Archive for December 4th, 2007


New Iran intelligence, new Iran policy?

 We’re off air now, but you can podcast the programme here.


Hi folks.If you’re in America I’d like to find out exactly where. Also the grammar row started by Katy in Oregon continues, and if you’ve a question about WHYS, now’s the time to ask. That’s all after today’s two talking points.


So Iran isn’t developing nuclear weapons and hasn’t been trying since 2003. According to the Iranians or the IAEA? No, according to American intelligence and that is a serious departure from its previous advice. So, is it time for the West and the UN to get off Iran’s back about its nuclear ambitions (or lack of them)? Or is this evidence that continuous pressure is persuading Iran not to bother with nuclear weapons?

Here’s a summary of the intelligence report.


That’s what Atsu in Accra thinks. He wants to hear from those of you in the West and wants an explanation for what he sees as a bias. Why hasn’t the West praised Chavez for accepting defeat in the recent referendum? Is it criticising Russia’s weekend poll because it wants to undermine Putin? How come it promotes democracy but won’t acknowledge Hamas – the winner of the most recent Palestinian elections?

Is this a fair weather commitment to democracy? Atsu wants some answers.


A colleague asked me the other day how many US states were represented on the show. I’ve got no idea, but I told her I’d ask you. If you’re there, would you mind telling me where you live? Just drop me a line (and Oregonians and Clevelanders, I think I can spare you the trouble).


In the next couple of weeks I’m going to write a new page on the blog which will answer many of the questions we get asked about the show. If there’s something you think should be included on our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ page, please email me asap and I’ll include it – complete with an answer of course.

Speak to you later.


Iran’s nuclear threat?



The opposition Democrats in the United States have called on President Bush to rethink his administration’s policy on Iran, after a new intelligence assessment suggested Tehran is not currently trying to develop nuclear weapons.

The assessment says it is now believed that Iran stopped its weapons programme in 2003. In previous assessments intelligence agencies said Iran was trying to develop a nuclear weapon. 

Iran is currently under sanctions from both the UN Security Council, which is demanding the end of uranium enrichment, and unilateral US sanctions.

The Democrat leader of the US Senate, Harry Reid, said he hoped the White House would undertake “a diplomatic surge” to engage with Iran.

Is he right? Should the west now be engaging with Iran?


On Monday we got an email from Atsu in Ghana who said that the West was only happy with democracy when it brought the result it wanted.

He wrote: “There was been a referendum in Venezuela, a general election in Russia and one a week ago in Australia. Western commentators always talk about how authoritarian Chavez is but he has accepted his defeat. These commentators are glad. On the other hand, Putin and his supporters have won a landslide and the same western commentators are now talking about how undemocratic Russia is.

“My question simply is, do westerners only see free and fair elections when it  puts people they like in power?”

It sounds like a good idea for a debate.


A story that’s been getting a lot of interest in Britain is that of a man who went missing 5 years ago after an apparent canoeing accident off the north east coast of England.

His body was never found but he was declared dead by a coroner’s court, but recently reappeared at a police station in London.

What happens to people when they go missing? Would you like to hear from people who have reappeared again after being missing for years, and also hear from the families of people who have disappeared? 


A struggle by nations to secure sources of clean water will be “potent fuel” for war, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, has said.

He told delegates at the first Asia-Pacific Water Summit that the planet faced a water crisis that was especially troubling for Asia.

We have talked about water being the new oil, perhaps we should return to the subject?


A story that has been getting a great deal of interest on blogs, particularly in the US, concerns Bill Clinton’s statement that he was opposed to the Iraq war “from the beginning”.

His wife and Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary voted as a senator for the war. Is Bill damaging his wife’s hopes of becoming president.


There has been a major battle in eastern Chad, with continuing heavy fighting, a rebel group says. The Rally of Forces for Change says government forces attacked them at dawn 150km north of the town of Abeche. 

We talked about neighbouring Darfur yesterday, perhaps we should try and shine a light today on what is happening in Chad?