Morning Brief: Reaching out to Iran

Top Story In an unusual diplomatic gambit, Barack Obama recorded a videotaped message to Iran, in honor of the Nowruz holiday, offering a “new day” for diplomatic relations between the two countries. “The United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations,” Obama said. “You have ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
587611_090320_obama5.jpg
587611_090320_obama5.jpg
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 18: President Barack Obama gestures as he makes a bomb trigger analogy while talking about economic stimulus issues during his town hall style meeting at the Orange County Fair and Event Center, the first stop on his first visit to southern California as president on March 18, 2009 in Costa Mesa, California. His two-day visit to the region will also include stops for a town meeting at the Miguel Contreras Learning Complex, near downtown Los Angeles, a tour of the Edison International Vehicle Electrics Plant in Pomona, California, and will appear on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Top Story

In an unusual diplomatic gambit, Barack Obama recorded a videotaped message to Iran, in honor of the Nowruz holiday, offering a "new day" for diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“The United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations," Obama said. "You have that right — but it comes with real responsibilities, and that place cannot be reached through terror or arms, but rather through peaceful actions that demonstrate the true greatness of the Iranian people and civilization. And the measure of that greatness is not the capacity to destroy, it is your demonstrated ability to build and create.”

Top Story

In an unusual diplomatic gambit, Barack Obama recorded a videotaped message to Iran, in honor of the Nowruz holiday, offering a “new day” for diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“The United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations,” Obama said. “You have that right — but it comes with real responsibilities, and that place cannot be reached through terror or arms, but rather through peaceful actions that demonstrate the true greatness of the Iranian people and civilization. And the measure of that greatness is not the capacity to destroy, it is your demonstrated ability to build and create.”

A spokesman for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad welcomed the message but said the U.S. must begin “by fundamentally changing its behavior” such as its support for Israel. 

Middle East

Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu is asking for two more weeks to form a coalition government so he can bring in more moderate parties.

Egypt briefly reopened its border with Gaza for two days.

Reconciliation talks between rival Palestinian political factions ended without a deal.

U.S. Politics

The U.S. House of Representatives quickly passed a bill to recoup AIG’s controversial bonuses with taxes.

The Obama administration pledged $5 billion in assistance to the U.S. auto industry.

In a first for a sitting president, Barack Obama sat down with Jay Leno on the Tonight Show last night.

Africa

The African Union decided to suspend Madagascar rather than recognize its post-coup government.

Pirates seized a Greek cargo ship off the coast of Somalia.

Somalia’s Islamist leaders say Osama bin Laden should mind his own business.

Asia

Afghan President Hamid Karzai says new U.S. troop deployments are seven years too late.

Aaaand…North Korea closed its border again.

China has detained a soldier who expressed regret online about his role in the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.

Americas

U.S. and Mexican officials will meet next month to discuss how to restrict the illegal gun trade between the two countries.

An arrest warrant has been issued for one of Hugo Chavez’s top political rivals.

Mexican tariffs on 89 U.S. products took effect.

Europe

3 million people marched against President Sarkozy’s planned economic reforms in France yesterday.

The EU is considering doubling the amount of emergency cash it has on hand to lend to struggling members.

Three former U.S. secretaries of state are in Russia to attempt to restart diplomacy.

David McNew/Getty Images

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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