Talking points 28 January

Despite welcoming the change of tone in US foreign policy towards Iran, Iran’s president demanded an apology for past US “crimes” committed against Iran.
“Those who speak of change must apologise to the Iranian people and try to repair their past crimes,” Mahmoud Ahmadenajad said.

In his first interview with a foreign media outlet – Al-Arabiya television – President Barack Obama promised to extend the hand of American diplomacy to Tehran if the regime froze its nuclear programme.

And the new UN envoy Susan Rice said that “Vigorous diplomacy with Iran” is a top priority for the  Obama administration. So, Is Iran the key to Middle East peace?

Each for their own
WTO chief  Pascal Lamy said rich countries’ bailouts could harm developing states. Mr Lamy, said that protectionism as a “go-it-alone solution . . . does not work” and that that bailouts ran the risk of putting developing countries at a disadvantage. He  added:

“… look at that from the side of developing countries who, by definition, cannot afford big bailout packages simply because they don’t have the money — let’s not make a system . . . more development-averse.”

His comments came as Lord Mandelson, the British Business Secretary, unveiled a £2.3 billion state support package for beleaguered car manufacturers here in the UK. Lord Mandelson however insisted that this is not a bailout.

Is protectionism doing more harm than good to the global economy, should your country protect its own industries regardless of the effect it will have on international trade?

Why should we respect religion?

A very interesting articleby Johann Hari where he argues the right to criticise religion is diminishing even in the UN where envoys from Muslim countries on numerous occasions have stopped any questioning of practices they said were based on religious beliefs. In his article Johann says:

“You have an absolute right to voice your beliefs – but the price is that I too have a right to respond as I wish. Neither of us can set aside the rules and demand to be protected from offence.”

Is religion being put on a pedestal? Is respecting religion another way of saying don’t talk about what makes others uncomfortable? If so should we respect religion?

And, How much should you be “acknowledged” for your pain?

A government appointed committee has recommended that relatives of those murdered during the Troubles should be paid to acknowledge their pain and loss. The families could receive up to £12,000 for their loss.

The money would also be paid if the victims were themselves murderers, opening up the prospect of the families of active Republican and Loyalist paramilitaries killed ‘in action’ will also receive payments.

Lindy McDowell argues in the Belfast Telegraph that the notion of the compensation is offensive immoral and counterproductive. She says

“The proposal from the Consultative Group on the Past amounts to yet another multi-million pound helping of salt being rubbed into the wounds of the very victims the Group claims it aims to help.”

What do you think? Should victims’ families be paid for their loss?

15 Responses to “Talking points 28 January”

  1. 1 Count Iblis
    January 28, 2009 at 11:53

    I think the nuclear dispute with iran will resolve itself within a year or so. Assuming that Iran is only developing industrial scale enrichment capabilities for yet to be built nuclear powerplants, they will suspend the production of enriched uranium as soon as they reach the appropriate enrichment capacity needed to supply a few nuclear powerplants.

    This may happen in a year from now. Obama can then say he is pleased with this Iranian move. Had McCain won the elections, then at that stage the US would demand the dismantling of the enrichment facility at Natanz; the US rightwingers don’t want Iran to have the capability to produce enriched uranium, even if it is not used to produce nuclear weapons.

  2. 2 Roberto
    January 28, 2009 at 12:42

    RE “”Iran’s president demanded an apology “”

    ———This buffoon owes apologies for giving clowns of the world a bad name.

  3. 3 Jim Newman
    January 28, 2009 at 12:43

    Hello again
    As a general principle I would say that the aggressors should compensate the aggressed. To define the words ‘aggressor and aggressed’ I would say that an aggressor is a country that attacks another country with the intent of imposing it’s will on the population of that country. An aggressed is a country whose population is attacked and is forced to defend itself within it’s own borders.
    PS. to you WHYS I think you should try to overcome your prejudice
    because prejudice is the root cause of racism and I understood from reading your rules that you are against racism.

  4. January 28, 2009 at 13:44

    I am very afraid to see that,what the Iranian president is talking about.
    He is on behalf of Iranian people is demanding for apology from the president of the United States regarding the crimes committed in past.

    Now the quaestion is that who committed the crimes,who is responsible for that,last not responsible for the mistakes made by previous.That is the principle.What is saying Iran,voilating the principle,shouldn’t say.

    Brack Obama, newly elected president of the United States has taken a admireable step in regard to the peace in the Middle East and restoration of good relations with Iran,he extended hand to ward Iran,

    Iran must hold the hand with good gesture and take the seat around the negotiation table solve probles with the crucial help of Obama leadership.
    It is golden chance for limited period

  5. January 28, 2009 at 14:38

    Iran should first apologize to the United States for the 52 American hostages it took after the Islamic Revolution in 1979, before it asks the US to apologize for the economic sanctions it has successively imposed on it.

    If Iran seeks good relations with the US both should work to build trust between them. Continuing diplomatic conflict will delay the resolutions of many problems affecting the region, especially the conflicts between Israel and Hamas on one hand and Israel and Hezbollah on the other.

  6. January 28, 2009 at 15:24

    HI Sultan Ahmad
    We won’t get an apology and US won’t withdraw its forces from the region.
    Tehran can help solve the Afghan problem. Tehran can help in Iraq but there are so many obstacles in reviving Iran, US ties. Washington has resorted to dialogue in order to use Iran as a stepping stone. The rift between the two sides is simply too great.
    We are neither Jews nor Arabs in Iran but we have developed a policy of cooperation with Arabs and a total blackout of Israel. It has worked because the littoral states of the Persian Gulf have enjoyed lucrative trade with Iran and Israel has alienated the little support it had in this country.
    What does America want in Iran which it can’t readily get through its partners in Europe or Asia who have good ties with Tehran?
    Iran’s nuclear program is getting help from Russia and there is no threat to our neighbours or anyone else. Iran’s ties with Venezuela, Bolivia or Nicaragua is our own affair. We don’t dictate what Washington should to in Nafta, why should anyone dictate to us!

  7. January 28, 2009 at 15:52

    For the good of the people of Iran…..The President of Iran should thank Former President George Bush for not giving the Israels the bunker buster bombs that they requested for a raid on Iran.

    He, the leadership of Iran should apologise to the world for the taking, and holding the American Hostages back in the late 70s. It is true that after the end of WW II the Americans were worried about the movement of Communism and did things, in an unfair world that contributed to further unfairness, even against Iran who they knew little about. The struggles of the past are gone.

    America was hit by Arab people in an unfair manner and caused great problems that all in the Middle East are now weathering, and trying to deal with.

    The new American President is actually extending an open hand of reason, and maybe even the faint offer of future friendship…….It is a beginning and we dearly appreciate the effort. Therefore we wish for the good of our Persian citizens….wish to unclinch our fists, and greet the American people and leader with our traditional hospitality….This all could be good for the mutual benefit of our nations, and the children of our respective cultures.

    With our most sincere best wishes….the Iranians

    That is what we the humble citizens and little people of America would appreciate from our leaders and the leaders of both the Persians and the Arab cultures.

    troop on the Oregon coast

  8. January 28, 2009 at 16:03

    Hi Abdelilah Boukili
    You say apologize for 444 incarceration of 52 US diplomats! Iran lost 300,000 – 400,000 youngsters in the Eight Year War with Iraq, with double those numbers mutilated.
    Coalition Forces in Iraq have flung hundreds of Iranian pilgrims in jail. I don’t see any apology coming.
    We have an investment in Afghanistan and looking after it. We believe in peace and security in Afghanistan but won’t get it while NATO, US and EU forces are on the ground.
    Some 60 percent of the population in Iraq are Shiites. They have a vested interest in the Bazaar, the professions and government. Shiite clerics are influential in Najaf and Karbalah. We want, they want, Kurds and Sunnis want peace, stability and security in Iraq.

  9. 9 EMELE UKAH....... nigeria.
    January 28, 2009 at 16:32

    Iran should welcome U.S new approach to the Middle-East question.
    BARACK OBAMA represent change.

  10. January 28, 2009 at 17:35

    President Obama must show that he can curb excesses anywhere, by anyone in the world.
    Bad timing. Recession, Gaza atrocities and Iranian Administration submitted its Annual Budget proposals to Parliament on Tuesday.

  11. 11 osuagwu charles
    January 29, 2009 at 08:30

    What is wrong in the USA having a special relationship with Israel ? Iran is known to have special relationships in the middle east and has imposed her ideologies through her proxies in lebanon and the palestinan territories. Ahmedinijad should focus on how to mend fences with the USA and the west taking advantade of the golden opportunity offered by the Obama administration.

  12. January 29, 2009 at 11:34

    It is good action being taken by the Obama Administartion,letter is prepared in which United States’s new Administration has expressed its willingness toward a good relations between two countries.

    Long has passed,due to strained realtions,Iran and The United States has been facing war and ecnomoc setback,
    people of both countries want peace not confrontation.

    What is the real meaning of enclinch the fist has been understaood wrongly,in fact,offer of negotiation to Iranian president on behalf of new Administration is based on sincerity and good gesture and espaecially for peace in the region, it must be pre-condition.

    As for as demands made by the Iranian president,
    such appology regarding the crimes committed by America toward Iran,
    returing of armed forces from Iraq,
    disputed nuclear iranian program,
    and ecnomic sanctions against Iran,
    all are subject to table talke should left on expected meeting,president Obama has moved toward with a good sense,and indispensable for Iranian leader ship moved forward more than Obama.

    It will be better for peace,people,and the region.

  13. January 29, 2009 at 17:41

    IS IRAN THE KEY TO MIDDLE EAST PEACE? Yes, Iran is the key to the Middle East peace process….

    INTERNATIONAL TRADE: I think that protected ‘your’ country own markets is not always the best thing…But, in reality this could be the best thing to revive the economic viality in a country…

    WHY SHOULD WE RESPECT RELIGION? Yes, I think that religion is the glue that binds the world together….

    1) I think that I am sorry for the losses of people who have been victims of attacks….No, people should not be given money for their losses…

    ~Dennis Junior~

  14. 14 Emile Barre
    January 31, 2009 at 14:59

    Apologies like oil spring eternal.

  15. 15 Haris
    February 3, 2009 at 01:25

    As I remember; the Iranians (in frustration) took the US hostages “AFTER” the US government refused to return some US $80 million or was it US $80 billion dollars to the new Khomeni Iranian government. This money was invested in US banks by the Shah.

    As I recall The US government saw fit to confiscate Iranian funds which was used to offset the losses US banks incurred when Argentina declared itself bankrupt. The Rockerfeller Family and Chase Manhattan bank were primarily involved.

    I would like to know if the money is still unpaid,(I bet it is).

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