Talking Points: 9 April 2009

_45189108_iranstudents_ap226The US, Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain have said they want talks with Iran. But is it worth it? Some bloggers are worried that the West is too soft on Iran.  But is it? If the world powers don’t take a harder stance do they risk getting taken for granted?

There’s also an interesting article by the New York Time’s Roger Cohen which questions whether attitudes towards Iran need to change. Check it out here.

So who is actually afraid of Iran? Does it really pose a threat to world order? Or do some countries just misunderstand it?

We’ve talked about this story a lot in our meetings – as you’ve bee contacting us about it – decline of local papers.  Here in the UK,  and in the US, newspapers have been laying off journalists, ending their printed distribution and even closing down all together. If you want to know more, this is a very useful site which is tracking job losses and buy outs in the US.

But have the newspapers bought it all on themselves? This week, the boss of the internet giant ‘Google’ urged newspapers to rethink their tactics.  This blogger agrees, blaming the newspaper bosses for lack of innovation.

Is your local paper struggling to cope? Is it outdated and boring or do you enjoy your fix of local news? Is the only way for papers to survive for them to go  online?

There seems to be hundreds of examples of this happening in the UK and USA, but we really want to hear from all of you.  How do you access the news in your country? Is it getting harder to access reliable local news? Or perhaps your paper’s doing well at the moment. Give us your thoughts below.

One final story which has caught my eye was this tale of Italy’s ‘Lap dancing nun’.  And we know you like it as well because it’s the most read story on the bbc news site. But is she being inappropriate?

Yesterday, Attitude, a magazine for gay people here in the UK published an interview with the ex Prime Minister Tony Blair, where he said that the Roman Catholic Church’s attitude towards homosexuals was outdated. This has angered traditional Catholics but has widely been regarded as being a progressive take on the religion. But does adopting a religion mean that you have to talk and act in a certain way? Or does religion mean compromise?

19 Responses to “Talking Points: 9 April 2009”

  1. April 9, 2009 at 11:03

    Sudan/ Juba

    The west is afraid of Iran, particularly US and Britain the reason behind is that Iran might use its nuclear hard against Israel and in fact it is a threat to the world order, the only way to over come this Iranian threat is by talking to its Islamic Leaders or Arab world leaders to push Iran to word peace.

  2. 2 VictorK
    April 9, 2009 at 12:12

    Another article to defuse the hysteria about Iran

    I doubt if Israel & her agents will be as successful in urging the Americans to go to war with Iran as they were with Iraq (which had been on the neocon ‘regime change’ hit list well before 9/11 – of which Iraq was guiltless).

    Iran’s nuclear ambitions affect no UK interest; so there should be no British concern about it. Let’s mind our own business. Iran’s Jewish & Arab neighbours have justified fears about the regional power balance, but nobody else.

    And what exactly are the rules of this game? The Anglo-American aggression against Iraq, by removing Saddam and putting nothing at least as forceful in his place, led to tens of thousands of avoidable deaths. The same aggressive imperialism leads to the occupation of Afghanistan, and a similar disaster plays out there with lots of dead Afghans, none of whom ever did us any harm. But it’s the Iranian leadership that the world should fear, for what it might do?

  3. 3 Justin Mann
    April 9, 2009 at 12:17

    Isolating Iran has achieved nothing. What’s the worst that can happen if we talk to them: the standoff might end?

  4. 4 VictorK
    April 9, 2009 at 12:32

    “But does adopting a religion mean that you have to talk and act in a certain way? Or does religion mean compromise?” Now you’re just being provocative.

    When Blair converted the Anglicans lost an alleged war criminal and the Catholics gained a man with doubtful Christian credentials. A poor bargain for Rome, I think, who only took him for the propaganda value of his defection (the Catholic Church in Britian has specialised for years in engineering eminent conversions, usually from aristocrats. According to some accounts they once had hopes of Princess Diana – who was certainly capable of converting purely out of spite for her family. A very worldly way for a spiritual body to behave).

    The Catholic Church deserves all the embarrassment Blair can cause them. As Prime Minister he presided over many anti-Christian measures involving abortion, the family, stem cell research and homosexuality. If the Catholic Church had valued its own doctrine more than the propaganda of a high-profile conversion it would either never have received Blair or demanded a recantation of his anti-Catholic and anti-Christian views before receiving him.

  5. 5 deryck /Trinidad
    April 9, 2009 at 12:54

    Diplomacy is the way to go. If the West approaches Iran with a modicum of respect, civility and as equals, then Iran will become part of the global communnity. The main problem is the West approaches countries that differ fom them in an arrogant manner with pre-conceived ideas and stereotypes that come out in their action and dialogue. Putting more pressure on Iran would only fuel extremism as the extremist use these instances of increased pressure to preach and recruit people to their cause.The West is to paranoid and it is being influenced by misinformation.Finally we must remember, if someone has a dirrerent idealogy, way of life or culture, does that make them inferior or superior to another person! THINK!!!

  6. 6 John in Germany
    April 9, 2009 at 13:20

    Israel has more than enough effective lobbyists in most Western lands, she also has one of the best Secret Services in the whole world. So lets not worry about her.

    Throughout World History nothing good has ever come out of religiously motivated wars, and troubles. And the basic principles of any religion, The protection of Gods people(Whichever God you choose)- have been ignored for the sake of power.

    Obama is right to request talking, communication is the best method to understand, and it also allows certain predictions to be born, which can help to ease dangerous situations.

    Iran’s leaders also want power like all politicians, I believe however they know the risk of Nuclear war, and would not revert to using atomic weapons. No one really believes that there would be a winner, Of course there are some physiologically deranged that think they can rule the world if they have Nucs. It is a bit like having a moat around your castle when a drought is on.

    Sad old world.

    PS Munich is wearing black, 4 to 0 for Barcelona. Free holidays for the Bavarians in Spain this Year??????.

    John in Germany

    April 9, 2009 at 13:34

    the fear comes from where is it not the big fishes?, it is only to scare them from reaching to thier standards. we should not fear any one if you are in peace with yourself

  8. 8 gary
    April 9, 2009 at 13:48

    Almost any country can cause trouble. I am not, however, particularly worried about Iran, even if they achieve nuclear capability. I believe them to be fundamentally rational. The ever-unpredictable Al-Qaeda operatives, the Taliban, and a definitely unstable Pakistan are far more worrisome in my opinion. Rational opponents always consider consequences; irrational ones often do not.

  9. 9 Jaime Saldarriaga
    April 9, 2009 at 14:18

    Yes, it is worthy in my opinion, because it might decrease the probability of war. Talking is the civilized way of solving problems. War emerges when possibilities of talking are exhausted. The world is tired of continuous war. UN has means to deter evil actions from any country. No county wants to be considered an evil country by the rest of the world. That would be unsustainable.

  10. April 9, 2009 at 14:39

    I do not think people are afraid of Iran, rather, nuclear arms is what people including myself are afraid. Of course, nuclear weapons pose grave threat to world order. As per talking to Iran, I think it is worth doing instead of going the other way round. I buy the idea of Obama who said recently that it is good to build bridges instead of building walls. I recalled last, some people accused and attacked Iraq in the name of Weapons of Mass Destructions (WMBS) and later, this whole intelligence proved to be false. Now a days, our world is faced with many burning issues and so we including our leaders ought to adopt a united and positive front against these threats. These actions including talking and taking decisions in common accord instead.

    Before, coming to Japan, I used to love listening to radio and accessing the internet for news. Actually, I usually access the internet where I read and interact with people about issues in my local and other areas around the world. I think news papers have to re-thing their previous strategies and carryout reforms/innovations in order to survive through the long-run. These strategies including carrying out survey in their local areas and find out the behavior of their clients. With reference to this, they can adopt a mechanisms to get people attracted to their services. I also believe that papers have got to take into consideration the authenticity of the information the give out to the public and also learn to deal with their competitors in this 21st century.

    As per religion, it is a system of belief in a society and it has ritual, which is the main part that make the members of a particular religion to trust, respect the ideology of the that society. With this, I believe adopting a religion mean that you have to talk and act in reference to the rituals. However, with regards to the world with many religions, one have to recognize the existence of the others so as to avoid friction.

  11. April 9, 2009 at 14:43

    If You Want Results, Go to Qom!
    TEHRAN – Qom highway was inaugurated at the turn of the Revolution in 1979. The 120 Km drive takes a couple of hours. The city is the site of the Shrine of Hazrat-e-Zeinab, home of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini. I was there on Friday to visit the family mausoleum.
    If you want anything done over here, go to the local mosque. If you want to discuss something important, go to Qom, the powerhouse of Iranian politics.

  12. 12 Jennifer
    April 9, 2009 at 15:11

    @ Lap Dancing Nun

    I read the article and I saw nothing to suggest that her dancing was inappropriate. Maybe they should have included a clip…….People come to God from a variety of backgrounds……….God even loves ex-strippers! Who knew! 🙂

    @ Being “Progressive”

    Progressive is a code word that some use for the desire to gradually chip away at any moral or cultural value that is intended to maintain any sense of standards in our society.

    Why do we in the US tear down our historical buildings and then go to all of these other places to see theirs? We always want to change things. Some things don’t need to be changed!

    The Catholic Church needs to stand firm on it’s stance regarding abortion, homosexuality, etc. as the way that the family goes so does society. The Church is ageless. These are principles and values that shape a life; they are not meant to “change” because these core things do not change; they are still the same and they always will be unless PEOPLE change them for their own perverted reasons; not the betterment of anything.


    Iran is a threat. “Talking” with them or trying to force them into world peace will not work. Whether or not they have nuclear weapons, they dislike “the west” because we have different values, we aren’t islamic, and people need to realize that. It’s what it comes down to. So, all those who want talks to be successful with them just need to convert. Until that is done; forget about any “peace”; even if it really is submitting to that religion.

  13. 13 archibald in Oregon
    April 9, 2009 at 17:04

    It is so arrogant to assume anything about god, since it is a figment of human imagination. The doctrines are a HUMAN construct, we choose to become rigid in our conceptions.
    Progress is actually a positive thing, those who wish to remain in the 13th century need to grow or get out of the way. Why is it so comfortable for people to remain entrenched in dogma? Iran is not a threat unless we push it into a corner and treat it like a dog. Yes, there are glaring differences, but, at the core of everyones life is a desire to prosper. It is only a handful of twisted people that make differences become a threat. Change is inevitable, it is only the truly perverted that refuse to accept it.

  14. April 9, 2009 at 18:02

    No country misunderstand Iran. Clearly they have set a course and determined to develop nuclear weapons. No matter what harder stand is taken against Iran it would be futile for they clearly have set a course and will not back down.

    All neighbouring countries around Iran clearly do not want Iran to develop nuclear weapons. Yes it is a threat to world order, for they may very well supply terrorist organisations with these weaponry.

    The world powers must give an ultimatum to Iran to stop their developments or face the consequence that all trade, communications and flights in and out of Iran etc will seize by a certain date. It is the only language Iran understands.

    I am positive no amount of talks will cause Iran to change its ways.

  15. 15 Dennis Junior
    April 9, 2009 at 18:02


    So who is actually afraid of Iran? (Some countries) e.g. United States in the sphere of Nuclear Weapons…..

    Does it really pose a threat to world order? (Yes, in the realm of Human Rights, Oil, Nuclear Weapons)

    Or do some countries just misunderstand it? (Yes, some countries do not understand it….)

    -Dennis Junior

  16. 16 Luigi LoPresti
    April 9, 2009 at 18:40


    I live in Los Angeles and my fiancee is Persian. My interaction with the US based Iranian community has been nothing but positive and for the most part-liberalized and open. I’ve not once heard anything even remotely anti-West. Rather, they seem overwhelmingly free-market even conservative in their views!

    Its seems to me to be quite simple. It is irreducibly nuanced.

    The Muslim-dominated Iranian Theocrats of course oppose US backed hegenomy in the Middle East but this is still different per se from Saudi-backed terrorist groups. The rule of law is sublimated to theocratic interests. Plain and simple.

    Furthermore, what you’ve not covered is the different between Persian Jewish and Persian Muslim factions. Most of the people who emigrated during the 80’s are of the former, even though plenty of Persian Muslims fled as well.

    Last-it seems to me that the Theocracy in Iran is belligerent-but that does not mean that the citizens are such as well. Consider the public temperment during Bush’s tenure in the US.

    It is far more likely that each of these nuanced points can be played into the media in any way it’s proponents choose-and so, you will not ever have a nice, compact, consumable sound-byte. Good thing I think.

  17. 17 Dennis Junior
    April 10, 2009 at 04:01

    Most of them will not be able to survive, unless they are able to have “big bank accounts to support them


    –Lap dancing nun–

    That is a wonderful changed of career for this lady….

    –Gay Magazine Attitude interview with Tony Blair–
    I think that the Catholic Church needs to changed its views towards this community!


    ~Dennis Junior

  18. 18 globalcomedy
    April 13, 2009 at 04:15

    I keep hearing a lot of neocons say that Iran is a threat. They have to be bombed before the bomb us first. Oh, really? I have a question. What have they done to be a threat to the U.S. or U.K.? It’s like Iraq before we invaded them. Name one example of them threatening us?

    The answer is, you can’t. When they keep citing stats and “official surveys”, who does these? 99.9% of the time, the neocon MSM (red flag #1). Red flag #2: denying the fact that Iran is a sovereign state. If they’re a terrorist state, why do the U.K. (and many other countries) have embassies there? Some people think that the U.S. is a “terorist state” for haboring war criminals like Bush, Cheney and others.

    Diplomacy and try to avoid these stupid double standards.

  19. 19 Marge
    April 13, 2009 at 08:05

    Regarding the fear of Iran and nuclear weapons How much do we – the general public- really know about this matter? The biggest Nuclear fear out there is N.Korea. They have a crazy man in charge.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: