Iran will meet with world powers at the U.N. to discuss its nuclear program

Iranian Foreign Minster Javad Zarif will meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss the country’s disputed nuclear development program at the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York. The meeting is expected for Thursday and will include top diplomats from Britain, France, China, Russia, and Germany. The meeting comes amid ...

STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images
STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images
STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

Iranian Foreign Minster Javad Zarif will meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss the country's disputed nuclear development program at the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York. The meeting is expected for Thursday and will include top diplomats from Britain, France, China, Russia, and Germany. The meeting comes amid a possible thaw in U.S.-Iranian diplomatic relations, which were severed in 1980 after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and at the height of the U.S. Embassy hostage crisis. According to Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham, "These talks are the start of a new era." She continued, "This meeting represents a serious commitment of the foreign parties to reach a solution based on a specified time-frame." Additionally, U.S. officials have stated that a meeting between President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is possible. Rouhani said he wanted to present Iran's "true face" and pursue cooperation with the West. Iran has been suffering from severe sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies as well as the U.N. Security Council. The last round of talks between Iran and the world powers was in Kazakhstan in April. 

Syria

According to the Russian government, a team of U.N. chemical weapons inspectors will return to Syria on Wednesday to investigate alleged chemical attacks at Khan al-Assal, Sheikh Maqsoud, and Saraqeb. Russia says it hopes to have a U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria this week to support a plan for the Assad regime to relinquish its chemical weapons. However, according to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, talks with the United States "are not going so smoothly." Additionally, he expressed concern that the chemical weapons proposal may only have postponed a U.S. military strike. Ryabkov reiterated that, "There can be no talk of any automatic sanctions or use of force." With the recent opening for diplomacy with Iran, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Iran could be included in a long-delayed peace conference on Syria in Geneva, under certain conditions. Along with Iran, the Syrian crisis is expected to be a major focus on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly this week.

Iranian Foreign Minster Javad Zarif will meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss the country’s disputed nuclear development program at the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York. The meeting is expected for Thursday and will include top diplomats from Britain, France, China, Russia, and Germany. The meeting comes amid a possible thaw in U.S.-Iranian diplomatic relations, which were severed in 1980 after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and at the height of the U.S. Embassy hostage crisis. According to Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham, "These talks are the start of a new era." She continued, "This meeting represents a serious commitment of the foreign parties to reach a solution based on a specified time-frame." Additionally, U.S. officials have stated that a meeting between President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is possible. Rouhani said he wanted to present Iran’s "true face" and pursue cooperation with the West. Iran has been suffering from severe sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies as well as the U.N. Security Council. The last round of talks between Iran and the world powers was in Kazakhstan in April. 

Syria

According to the Russian government, a team of U.N. chemical weapons inspectors will return to Syria on Wednesday to investigate alleged chemical attacks at Khan al-Assal, Sheikh Maqsoud, and Saraqeb. Russia says it hopes to have a U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria this week to support a plan for the Assad regime to relinquish its chemical weapons. However, according to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, talks with the United States "are not going so smoothly." Additionally, he expressed concern that the chemical weapons proposal may only have postponed a U.S. military strike. Ryabkov reiterated that, "There can be no talk of any automatic sanctions or use of force." With the recent opening for diplomacy with Iran, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Iran could be included in a long-delayed peace conference on Syria in Geneva, under certain conditions. Along with Iran, the Syrian crisis is expected to be a major focus on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly this week.

Headlines

Arguments and Analysis

Give Iran a Chance‘ (Hooman Majd, International Herald Tribune)

"The wolves in Tehran may have retreated into their dens, but they remain ready to pounce at Rouhani’s first misstep. As the president intimated recently, in essence there is only one thing he now requires for an eventual conclusion to negotiations over the scope of Iran’s nuclear program — and that is ‘respect’ from the West.

Of course to Iran respect is not just abandoning the ‘language of threats,’ as he said at his inauguration, but a prerequisite for fulfilling the hopes of his people and enshrining the change he has promised. What respect means in relation to Iran’s ‘rights’ is what will be on the table at the next negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 countries: the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, plus Germany.

For almost 35 years, rhetoric from the United States and Iran has played a far too important role in determining relations between them, to the detriment of their people. It is unnecessary, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel worries, for President Obama or any other leader for that matter, to believe Rouhani’s words. It is unnecessary for any Western leader to personally like Rouhani, or to like the Islamic republic’s political ideology. But during a week when two presidents who both embraced hope and change as candidates will cross paths (if not shake hands) at the United Nations, it would surely be a tragedy for one president who has already seen some of his own hopes evaporate to not give the other, and his people, at least a chance to keep theirs alive. Obama has nothing to lose, really, except hope itself."

Who is Egypt’s Next President?‘ (Bassem Sabry, Al-Monitor)

"If the current roadmap holds, Egypt could see its next presidential elections to select its fifth head of state sometime in the second quarter of 2014. A minority has been calling for holding the presidential elections earlier before the parliamentary polls, but all signs indicate the current administration is adamantly opposed to amending its roadmap.

Of course, it is a bit premature to speculate about who the (un)lucky winning candidate is likely to be. But it is not too soon to begin surveying the environment, especially as the national discussion has begun to heat up amid growing public calls for army head Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to run.

A bit over a year since Mohammed Morsi had won the country’s first free presidential elections, Egypt has starkly changed. The January 25 Revolution is not the holy defining buzzword that it was with June 30 substantially taking over the mantle, although most Islamists obviously fall on the other side of the June 30 bandwagon. Anti-Mubarakism appears to be less potent an idea than it once was at first, though it still carries substantial influence. The revolutionary camp is now divided beyond what appears to be obviously achievable repair: Morsi’s controversial and increasingly autocratic year in power on one hand, and Morsi’s ouster, the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and allies and the fall of hundreds of his supporters on the other have made national reconciliation virtually unthinkable at the moment."

–Mary Casey & Joshua Haber

<p>Mary Casey-Baker is the editor of Foreign Policy’s Middle East Daily Brief, as well as the assistant director of public affairs at the Project on Middle East Political Science and assistant editor of The Monkey Cage blog for the Washington Post. </p> Twitter: @casey_mary

More from Foreign Policy

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Lessons for the Next War

Twelve experts weigh in on how to prevent, deter, and—if necessary—fight the next conflict.

An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s High Time to Prepare for Russia’s Collapse

Not planning for the possibility of disintegration betrays a dangerous lack of imagination.

An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.
An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.

Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

The artillery-fired cluster munitions could be lethal to Russian troops—and Ukrainian civilians.

A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol  January 8, 2009 in Washington.
A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2009 in Washington.

Congrats, You’re a Member of Congress. Now Listen Up.

Some brief foreign-policy advice for the newest members of the U.S. legislature.