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Words in the News
Wednesday 10 April 2002
Vocabulary from the news. Listen to and read the report then find explanations of difficult words below.

  Iran oil pipes
Iran oil
Summary: Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, last week called for a one month boycott of sales of oil to countries which support Israel. On Monday, Iraq announced a similar stoppage, a move which has met an ambivalent response from Tehran. This report from Jim Muir:
The News Listen  
  The issues of Palestine and oil are dominating the political agenda in Tehran. As with almost any topic, differences are apparent, given the intense state of factional rivalry between reformists and hardliners. Everyone's united in generally condemning Israel and supporting the Palestinians, but that's about as far as it goes. Reformists are inclined to disapprove of the fundamentalist suicide bombers, and to support Yasser Arafat. He's denounced by hardliners for selling out to the American backed peace process.

The issue of using the oil weapon in support of the Palestinian cause was thrown into the arena here by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. At Friday prayers last week he proposed a symbolic one month embargo by Arab and Islamic states against countries supporting Israel. To Tehran's embarrassment, its old war-time enemy and awkward neighbour Iraq announced just such a one month ban on Monday. That was barely reported by the state-run media here.

Iran is hardly inclined to fall in behind Saddam Hussein, especially at a time when Iraq is the focus of hostile American attention and possible future action. At the same time, they can't afford to be out-bidden on the sacred issue of Palestine.

Jim Muir, BBC, Tehran

The Words Listen
  the political agenda
political issues which are considered to be very important at a particular time

clear and obvious

  factional rivalry
active competition between political groups

  are inclined to
tend to

strongly criticised

  selling out
betraying the cause

  was thrown into the arena
used here to mean that the topic was introduced into the present discussion on Palestine and Israel

an order from a government to stop trade with another country

  to fall in behind
to agree with and follow what somebody else has done

here, to offer to do more than your competitor and win an advantage

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