Iran: George Galloway challenged on Ahmadinejad TV interview

Andrew Neil
Daily and Sunday Politics

media captionFormer MP George Galloway warned opponents of the Syrian leader to be careful what they wished for

I enjoyed my little spat with George Galloway on Tuesday's Daily Politics.

After asking if he still regarded Syria's President Assad as a "breath of fresh air" I moved on to ask about the veracity of an incredible exchange he'd had on the London-based Iranian-run Press TV, where he works.

During an interview with the leader of the Iranian regime, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, GG declared he required "police protection in London from the Iranian opposition because of my support for your election campaign. I mention this so you know where I'm coming from."

I suggested this was quite a remarkable thing for a supposedly independent interviewer to say and inquired if it was really true.

He kind of implied that it wasn't, without quite going that far. So here's the interview. You can make up your own minds by scrolling through to 13 mins 57 seconds on this clip.

Fox News

GG retorted at one stage that I should not criticise Press TV, which many see as an Iranian propaganda channel because I once worked for Fox News, which is widely seen as an outlet for the Republican Right.

I didn't take the bait because I suspected it was designed to sideline me from the issue of his attitudes towards Syria and Iran (and before that Iraq).

But for the record I have never worked for the 24-hour Fox News Channel.

In 1994, before Fox News existed, I went to New York to begin work on a weekly documentary show for Fox to be based on the world-famous CBS show 60 Minutes. But Fox changed its mind and I was back in London before the year was out.

Fox News, which was launched around two years later, had nothing to do with me and bears no resemblance to the weekly documentary show I had planned.