Iran and the West Season 1

Season 1

Iran and the West Season 1

First Air Date: February 07, 2009

First Aired on    :   2009
Episodes    :   3 episodes



Episodes

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1x03 Nuclear Confrontation (February 21, 2009)


In part three of this landmark series from Norma Percy and the team that made the multi-award winning documentaries The Death of Yugoslavia and Elusive Peace: Israel and the Arabs, contributors including Iran's President Khatami tell the inside story of the West's continuing nuclear confrontation with Iran. The film also shows a rare moment when they worked together. US State Department insiders tell how, after 9/11, Iran played a key role in helping America to topple the Taliban in Afghanistan - only for President Bush to put Iran into his 'axis of evil' immediately afterwards. Jack Straw, then foreign secretary, and President Khatami describe how Iran offered to help the US and its allies in their war against Saddam Hussein - help that, given Iran's powerful contacts in Iraq and the West's subsequent difficulties there, might have made a crucial difference. Jack Straw, his successor Margaret Beckett, and Joschka Fischer of Germany describe how they struggled to find a compromise between Iran and President Bush's hardliners over Iran's nuclear programme. John Sawers, currently our man at the UN, reveals an extraordinary secret deal that Iran proposed a few years later.


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1x02 The Pariah State (February 14, 2009)


The award-winning producers of The Death Of Yugoslavia, The Fall Of Milosevic and Elusive Peace, talk to two top Revolutionary Guard commanders, who describe how they persuaded Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, to let them launch, fund, and train Hezbollah in Lebanon. President George HW Bush, in his inaugural address, told Iran that the release of hostages in the Lebanon would lead the United States to show "goodwill" (an end to sanctions and the welcoming of Iran back into the community of nations). Iran's President Rafsanjani duly put pressure on the hostage-takers and secured their release, but by that time the US was so angered by what it saw as Iran's continuing support for terrorism that Bush and his advisers decided that they could not deliver. In an exclusive interview, Mohammad Khatami, President of Iran from 1997 to 2005, describes how he set out to improve relations with the West and, for the first time, looks back on how he struggled with hardliners in Iran to relieve the country of its pariah status and achieve good relations with the West. Step one was "people-to-people" diplomacy – a wrestling team became the first US delegation to visit Iran since the revolution and the two team captains describe how, after the match, the American proudly held aloft a portrait of Iran's Supreme Leader. The programme ends with the story of an extraordinary attempt by US Secretary Of State Madeleine Albright to meet the Iranian foreign minister. Told he would be present at a meeting at the United Nations in New York, she attended and made friendly remarks addressed to him. But the leader of the Iranian delegation turned out to be the Foreign Minister's deputy. Albright, the deputy and others present describe the scene, their embarrassment and disappointment.


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1x01 The Man who Changed the World (February 07, 2009)


Former US president Jimmy Carter talks on television for the first time about the episode that, more than any other, led American voters to eject him from the presidency. Iran's seizure of the US embassy in Tehran and the holding of its staff for 444 days took more and more of Carter's time and energy. His final days in office were dominated by desperate attempts to secure the release of the embassy hostages. Those who sat in the White House with him, planning how to rescue the hostages, how to negotiate their release and, finally, wondering whether anything could be rescued from the disaster, all tell their part in the story. Other contributors include former vice president Walter Mondale, ex-deputy secretary of state Warren Christopher and former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski. The other side of the story is told by top Iranians: Ayatollah Khomeini's close adviser, Grand Ayatollah Montazeri; his first foreign minister, Ebrahim Yazdi; his negotiator with the US, Sadeq Tabatabai; and the founder of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, Mohsen Rafiqdoust.