, just
six actors play all the characters. Well, the German Hamlet is now on
tour in Britain and the lead actor, Lars Eidinger, joins me from our
central London studio. I was reading about you, and I gather
there was a time when you thought this play would not transfer very
well to Britain. But you have changed your mind? No, it was more
that we were afraid that people with the English tongue, they don't
want to listen to Shakespeare spoken by German translation by
Germans. That is a good point, because there are purists in
England who say Shakespeare should not be modernised even in the
English language, let alone hearing it in German. It is difficult,
because you lose so much of the meaning. But in a way, it is an
advantage, because people say that even English people sometimes do
not understand the original Shakespeare. So in our performance,
I am sure you will get everything. But it must put an enormous stress
on you as an actor if the audience cannot understand what you are
saying. We are relying entirely on what you are doing with your eyes,
your voice, your hands. But we are very used to play in foreign
countries. Our experience is that people can follow. In the beginning,
it is a bit difficult with the surtitles. But then they get into
it. And they do not read the whole time. The whole performance is very
visual, very physical and very strong. So I think people know how
that already. And this will not be the first time it is playing to an
English audience. You have been in Australia? Yes, and it has been a
big success in Sydney. Wherever we play, people love it with, although
it is always translated. producers tell me that this
particular production is a gritty and sexy. What are you going to get
up to? I take it as a compliment. I think it is something to do with,
how do you say, the physicality. I think it is very passionate. The
way I am interpreting the character, it is very emotional. And yes, of
course, there is a sequence where Hamlet and Horatio are doing the
play, which used originally played by a company. We play it ourselves.
And I am playing my mother and I am half naked. Well! Hopefully, that
will do something for your audience. I wish I had worked out how to say
good luck in German. But the best of luck from us. But I like the
English expression, break a leg. Don't do that!
Serving at night is not usually recommended, but this group of
surfers in Sydney have not let cover of darkness stop them.
Australia's famous Bondi Beach was lit up with colour as the surfers
International news and intelligent analysis going live to the heart of the day's top global story. George Alagiah shares his experience as one of the BBC's most successful foreign correspondents to communicate why world stories matter to a UK and global audience.
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Britain and Germany call for new sanctions against Iran as EU foreign ministers gather to discuss concerns over the Iranian nuclear programme.