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Iran and racism at the World Cup

Kevin Anderson | 18:08 UK time, Tuesday, 2 May 2006

We started talking about the current crisis as the US and UK try to put pressure on Iran to suspend their uranium enrichment activities. We had hoped to have the Iranian ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency on the programme, but he backed out earlier today.

I'll be writing up the comments as they come here while we're on air. Come here to comment long after we're off air.

Ali, who is from Iran, was worried about the rhetoric from both sides. He said that the harsh rhetoric used by the US steps up the war of words. He says that the US rhetoric is under-reported when compared with the comments from Iran.

And he said:

Just because Iran wants nuclear power, it doesnt mean they want nuclear weapons

Nuclear power would free up a lot of oil for export, which would help deal with poverty in Iran.

Ray Takeyh, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, said:

All parties should cool their heels a bit

He pointed out that the it was expensive for Iran to develop a nuclear power programme. Iran has large resources of natural gas, but it has not developed those resources.

Ashish in India thought that UN Security Council should take action. He was worried about the "fanatical rules of Iran", and he was worried that Iran's only interest was in developing nuclear weapons. Although he thought that India had assured the world about its own peaceful aims, he was not convinced by the same assertions by the Iranian government.

James in the United States thought that any country that wanted to develop nuclear power should be helped, but he says that anyone who wants to develop nuclear weapons should be 'wiped out'. He pointed to concept of mutually assured destruction, how the US and the former Soviet Union used their arsenals to deter each other from attacking.

Peter in France said that the UN is not as credible as it used to be. He said that he was not sure that UN sanctions would work. He thought the Iranian president would be forced out by his people.

Ray said that in the near future, there would be an incremental policy of sanctions. If Iran continues its defiance, he said he expected some "symbolic sanctions".

Mohammed said that the world should do better than sanctions. If Iran develops nuclear weapons and breaks its obligations to the world, then he thought the world could use force.

James from Germany sent this text:

Who are we to threaten iran- we countries who have nuclear weapons and do nothing to get rid of them? Who are we to offer anything but reasons why they should NOT develop nuclear weapons? I believe that by threatening iran, we offer rather reasons why they SHOULD develop nuclear weapons!

And Elijah Ngurare in Ireland sent us this text message:

What punitive measures did the Security Council mete out against the USA and UK 4 invading Iraq? What moral authority does the Security Council have to discuss punitive measures against Iran?

Stephen in Massachusetts saw no good options, and he thought people vastly overestimated the power of the US to compel Iran to stop its nuclear activities. He believes that only unified pressure from countries including Russia and China could possibly deter Iran from its uranium enrichment programme.

Shawheen Hazrati in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the US sent us this e-mail:

The nuclear arguement is somewhat one sided. When we as americans feel frightened economically, ie the Iranian attempt to undermine the dollar by trading oil in euros, we feel justified applying pressure to the offending countries. If non-prolifiration is the goal then the US, along with the UK, who are developing new nuclear weapons, must set a positive and proactive peaceful example. We are falling short of our obligations.

Shuwary Barlatt sent us this message from Freetown:

Iran should not be trusted with nuclear weapons.It is about time that the security council get tough b4 the situation get out of hands.

Mtumbi in Lusaka had this to say in a text:

Why all this fuss over Iran?Its funny that those making the most noise over the issue have the largest arsenal of nuclear bombs!

And we received this anonymous text message:

The world is becoming a very dangerous place. Irans nuclear ambitions should be stopped now or else there will be a major nuclear war in the next 100years

Efiom in Lagos had this to say:

Iran to me has the right to have nuclear energy. What the international community should do is to make sure it is purely peaceful.

We had this anonymous text message:

I think the only time Iran can be trusted with any form of nuclear power is if there is a change of government to a democratic one.

And we had this anonymous text message:

IRAN. I totally believed the image of Iran that America projects until I heard Liz DuSet's piece on BBC world outlining the history of US/Iran relations. Thank you BBC for giving us the full picture.

And one last text message on this subject from Kokulo Franklin in Liberia:

I hate the duplicity in American foreign policy. Israel has those weapons yet they don't crack their teeth. Why just Iran?

World Cup and fears of racist attacks

We also spoke to Gert Dembovsky of Floodlight, the main German partner of Football Against Racism in Europe, and Yunus Andreas from the Africa Council, about efforts to warn black football fans that there are certain places they shouldn't go to during the World Cup out of the danger for racist attacks.

Yunus said that there were parts of Berlin that he wouldn't go.

Every day Africans are attacked. The statistics aren't not made public. We receive reports of attacks every day. If people come over here, they should know about these facts

The right wing is clearly warning on their websites that they will attack black people, he added.

Vernon called from the US. He is a black American who lived in Germany for 25 years.

They have an ongoing problem, but the old guard doesn't want to accept it.

We received this anonymous text message:

How dangerous is south africa and will you be having this conversation in the lead up to the world cup in 4 years time?

James from Berlin had this welcome for the world:

Come! The vast majority of Berlin is fine. The punks and left wing anarchists keep the neo-nazis out of all but the outskirts. So give them a euro if you see them begging on a train station. The map is a good idea, though. Take note!

And we had this text message from Carl in Germany:

There is major denial re minorites and immigration here. Try being accepted as a non-white here. At best you'll be exotic or a victim.

Louise sent us a text message and wanted to come on the programme. Rabiya rang her. She lives in Berlin, and she said that her son was recently attacked. Her son is white, and she thought that black or white, people should be aware of the violence in Germany.

Peter Walker sent us this text message:

I am English living in Cologne and here I see no problems for coloured people, that is a problem mainly confined to east Germany. The Germans here are more worried about the behavior of English fans.

Gabriel Lusaka in Zambia had this to say:

Sport shud unite mankind regardles of race creed or color. Shame that some color is being warned in Berlin. It could set a bad precident 4 world cup 2010 in RSA. Africans by nature are warm people. Shame on Berlin! It should be condemned by the UN

And Miss Towela in Zambia had this to say:

Racial overtones at the world cup in this day & age is lack of aceptance that this is the 21st century & a globalised world!

Maibe from Kaduna Nigeria sent this great text:

Fans from africa should take the warning seriously. Nobody wants to go from being a supporter to somebody on life support.

This is just a range of the comments that came in while we were on air. Feel free to continue to discuss these topics here. We'll do our best to post as many comments as possible.


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