17/06/2013 Newsnight


Why can't G8 leaders agree on Syria? Is the civil war spreading? Can anyone do anything about online porn? And the new Iranian president. With Jeremy Paxman.

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They are never knowingly undersold the leaders of the G8 nations, not


least by themselves, but they show no sign of being able to agree what


to do about the civil war destroying Syria.


Why can they agree on trade but not mass killing?


We're at the summit. differences between them are


profound and abrasive. And the signs are they may be getting even


deeper. Is the war spreading into


neighbouring countries. We report from Lebanon. If it conditions like


this we are going in a war of 100 years. Between who?Between Sunni


and Shi'ite. The Internet can bring pornography into every home,


everyone condemns its accessability, why are we so unable to control it?


Are there any limits to the They may between them represent


countries worth half the total world economy, but they can't agree


on what to do about the civil war in Syria. President Obama has


already said the United States will give weapons to some of the rebels.


President Putin says that is giving guns to cannibals, yet his country


arms the Assad regime, and President Assad himself said arming


the rebels would promote interflal terrorism. It is a divide


reminiscent of the Cold War, and there seems no chance of agreement.


Our correspondent is there. You know the drill with these


summits, the idea is you bring world statesmen to a remote spot


and have a very informal discussion. They even stop wearing their ties.


Now the British, who are chairing this meeting wanted this obviously


to focus on economic issues, the three Ts of their presidency, trade,


taxes and transparency. They also knew in the run up to the summit


that there was a big desire to talk about Syria and try to do something


to keep alive this idea that there might be a peace conference. The


called Geneva 2 conference. But they also knew that the different


people, the key players coming here today were moving further apart on


the issues at the very time that they were converging on Enniskillen.


The circus has come to town. G8 leaders arriving in this corner of


Northern Ireland, along with their political trick cyclist, spinners


and even the odd clown. And in Enniskillen there are honours as


well as responsibilities that fall to the ring master.


Greeting President Obama is one of those more pleasant duties. The two


leaders visited a school and talked about the overcoming of the dark


days of the troubles. They announced the launch of trade talks


between the EU and the US. whole point of the meeting here is


to fire up our economies and drive growth and prosperity around the


world. To do things that make a real difference to people's lives.


There is no more powerful way to achieve that than by boosting trade.


But there have been less pleasant duties too. Mr Cameron welcomed


President Putin at Downing Street yesterday for talks aimed at


bridging their differences over Syria. Or at least giving some


fresh impetuous for talks. It is no secret that President Putin and I


have had our disagreements on some of these issues. TRANSLATION:


regards the supplies of weapons to the Assad Government and as regards


to who has the blood of the children and peaceful citizens of


Syria, I believe you will not deny that the blood is on the hands of


both parties, both of the parties. Instead, they ended up trading


accusations publicly about fuelling the conflict. My heart sank when I


heard those words about blood on their hands being requoted back at


the Prime Minister. Because I remember him using those words at


the United Nations General Assembly and at the time I simply didn't


understand why he was choosing to condemn the Russians rather than


talk to the Russians. Because what we have seen in the months since


that speech by the Prime Minister is a growing recognition that if we


are going to see a negotiated political settlement in Syria it


has to inevitably involve the Russians. The Syrian war was


discussed over dinner this evening. Downing Street didn't want it to


overshadow the economic issues here. But after the last 24 hours, that


was hard. Mr Cameron found himself defending even the possibility of


arming the Syrian opposition. believe it is right to be helping,


assisting, advising those elements in Syria that want a free,


democratic and peculiaristic Syria for the future. We shouldn't accept


what President Assad wants us to accept, which is the only


alternative to him is extremist terrorism, that is not the case.


That is insulting to the millions of Syrians who want a peaceful and


democratic future for their country. There were hopes the summit would


bring the parties closer together in trying to organise a Syrian


peace conference in Geneva. But the differences that have been exposed


are so wide, from America arming the opposition, to Russia the Assad


regime, and other countries like Germany being opposed to all


military supplies into the area, that now there is a very real


danger that this may become the summit at which it was realised it


was impossible for the Geneva talks to go ahead. In this placid nobody


will want to -- place nobody will want to concede a failure of that


kind. This is a moment of grave danger for Syria and the future.


There is a degree of ambiguity in terms of the careful public words


that have emerged from the White House in the run-up to the G8


meeting. That is why there is a heavy burden of responsibility upon


the leaders gathered around the table in Enniskillen this evening,


to try to find common ground. And to try to brot life into the


process. --To breathe life into the process. This circus will


tomorrow ask its stars for a remember voermance, it will tackle


the question of tax dodging by big business, something they ought to


be able to pull in the same direction. If they can do that,


there should be some credit left for the ring master who brought


them here. Brook Newmark is a Conservative MP


who has visited Syria on many occasions and supports supply of


weapons to the rebels. And my other guest is against the supply of


weapons. What possible business is it of ours'? There is a strategic


interest, we have heard earlier on this is an explosion not an


implosion, it is affecting Lebanon, Iraq and neighbouring countries.


The second thing is the humanitarian issue. We are seeing a


regime going around butchering its own people to stay in power.


Clearly it is our business then? it is not, it would be madness to


arm the rebels. The whole host of reason, including the fact that you


put more weapons into the civil war you will add to the casualties and


the suffering. How do you track and trace the weapons in a very fluid


situation on the ground, how do you stop these weapons falling into the


hands of extremists. Can you answer that? I can, I think there are


probably about 100,000 Free Syrian Army members, there is about 5,000


Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic extremists. The reason why people


are flaknig away from the FSA to the Islamists is because they are


better armed. The FSA if they are better armed aren't going to be


handing over weapons, frankly, to the Islamic extremists. What do you


make of that argument? Our track record of arming groups in this


region has not been good, whether the mujahideen in the 1980s or


Saddam Hussein when he attacked Iran. Jabhat al-Nusra is linked to


qaed, we would be throwing arms into -- Al-Qaeda, and we would be


throwing arms into that situation. You can't say we are not going to


support the legitimate majority in Syria by saying we are throwing


weapons in there. Not only would it inflate violence within Syria, but


there is a real danger because Syria is a proxy war, Sunni versus


Shia, Iran versus Saudi Arabia, the west versus Russian, the more


weapons you put into that conflict the more you extend it beyond the


boundaries. So we watch the tragedy unfold? No do something much more,


two things, push the humanitarian aid. You go to visit the camps in


Jordan, they are in desperate need of basic amenities. Secondly, on


the diplomatic front, why not more there. For example why is the west


excluding Iran from Geneva 2. Iran is a major player in the area and


we are saying you can't turn up, despite the fact they are a key


player in the area. Geneva 2 being the peace conference? At the end of


the month, organised by the Russians and we are excluding the


Iranians, it doesn't make sense. If you are serious about diplomacy.


You like the Iranians at the table too? Yes, otherwise there will be a


spoiler at the end of the day. You can't have an overall peace without


all the key players being there. But I just want to go back to


John's point that if we do nothing, and doing nothing is not an option,


this will go on. Why isn't it an option? Because this war


unfortunately will go on for a decade or more as we saw in Lebanon.


The only way to bring Assad to the negotiating table at Geneva 2 is to


raise the ante effectively by legitimate arming of the troops.


Our track record of promoting democracy through intervention is


abysmally poor. Look at where democracy is flourishing in North


Africa, we have been hardly involved. Look at our involvement,


we have paid a heavy price in Iraq and Afghanistan, in lives and


treasure. There wasn't a civil war in Iraq before we went in there.


Our track record is very poor, we have to be very careful. Is there


an extent to which in any decision like this Tony Blair poisoned the


well? To a certain extent he did. There is no doubt about it, we went


to war in Iraq on a false premise, there were no WMD. At the same time


we have to still look at each case individually, but our track record,


generally, if you look at history, we have got involved in the west in


a number of conflicts around the world, and it has an embeding


affect, it reinforces the existing regime. There is no co-indense that


communism survived longer where the west intervened, China, Korea, we


have to learn that soft power, diplomacy and humanitarian aid,


particularly when it comes to Syria. For two-and-a-half years we have


been pursuing that. I have been a big supporter of the diplomatic


track. I very much believe in engagment. Why is Iran being


excluded? You and I are agreed on that. He has said that.I have said


that unfortunately soft power has failed for two years by the UN. I


believe that the only way and following Qusair, the recent battle


with Hezbollah support, Assad captured a strategic town that


Assad thinks he can win. While he thinks he can win he will not come


to the negotiating table. I'm saying unless we arm the opposition


as a means to bringing Bashar al- Assad and the regime to the


negotiating table, this war will go on and he will destroy his people


into the ground. It beggers belief the view that you can pour more


arms into a civil war and it won't cause more casualties and suffering,


it will, I promise you. outcomes are bad f we do nothing


there will still be loss of life. You and I agree there is more to be


done on the diplomatic and had you tantarian front. Can I --


Humanitarian front. Can I ask you, if we were to supply weapons to


either side would it require a vote of parliament in favour?


understanding is both the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister


have given a commitment for a full debate. Whether there will be a


vote? Should it require? I can answer that question, we have


pressed the Prime Minister and the Leader of the House on this, we had


a categorical answer, whether on the policy of arming the rebels or


providing lethal aid to the weapons, it is not just a debate it is a


full vote of the House of Commons. Thank you very much indeed. No-one


is talking about sending troops into Syria. Not publicly at least,


and not yet at least. There is one country with forces there, though


they are not Government forces. Fighters from Hezbollah, the Shia


state within a state in neighbouring Lebanon make no secret


of their involvement, which race raise -- raises the question of how


much longer will this be a civil war. We have been to Lebanon to


find out why it is turning into a wider sectarian conflict between


Shia and Sunni Muslims. The road to war in Syria runs at


Lebanon's valley. To the east the hills that mark the border. It is a


road built by Iran and that's no surprise. The valley is a vital


corridor for the alliance between Iran, Syria and Lebanon's Hezbollah


militia. Now that alliance is dragging Lebanon itself into the


war. This valley has long been a channel for smuggling arms into


Syria, now it is becoming a battlefield itself. In the town of


Hemel, they are still putting out the fire from a rocket attack. The


local headman said it came from inside Lebanon. He's from haez, and


he believes it is a re-- Hezbollah, and he believes it is a reprisal


from the Hezbollah allies for the support he has been giving to


Assad's forces. TRANSLATION: They have suffered a big loss in Syria,


they are frustrated, so they are attacking border villages that help


the Syrian army. They don't understand who they are dealing


with. We have gone through many wars, and God willing, we will win.


Young Hezbollah fighters who have died in Syria are celebrated all


along the valley. Among them is this man, aged 24. He grew up in


this house and was training to be a medical technician. Now, in his


family's eyes, he's a martyr. TRANSLATION: We were very, very


proud of him, everyone thought well of him, his friends, his teachers,


they all said his behaviour was exemplary. It was the same at home.


Especially with me. The battle of Qusair in which Mohammed died,


pitted the Syrian regime and Hezbollah against rebels, who


Hezbollah refer to as religious extremists. The confrontation was


face-to-face. There were only five metres between him and the


religious extremists. Of course with machine guns and everything,


that is how our son was hit, with bullets and martyred. Martyrdom is


nothing new for Hezbollah in the valley. The mausoleum of the


militia's former leader, dominates the nearby village. He was killed


by Israel in 1992. But it is harder to explain why Hezbollah members


are now being martyred in a fight with gel low Arabs in Syria.


Hezbollah has been revered throughout the Arab world for its


resistance to Israel. Now it risks losing that prestige with its open


military support for President Assad's regime in Syria. A


complicated pattern of reasons hides behind that gamble. Without


Assad, Hezbollah's military supplies from Iran would be


disrupted. It fears too the forces that would replace him. Hezbollah


is a Shi'ite organisation, its supporters don't see the Syrian


rebels as freedom fighters. They see them as Sunni zealots, who


won't accept other forms of Islam. Religious extremists. To Mo Hampson


med's family, the threat of religious extremists after the fall


of the dictatorship feels very real. TRANSLATION: We have seen what they


have done in Iraq, the daily bombings. The United States came to


Iraq in 2003 to install a democratic system. What we saw were


regular Al-Qaeda attacks with 200 killed. They believe Mohammed died


to protect them, because a rebel victory in Qusair would have put


religious extremists uncomfortably close to Lebanon. TRANSLATION:


martyr Mohammed was not desperate to die, he was engaged to be


married, he was building himself a house. He loved life. He went to


fight because he knew these Muslim extremists would come one day to


his house, his family and his friends, and slaughter them as they


did in Qusair. Echoing across the roof tops of Lebanon you can hear


the ever-harsher sound of sectarian division from the other side too.


This is Tripoli, a largely Sunni city on the coast. And the Imam at


Friday prayers is demanding action to help the rebels of Syria.


He tells worshipsers it means standing up to Shi'ite hatred,


Shi'ite terrorism, Shi'ite extremism. Listening as a young man


this man, who has just returned from fighting with the rebels in


Qusair. And there is plenty more here who will fight if they get a


direct call. In Islam there is no borders. There is no borders, there


is belief. There is belief. It is a brotherhood, it is a network. That


network whether you are in Chechnya, Somalia, or in Syria, or in Tripoli,


or next door, it is all the same. And these young kids the older ones


they are all in it. For them the rebellion is driven not by violent


extremism, which they denounce, but by moral outrage. TRANSLATION:


can I say about an oppressive regime that kills women, children


and defenceless people who are only getting more weapons now? But in


Qusair he was fighting, not only Syrian troops, but also Iranians


and fellow Lebanese from Hezbollah. TRANSLATION: We caught many of them


and killed them after interrogating them. We killed them with their IDs


on, carrying their key to heaven. Fluttering above the black flag of


Jihad marks the building with his father lives and holds court. He's


one of the leaders in Lebanon of the strict and fast-growing Salafi


school of laem. He has called unambiguously for the young Lebanon


fighters to go with the Syrian rebels. If they lose it would be a


catastrophe for the Sunni, the beginning of a Shi'ite power grab


in the Middle East. TRANSLATION: Othello move on to besiege Saudi


Arabia and other countries in the gulf. To control the sacred places


and the riches of that region. To rule the Islamic world if they can


and become a world superpower. Tripoli, Lebanon's second-largest


city has for years seen sporadic violence between Sunnis and


Alawites locally, the sect that President Assad belongs to. Now the


Lebanese army has stopped the fighting. But nobody knows for how


long. As the civil war in Syria becomes ever more sectarian, it is


deepening the old Sunni-Shia divide, right across the Middle East. And


many fear that Lebanon, this most fragile of states, will crack under


the strain. In the Sunni districts of Tripoli,


as elsewhere across the Arab world, Hezbollah, which means the party of


God, is now referred to as the party of Satan. Its leader, made


efforts at a rally last week to calm sectarian passions in Lebanon.


His party needs stability on its home ground. But Hezbollah will


fight on in Syria. TRANSLATION: They are in a very new situation in


the Middle East. We didn't see the situation from many hundred years.


If it continues like this we are going noo a war of 100 years. --


into a war of 100 years. Between who? Between Sunni and Shia in this


region. This man is planning to return to Syria when the schrapnal


wounds have healed. TRANSLATION: God willing I will go back and


fight and win or when God takes me to him. Mohammed's sister believes


Shi'ites are being targeted just as the Prophet Mohammed's grandson,


one of the Shi'ite's great leaders, was in the 7th century AD. The way


that Imam Hussein, is the same way the Syrians are trying to kill us.


All this happened 1300 years ago, but really the same thing is


happening now? Yes. The same story is renewed. As the war spills over


into eastern Lebanon, many on both sides in the region now think they


are in a battle for survival. And outside powers are doing little to


dampen their fears. Now the Culture Secretary Maria Miller gets to


spend part of tomorrow contemplating pornography. The


Prime Minister has already pleaded with internet companies to do more


to protect children and Google has taken a little money out of its


petty cash to help. 20 years ago no-one imagined it


would become so common place and no-one now knows how to protect


people from pornography's more malign influences.


We report. There is a constant barrage of


sexually explicit texts and links, and e-mails that are coming from


their peer groups or friends. There is a consistent barrage of porn


that they are exposed to on a daily basis. Chloe spent years as a


secondary school teacher. She was shocked when she saw what some of


her pupils were watching on-line. There were depictions of grand rape,


multiple penetration, slapping, hitting, spitting, choking. I'm not


for a moment saying all boys are watching this, certainly some are.


And the general consensus was that they kind of thought it was funny.


Or possibly they thought it was a bit worrying. But I do think that


possibly I think with anything the more you see something the more you


are exposed to something the more it is normalised. It is something


that troubled every parent, including the Prime Minister, with


so much pornography available on the Internet. So few controls, it


is possible even for quite young children to stumble upon explicit


material. This isn't new, last year the provider TalkTalk promised


every customer would have parental controls if they wanted them.


Search engines and browsers too offer safe settings. They restrict


sites, often using key words, that could be a problem too. Sometimes


they block too much. If you were to take Google Safe Search as an


example, and search for the word "hardcore". Which is quite extreme


term but applies to music as well? It is extreme example to prove a


point and millions of websites are blocked on the entire internet.


Paul Walsh, an entrepeneur based in the US has developed what he calls


a more sophisticated alternative, it doesn't block innocent sites.


What is wrong with the parental controls at the moment? They are


complicated to implement, they block too many normal websites.


They have kids saying I want to access this website because it is


blocked. It turns out to be a perfectly innocent website. Parents


have to manually add every single safe website that is secure to the


parental controls. It is just complicated and they block way too


many innocent websites. They get tired of that. In recent days


ministers have raised this issue. The summit was originally called to


discuss images of child abuse on- line. When a child is sexually


abused, it affects them for life. According to the Internet watch


foundation, the number of images of child abuse is growing fast. It is


estimated there could be hundred of millions of images in circulation


now, most of young children. Ministers have been writing in


newspapers and making speeches, which seemed to me to be conflating


too quite distinct issues, one is what do we do about the amount of


apparently legal, adult pornography available on the Internet that


children can get access to. A big and serious problem. With what we


do about child abuse images which are illegal. The quantities we are


now talking about are gigantic. We have to focus on that. That is the


really pressing problem. It would be a huge shame if ministers' time


are taken up with these other admittedly important, but nothing


like as important as they are in relation to child abuse images.


Tonight the Prime Minister's adviser on childhood and


pornography said firms could be asked to pay more to strengthen the


foundation, to make it a really well-funded and robust group. And


she said she was confident the four biggest internet service providers


would implement a filter system to prestrict access for children by


the end of the year. To discuss what changes should be


made to on-line access we have Lizzie Patch whose 11-year-old son


watched porn on his phone, an incident that left him traumatised,


a researcher from the London School of economics, and the editor of PC


Pro magazine. How serious a problem do you judge this to be? I think


that it is a serious problem. I think it is a very complex problem


as well. Go on?In that my son he watched what he watched on the


phone because what it boiled down to an element of peer pressure, he


wanted to fit in, he was told if he watched the video which was pretty


readily available, he would be cool. It was funny. And having just gone


up from primary school into secondary school he wanted to be


seen to be fitting in with the cool boys. He was 11 years old. And he


watched something that really distressed him? Yes it did. It did


distress him. Yes. How do you protect children from that sort of


thing? I think there are things we can do. One of the things I think


is really important to stress from the start is the difference between


what's illegal and what is legal. What is illegal offline is also


illegal on-line and as your report made clear you know there are


protections in place, but they are not working effectively enough at


the moment. So we need to strengthen and ensure that those


are better enforced. It is not just about what is legal and illegal, it


is what b what is appropriate or inappropriate, what you and I might


watch is not suitable for an 11- year-old in many cases? So we


should absolutely deal with the illegal. But that is already


illegal? We don't need a new law if it is already illegal do we? What


is legal for adult circulation, but judged harmful for children, well


it could be judged that's, it is clearly inappropriate, so we need


some protections. I think where the anxiety comes into play is deciding


to treat the material harmful to children with the same kind of


enforcement as that which is illegal. Why are the Internet


companies involved so pathetic about this? I think pathetic is


harsh. I think they are reluctant to get involved because it boils


down to censorship. Yes it does. Somebody has to make a decision


about what is acceptable for young children and what is not. At some


point either side of that line will create a media storm. Why would it


not be possible, for example, for the default settings in all areas


of the internet to be at the parental control level instead of


you having to switch on the parental control? It is where do


you start drawing the line. The Internet companies have not only


filters for pornography but violent sites, for religious sites, hatred


sites. Where does the BNP fit into that, for example. There is a whole


host of debatable grey areas where companies are going to start to


provide censorship, and should that be the default setting? I would


argue not? You would say that all of this should be available, to


anyone of any age? I would say internet filters should be


available to parent should they choose to use them. I'm reluctant


to see a default censorship. They are not deprived if there is that


setting they have to reset that themselves? Then you have to go to


an ISP and say I would like to see this, there is a psychological


barrier there. There is all kinds of issues involved with free speech


that having an internet censored by default brings. Would you like the


default setting be parental controls? As I said at the


beginning I actually think it is a much more complex situation than


that. I think because I'm parent who has had this experience people


have made an assumption that I would probably want to look it all


and switch the Internet off and kill everyone involved. I don't. I


think it is. That is a relief.I think it is a value judgment. And


it is a difficult value judgment to make. Parental controls are


available. And they are on our home computers and smartphones. But


beyond that I think that you know children, young people they leave


the house. They go to their friends' houses, they meet down


town, my son said himself having been told about this site had he


not seen it where he did, he would have gone somewhere else. It is


available. So from my point of view it is about talking to young people.


It is about education and it is about giving the vocabulary to deal


with it. You are not in favour of any restrictions further than what


we have based on the availability of it? I'm in favour of


restrictions of violent and abusive content and child porn, of course.


I don't imagine many people aren't in favour of that. But beyond that


I think it is tricky, I think we have to start talking to our young


people about what they are seeing. I would agree that there should be


a lot more conversations between parents and children. I would also


say teachers and children. We could do a better job, I think with sex


education in introducing questions about internet and technology as


part of that conversation that doesn't happen. I don't think there


are many children who feel at the moment that is being dealt with


very well at school. And sex education sometimes is a bit of a


joke. Some how recognising what those problems are, talking to


children about where they might come across, where they get their


ideas about sex from, where they see what the possibilities are. We


are worried about what those pressures on them are. We are


worried about the peer pressures, but they could be more


interventions. Many parents find it difficult enough just having the


conversation about the birds and the bees leave alone a conversation


about pornography. But that's pretty tricky stuff for a lot of


people? I think the conversation they could have would be about well


more about perhaps children learning to feel confident about


what they think about their bodies and what they think could happen to


their bodies. More about respect. More about what those situations


are when they feel pressured by others. What happens in that peer


culture. They don't have to necessarily say have you seen this,


let's talk about what this means. But they could find ways of


approaching so that they at least show their children they understand


that they are open to those conversations that they understand


the technology as well. What will come out, you would guess from this


meeting tomorrow with Maria Miller and various companies in this


field? I would guess tomorrow they are going to agree to do what they


have been agreeing to do for a long time, which is to provide internet


filters to customers on an active choice basis, where you say you


want them or you don't. The Government have been pushing very


hard for this to be turned on by default. But the problem is it


lulls parents into a false sense of security in many instances. The


TalkTalk filters were appalling, we tested them last year, you could go


on for a basic Google search for pornographic images and they flew


straight out. There is a danger with the default and the parents


thinking that is a safe internet connection. Often they are not.


are very much of the same point of view the only way to deal with this


omnipresent phenomenon in our lives is for people to accept it is there


and to some how encourage everyone to filter? That is not the only


solution at all. The education and the parenting is absolutely part of


the story. A lot more could be done with filters. The education itself


is an acknowledgement that it is omnipresent? If you think about how


we have dealt in society with pornography in the last decades, we


have had a number of solution, we have thought it partly something


that, sex education could be dealt with atle school. We do think of it


as parenting problem. We also have found ways of restricting


children's access. So I would disagree about the question of what


the filters should do. Not because I think they are working brilliant


low, but I think they could be made to work much better. I don't


actually think it would be dreadful to have them switched on


automatically as long as people were told how clearly to turn them


off. If there wasn't a child in the house and if that was an easy thing


to do. The problem, so I think you know it is making those filters


better, making parents have confidence and trust in them, which


they absolutely don't have at the moment. Then maybe some kind of


independent oversight. I think your test was interesting. What we


haven't really got at the moment is a trusted body that would do the


kind of testing that would say OK this filter works, this works for


violence but not pornography, these are the kinds of errors that get


made, do you trust them. What do you want to decide.


The new low- elected President of Iran was sounding more positive


about relations between his country and the west than we have heard a


senior figure in that country begged today. He said he wants a


more positive relationship for his country with the rest of the world.


Liberal and Conservative, they are relative terms, but could his


victory in the elections open the door a chink at least, earlier he


gave his first press conference, suggesting he wanted to be more


open with the west. TRANSLATION: I said earlier, the Government


wants to resolve all the problems that we have issues with, but only


the ones we recognise. It needs to be with mutual respect for Iranian


rights and bilateral interests. We should be able to solve problems


with logic and moderation, the British Government is not excluded


from this general principle. Now we have my guests. Rana Rahimpour and


Nazenin Ansari. How much of a change do you think


we are likely to see then? I think you will see changes of form,


definitely, in the beginning. Also content in the sense that you will


see more of a change perhaps Hassan Rohani will come to Europe, travel.


There is definitely a sense of welcoming all over, not only in


Iran, but also elsewhere, a sense of hope. That there has been a


change, a change of attitude, a change of behaviour. Whether that


will translate into policies, that remains to be seen. Are you simply


waiting and seeing? I think I am quite positive, because we are, the


mood in Iran is quite positive, people are very hopeful, contrary


to how they felt in the last four years. The treatment of the


Government has changed drastically, people were aed load to celebrate


on the streets and -- allowed to celebrate on the streets and at


times chant slogans asking for the release of political prisoners.


This was very interesting, what little one saw from far away. The


last elections we had demonstrations and police and the


whole mood of Iran seems different? It is a huge surprise, even to


Hassan Rohani himself, he wasn't expecting to win, at least in the


first round. We still don't understand why. There are different


reasons. It might be because I think the Supreme Leader was


affected huge low by what's happened in 2009. I think it was


damaging for the regime and since then the Arab Spring has happened,


the situation in Turkey and in Syria, he might have got the


feeling that he needs to ease the situation very slightly though for


the opposition. So he probably won't see the situation that is


happening in Turkey. What sort of a bloke is he? From what we know of


Hassan Rohani, he went robes at 12 years old, a cleric all his life.


He was the man who was in charge of the army, he served in the


parliament but he has been the representative of Mr Khamenei on


the supreme National Security Council. He was in charge of the


Supreme National Security Council when actually the order was given


to attack the student opposition. And at Glasgow Caledonian


University as well? That happened when Mr Jack Straw was Foreign


Minister. You make it sound like it was a sin? The entire mood at that


time was different. There was the constructed engagment with Iran, Mr


Straw went to Iran so many times. He speaks English with a slight gas


weej accent? He should, he has a P -- Glaswegian accent?He should, he


has a HHD. He under--A PhD. understood the questions today in


English, so it shows he understands England. The key decisions are not


in the hands of the President, all the things like the nuclear


programme and things that cause difficulty there? They are not, but


now they are in the bar againing position, he has the backing of 50%


of the Iranian population. He's the most powerful elected politician in


the country. Unlike the Supreme Leader. He is in a position that he


might be able to convince the Supreme Leader to change the course


of Iranian foreign policy. Will he be that influential? Well you know


once again we have to be realistic, we didn't have a free and fair


election. We have a rule by divine right. But at the same time he was


the man when Iran signed the additional protocol. He has to


deliver, he's the man who signed it, he's the man who basically


throughout in the past actually the election time he was bragging this


and that, that Iran was able to reach an engagment understanding


with the west. So under his rule it has to. You have already given us


that journalist cop-out only time will tell. And only time will tell.


But how will we judge whether he is a really new broom? In the first


instance I think what the people expect is a, number one, the least


he can do is release the political prisoners specifically Mr Mousa Mr


Karubi and others that is the least he can do. I think that is a great


expectation. It is not the least. It is a lot to ask him to do,


especially at this stage. He always said he is a moderate. I know the


reason he became the President was because of the support of the


opposition and the reformists. I know they want him to do this. But


as he said today in the press conference, he needs time. He needs


to get the other branches of power with long-term point of vow, it is


a judiciary that is independent from his Government. I think we


need to be realistic. There is hope and there is a chance of change.


But to expect him to be able to release political prisoners


overnight. I think the guy is still surprised he's the President.


him a few nights, maybe. Thank you both very much.


That's it, the deep space telescope was switched off today by the


European Space Agency, it is drifting aimlessly about a million-


and-a-quarter miles away in space. The condition is called being


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