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‘Iran sanctions detrimental to Europe’

PressTV - 0 ثانیه پیش

A top Iranian official has brushed aside sanctions imposed on the country over its nuclear energy program, saying the bans have been detrimental to European countries.

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‘Iran military ready to defend nation’

PressTV - 0 ثانیه پیش

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s defense minister says the nation’s Armed Forces are fully prepared to protect the country.

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‘No foreign presence in Caspian Sea’

PressTV - 0 ثانیه پیش

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the five littoral states of the Caspian Sea have agreed to prevent the presence of foreign powers in the body of water.

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Tony Blair's speech calling for global drive to fight Islamist extremism - reaction: Politics live blog

Guardian UK - 14 دقیقه 2 ثانیه پیش

Tony Blair's speech - Summary

Twitter reaction - from journalists and commentators

Twitter reaction - from politicians

12.59pm BST

Here's an interesting take on the Blair speech.

The fascinating thing about Blair's speech today is that it could have been a @netanyahu speech, word-for-word, they share the same outlook

12.53pm BST

Chris Doyle, director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding, has strongly criticised Tony Blair's speech.

#Blair's speech reconfirms his lack of understanding on Israel-Palestine. His failure as Quartet envoy has helped Hamas + Islamic Jihad

12.22pm BST

Earlier Tony Blair gave an interview to the BBC. He used it to set out some of the arguments he made in his speech. (See 10.37am.) But he made two other points too.

Blair said he thought the west should he intervened in Syria two years ago.

Personally I would have had us intervene - not full-scale troops on the ground or anything of that nature - but a couple of years ago, I think we could have created a situation in which an optimistic solution for the country was possible.

I think now we're faced with a situation where it's a choice of two very bad options - no one wants to see Assad stay, people are rightly, I think, now very anxious about elements within the opposition with extremists and so on - and this is, in my view, going to cause us problems for many, many years to come.

I think we've got a Christian heritage, of course we do, and I think we should be very proud of that. But none of that means we don't welcome people of different faiths and this should be, for me, an absolutely basic fundamental principle of any democracy, because democracy is ultimately a pluralistic concept.

12.22pm BST

There are two polls around this morning. For the record, here are the figures.

YouGov

11.51am BST

I don't normally post reaction to a speech in cartoon form, but Tony Blair does seem to provoke response on a scale most politicians don't manage. Martin Shovel has sent me this.

@AndrewSparrow: My cartoon - Tony Blair's interventionist hole #BloombergSpeech #NeoliberalExpansionism pic.twitter.com/m6Qrd0ydbo

11.24am BST

And here is some Twitter reaction to the speech from politicians.

From Labour MP Tom Watson (who called for Blair to resign when he was a minister in Blair's government)

Fascinating intervention on foreign policy from Tony Blair. He is more sympathetic to Russia than I thought he'd be: http://t.co/u43ZxU6F79

Hatred between West and East deepened by Tony Blair's mistake in joining Bush's War in Iraq. Blair now seeks absolution for Chilcot verdict.

Tony Blair thinks Britain should intervene in Syria. Thank heaven he's no longer Prime Minister.

Under pressure @TheBlairDoc the war criminal Tony Blair has finally lost it. And in the heart of "the City" for which he sacrificed us all.

When I attacked Islamism and urged support for British values as FCO min in 03 I was nearly sacked. Now Blair, Straw echo my appeal

Just read Blair speech. Ignore headlines. This is Fulton Mark 2. Bien pensant left then refused to challenge Stalinism. Orwell knew better

@DenisMacShane That really is over-statement. Fulton 2: Churchll was respected & revered. Blair has sadly become an out of touch caricature.

@NickCohen4 @DenisMacShane Churchill post-45 was still a towering respected figure. Comparison with Blair 2014 illuminating. Gap btwn 2 huge

Sad to see knee jerk reflex anti Blairism on parade. Mea culpas in his speech but it is a major effort @IainDale @martinbright @OwenJones84

11.14am BST

Here is some reaction to the speech from journalists and commentators on Twitter.

Tony Blair not taking questions after Bloomberg speech and "reserved" media seats are at the back of the hall #feralbeasts

Almost universally visceral hostile reaction on Twitter to Blair's BBC interview on Mideast - before he's even given his speech.

One important point being made by @tonyblairoffice is that terminology such as "Islamism" is not very useful

Tony Blair's sermons are counterproductive. But he is neither the problem or the solution. Middle East or anywhere.

Counter-intuitive of Blair to urge West to join forces with Putin to tackle radical Islam - and questionable timing.

Blair is conflating so many strands of Islamism here that he prescribes same thing for Brotherhood as for Al Qaida http://t.co/dsYcqKljKU

Blair's speeches becoming more absurd & risible. Now the backer of despots & coups seems to be saying lay off Putin http://t.co/znJkYARSaz

Blair speech the poorer for avoiding whether western intervention fostered Islamic extremism, an issue from which he does not usually shy.

Blair arguing the West will pay a "very heavy price" for not attacking Syria reminds me of the deadly cost of his Iraq invasion

#Blair says #Assad staying on as interim president in Syria may be the only way forward even if a repugnant choice. Too much realpolitik

Tony Blair, who left Iraq overrun with fundamentalist terrorists and backed Saudi fundamentalists, says we need to fight Islamic extremists

Tony Blair, paid millions to work for Kazakh dictator and who backs Egypts murderous junta, offering more sermons on democracy. No thanks.

A petition from the heart. That Tony Blair Never speak or write in public ever again about anything http://t.co/5h0soGzLRU

#Blair backs Egypt again; wants to whack both Saudi and the MB. Does he know the Saudis are Egypt's biggest backers? http://t.co/Yu6BdQFpGi

#pt "We have to have an approach to the region that .. sees it as a whole," says Blair, entirely without irony http://t.co/Yu6BdQFpGi

Worth recalling too that 'extremist-battling' #Blair pioneered UK 'engagement' with Muslim Brotherhood: http://t.co/hJnC5jvw6B via @guardian

10.37am BST

Say what you like about Tony Blair - and a quick glance at Twitter this morning shows that people do - but you can't fault him of lack of ambition. When he was prime minister he seemed at act at times as if he were the mouthpiece for the western world. Today he is almost going even further, proposing not just a western drive against Islamist extremism, but a global one too, including China and Russia. It is heady, big vision stuff, although, unlike in 2002-03, this time the world is probably not paying much attention.

Here is a summary of the main arguments in Tony Blair's speech.

The important point for Western opinion is that this is a struggle with two sides. So when we look at the Middle East and beyond it to Pakistan or Iran and elsewhere, it isn't just a vast unfathomable mess with no end in sight and no one worthy of our support. It is in fact a struggle in which our own strategic interests are intimately involved; where there are indeed people we should support and who, ironically, are probably in the majority if only that majority were mobilised, organised and helped.

But what is absolutely necessary is that we first liberate ourselves from our own attitude. We have to take sides. We have to stop treating each country on the basis of whatever seems to make for the easiest life for us at any one time. We have to have an approach to the region that is coherent and sees it as a whole. And above all, we have to commit. We have to engage.

On this issue also, there is a complete identity of interest between East and West. China and Russia have exactly the same desire to defeat this ideology as do the USA and Europe. Here is a subject upon which all the principal nations of the G20 could come together, could agree to act, and could find common ground to common benefit.

An international programme to eradicate religious intolerance and prejudice from school systems and informal education systems and from organisations in civic society would have a huge galvanising effect in making unacceptable what is currently ignored or tolerated.

At the root of the crisis lies a radicalised and politicised view of Islam, an ideology that distorts and warps Islams true message. The threat of this radical Islam is not abating. It is growing. It is spreading across the world. It is de-stabilising communities and even nations. It is undermining the possibility of peaceful co-existence in an era of globalisation.

Underneath the turmoil and revolution of the past years is one very clear and unambiguous struggle: between those with a modern view of the Middle East, one of pluralistic societies and open economies, where the attitudes and patterns of globalisation are embraced; and, on the other side, those who want to impose an ideology born out of a belief that there is one proper religion and one proper view of it, and that this view should, exclusively, determine the nature of society and the political economy. We might call this latter perspective an Islamist view, though one of the frustrating things about this debate is the inadequacy of the terminology and the tendency for any short hand to be capable of misinterpretation, so that you can appear to elide those who support the Islamist ideology with all Muslims.

Wherever you look from Iraq to Libya to Egypt to Yemen to Lebanon to Syria and then further afield to Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan this is the essential battle. Of course there are an array of complexities in each case, derived from tribe, tradition and territory. I would not for a moment suggest that these conflicts do not have their own individual characteristics. And the lack of economic opportunity is without doubt a prime proximate cause of the regions chaos. But there is something frankly odd about the reluctance to accept what is so utterly plain: that they have in common a struggle around the issue of the rightful place of religion, and in particular Islam, in politics.

It may well be the case that in particular situations, those who follow a strictly Islamist political agenda neither advocate nor approve of political violence. There are of course a variety of different views within such a broadly described position. But their overall ideology is one which inevitably creates the soil in which such extremism can take root.

The reason that this ideology is dangerous is that its implementation is incompatible with the modern world politically, socially, and economically. Why? Because the way the modern world works is through connectivity. Its essential nature is pluralist. It favours the open-minded. Modern economies work through creativity and connections. Democracy cannot function except as a way of thinking as well as voting. You put your view; you may lose; you try to win next time; or you win but you accept that you may lose next time.

That is not the way that the Islamist ideology works. It is not about a competing view of how society or politics should be governed within a common space where you accept other views are equally valid. It is exclusivist in nature. The ultimate goal is not a society which someone else can change after winning an election. It is a society of a fixed polity, governed by religious doctrines that are not changeable but which are, of their essence, unchangeable.

In saying this, it does not mean that we have to repeat the enormous commitment of Iraq and Afghanistan. It may well be that in time people come to view the impact of those engagements differently. But there is no need, let alone appetite, to do that.

Libya is not Iraq or Afghanistan. It is not impossible to help and NATO has the capability to do so. However reluctant we are to make this commitment, we have to recognise the de-stabilising impact Libya is having at present. If it disintegrates completely, it will affect the whole of the region around it and feed the instability in Sub- Saharan Africa.

Consider this absurdity: that we spend billions of $ on security arrangements and on defence to protect ourselves against the consequences of an ideology that is being advocated in the formal and informal school systems and in civic institutions of the very countries with whom we have intimate security and defence relationships. Some of those countries of course wish to escape from the grip of this ideology. But often it is hard for them to do so within their own political constraints. They need to have this issue out in the open where it then becomes harder for the promotion of this ideology to happen underneath the radar. In other words they need us to make this a core part of the international dialogue in order to force the necessary change within their own societies.

9.41am BST

Anyone familiar with Tony Blair's thinking will not be surprised by the Bloomberg speech he delivered this morning. It reflects concerns that he has been articulating repeatedly since at least late afternoon on Tuesday 11 September 2001. Essentially he is reiterating his belief that the west needs to take the threat posed by Islamist extremism much, much more seriously, and that it needs to confront it robustly.

But, even if you've heard Blair on this subject many times before, this speech is still one that's worth reading. I've just finished it, and I can't recall Blair setting out his case in such a considered and comprehensive manner.

8.55am BST

Tony Blair has just delivered a major speech on the Middle East, and Islamist extremism. He thinks the west is being too complacent.

Here's the full text.

Tony Blair will warn the west it needs to take sides in the Middle East and move the battle against Islamist extremism to the top of the political agenda.

In a speech to Bloomberg in London on Wednesday, the former Labour prime minister will say: "The important point for western opinion is that this is a struggle with two sides. So when we look at the Middle East and beyond it to Pakistan or Iran and elsewhere, it isn't just a vast unfathomable mess with no end in sight and no one worthy of our support. It is in fact a struggle in which our own strategic interests are intimately involved; where there are indeed people we should support and who, ironically, are probably in the majority if only that majority were mobilised, organised and helped.

Continue reading...
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China after closer econ. ties with Iran

PressTV - 33 دقیقه 18 ثانیه پیش

Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli says Beijing is willing to further promote economic relations with Tehran as an important partner. 

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Iran UN amb. objects to nominee visa ban

PressTV - 1 ساعت 12 دقیقه پیش

Tehran warns of the “serious negative” consequences of Washington’s refusal to issue a visa to Iran’s designated ambassador to the UN, saying the move is a flagrant breach of the provisions of the Headquarters Agreement.

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Iran hangs 16 in reprisal for Pakistan border killings - New Straits Times

Google "Iran" - 2 ساعت 5 دقیقه پیش

Iran hangs 16 in reprisal for Pakistan border killings
New Straits Times
Iran said it executed 16 "rebels" Saturday in reprisal after gunmen killed at least 14 border guards near the border with Pakistan, in a rugged area often rocked by violence. The ambush happened overnight in the mountains of Sistan-Baluchestan, a ...

and more »
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Iran denies role in Bahrain uprising

PressTV - 2 ساعت 17 دقیقه پیش

Iran has denied having a role in Bahrain’s uprising after a court in the Persian Gulf kingdom handed prison sentences to 14 individuals over links to the Islamic Republic.
 
A Bahraini court recently gave jail terms to 14 men after convicting them of spying and receiving military training from Iran. The court condemned 12 of the 14 individuals to life in prison and two others to 15 years behind bars.

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Iran hangs 16 in reprisal for Pakistan border killings - New Straits Times

Google "Iran" - 3 ساعت 59 دقیقه پیش

Iran hangs 16 in reprisal for Pakistan border killings
New Straits Times
The ambush happened overnight in the mountains of Sistan-Baluchestan, a province in southeastern Iran. The province is home to a large community of minority Sunni Muslims, unlike the rest of Shiite-dominated Iran, where drug traffickers and Sunni ...

and more »
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Marquez popular in Iran, among Green Movement - Al-Monitor

Google "Iran" - 6 ساعت 43 ثانیه پیش

Marquez popular in Iran, among Green Movement
Al-Monitor
The news of the death of the famous South American writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez affected many Iranians who loved him because of his books. His popularity in Iran, however, is not simply due to his magical realism, but also has to do with politics.

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Iran hangs 16 in reprisal for Pakistan border killings - New Straits Times

Google "Iran" - 6 ساعت 4 دقیقه پیش

Iran hangs 16 in reprisal for Pakistan border killings
New Straits Times
The ambush happened overnight in the mountains of Sistan-Baluchestan, a province in southeastern Iran. The province is home to a large community of minority Sunni Muslims, unlike the rest of Shiite-dominated Iran, where drug traffickers and Sunni ...

and more »
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Iran: Lawmakers Seek Inquiry Into Abuse Charges at Prison

New York Times - 7 ساعت 13 دقیقه پیش
Several lawmakers demanded an investigation on Tuesday into allegations of beatings of political prisoners at Evin prison, the official IRNA news agency reported.
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Iran hangs 16 in reprisal for Pakistan border killings - New Straits Times

Google "Iran" - 7 ساعت 59 دقیقه پیش

Iran hangs 16 in reprisal for Pakistan border killings
New Straits Times
Iran said it executed 16 "rebels" Saturday in reprisal after gunmen killed at least 14 border guards near the border with Pakistan, in a rugged area often rocked by violence. The ambush happened overnight in the mountains of Sistan-Baluchestan, a ...

and more »
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UN fails over Iran envoy case: Diplomat

PressTV - س., 2014-04-22 23:00

The United Nations has failed to take any actions about Washington’s refusal to grant visa to Iran’s new ambassador to the world body, says the chairman of the UN Committee on Relations with the Host Country.

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Closer, but still no deal on Iran - Washington Post

Google "Iran" - س., 2014-04-22 20:12

Closer, but still no deal on Iran
Washington Post
As the Iran nuclear talks reach roughly the halfway point in the six-month timetable for negotiating a comprehensive agreement, both sides report slow, steady progress in closing gaps — but no deal yet. A positive sign was a tentative plan floated ...
Possible Arak compromise seen bolstering confidence in Iran talksAl-Monitor

all 6 news articles »
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David Ignatius: Closer, but still no deal on Iran - U-T San Diego

Google "Iran" - س., 2014-04-22 20:04

David Ignatius: Closer, but still no deal on Iran
U-T San Diego
As the Iran nuclear talks reach roughly the halfway point in the six-month timetable for negotiating a comprehensive agreement, both sides report slow, steady progress in closing gaps — but no deal yet. A positive sign was a tentative plan floated ...
Possible Arak compromise seen bolstering confidence in Iran talksAl-Monitor

all 5 news articles »
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Iran protests at UN committee on envoy ban as US stands ground - Reuters

Google "Iran" - س., 2014-04-22 18:10

Iran protests at UN committee on envoy ban as US stands ground
Reuters
The U.N. Committee on Relations with the Host Country, which deals with the issues of states operating in the United States such as immigration, security, banking and parking violations, met on Tuesday at Iran's request to discuss the matter. "Iran and ...

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Iran hangs 16 in reprisal for Pakistan border killings - New Straits Times

Google "Iran" - س., 2014-04-22 18:09

Iran hangs 16 in reprisal for Pakistan border killings
New Straits Times
The ambush happened overnight in the mountains of Sistan-Baluchestan, a province in southeastern Iran. The province is home to a large community of minority Sunni Muslims, unlike the rest of Shiite-dominated Iran, where drug traffickers and Sunni ...

and more »
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UN Committee Takes No Action on Iran Envoy Dispute - ABC News

Google "Iran" - س., 2014-04-22 16:56

Yahoo News

UN Committee Takes No Action on Iran Envoy Dispute
ABC News
President Barack Obama signed legislation on April 18 to block Ambassador Hamid Aboutalebi from entering the United States to become Iran's permanent representative to the U.N. because of his ties to the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
No progress at UN in Iran-US envoy rowYahoo News
Iran asks UN to act on US ban on new ambassadorReuters
Cuba sides with Iran at private meeting over UN ambassador dispute, sources sayFox News
BBC News
all 153 news articles »
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Iran to host UNESCO Director-General

PressTV - س., 2014-04-22 16:54

Director-General of UNESCO Irina Georgieva Bokova has been invited to attend Persian cultural programs in the Iranian historical city of Isfahan.

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