Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday he listened carefully to President Obama’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly. He must have heard then, the president say that U.S. diplomatic efforts will soon become focused on “Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.”
In his own speech, Rouhani reiterated his recent statements about his government’s nuclear program. Specifically, that Tehran doesn’t have any nuclear weapons, which “have no place in Iran’s security and defense doctrine and contradict our fundamental and ethical convictions.” He added, as translated by an interpreter. “Iran poses absolutely no threat to the world or the region.”
Rouhani called threats posed by Iran “imaginary,” saying, “Those who harp on the so-called threat of Iran are either a threat against international peace and security themselves.” Iran, he said, is the “anchor of stability” in an unstable region.
While Obama and Rouhani can’t agree on the state of Iran’s nuclear program, they appear to have found common ground about what’s next: “mutual respect” in future talks. Such negotiations would end a 34-year freeze on U.S.-Iran diplomatic relations.
For Rouhani, though, it’s not time for that just yet. The Iranian president declined to meet with Obama on the sidelines of Tuesday’s events, according to pool reports, explaining that such an encounter is “too complicated” at this time.
Still, Rouhani’s goal is “to remove any and all reasonable concerns about Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.” The White House’s instance that Iran’s nuclear program is anything but peaceful, however, complicates that.
What We're Following See More »
In a statement Friday, Sen. John McCain wrote, "I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal. I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried. Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will effect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it. Without a full CBO score, which won't be available by the end of the month, we won't have reliable answers to any of those questions." His "no" vote makes it much less likely Republicans will repeal and replace Obamacare by Sept. 30.
As anticipated, the Department of Education today withdrew the controversial Obama-era "Dear Colleague" letter on campus sexual assault, replacing it with new interim guidance. Most notably, the new guidance permits colleges to use a “clear and convincing” standard of evidence, rather than the preponderance of evidence standard that the 2011 letter seemed to mandate. "The new guidance also states that colleges may facilitate informal resolutions, including mediation, if all parties agree to participate in that process."
"The Trump administration will unveil more tailored restrictions on travelers from certain countries as a replacement to the controversial travel ban, according to a senior administration official. The new restrictions will vary by country. They could include a ban on travel to the United States, or new restrictions on obtaining a visa for citizens of particular countries." They are expected to be unveiled by Sunday.
In a live-streamed address from Silicon Valley, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced a nine-point plan that the tech giant is rolling out over coming months to respond to "efforts by nation-states and private actors to use the social media platform to influence U.S. elections." Most importantly, the company will force all advertisers to disclose what ads they're running to all audiences. “When someone buys political ads on TV or other media, they’re required by law to disclose who paid for them,” Zuckerberg said. “But you still don’t know if you’re seeing the same messages as everyone else. So we’re going to bring Facebook to an even higher standard of transparency. Not only will you have to disclose which page paid for an ad, but we will also make it so you can visit an advertiser’s page and see the ads they’re currently running to any audience on Facebook.”
As "part of a broader Trump administration order for anti-leaks training at all executive branch agencies," Environmental Protection Agency employees "are attending mandatory training sessions this week to reinforce their compliance with laws and rules against leaking classified or sensitive government information ... Relatively few EPA employees deal with classified files, but the new training also reinforces requirements to keep 'Controlled Unclassified Information' from unauthorized disclosure."