Slatest PM: U.S-Iran Relationship Still "Too Complicated" For a Handshake

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 24 2013 5:07 PM

Slatest PM: U.S-Iran Relationship Still "Too Complicated" For a Handshake

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US President Barack Obama proposes a toast during a luncheon at the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly September 24, 2013 at the United Nations in New York

Photo by Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

Obama's Iranian Outreach: Washington Post: "President Obama on Tuesday said he would use the remainder of his time in office to pursue better relations with Iran in the hope of resolving the controversy surrounding its nuclear program, pledging an activist U.S. agenda in the Middle East and beyond despite growing isolationist pressure at home. In a 50-minute address to the U.N. General Assembly, Obama also said he would devote his diplomatic efforts in the region to securing an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, hopeful that talks now underway through American encouragement may end the long conflict. He said 'real breakthroughs' on those two issues would 'have a profound and positive impact on the entire Middle East and North Africa.'"

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One Step at a Time: Wall Street Journal: "The Obama administration said that it sought to have 'an encounter' between ... Obama and new Iranian President Hasan Rouhani at the United Nations this week, but that the Iranians decided it was too complicated to do at this point, senior administration officials said today. ... The Iranian decision rebuffed what had been building as a potential diplomatic advance between Washington and Tehran after more than 30 years of conflict."

The Handshake That Wasn't: Los Angeles Times: "The decision to not have a casual conversation—or even a handshake —at Tuesday's gathering of world leaders throws a bit of cold water on the seemingly warming relations between the two countries after decades of diplomatic stand-off. But analysts said it was not necessarily a significant setback, as the Iranian delegation wasn’t all that interested in a photo opportunity to begin with.  Obama administration officials also note that Secretary of State John F. Kerry is still scheduled to meet this week with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, as the two sides explore the possibility of a diplomatic solution to Iran’s disputed nuclear program."

It's Tuesday, September 24th, welcome to the Slatest PM. Follow your afternoon host on Twitter at @JoshVoorhees, and the whole team at @Slatest.

An End to the Mall Standoff: Associated Press: "Kenya's president proclaimed victory Tuesday over the terrorists who stormed a Nairobi mall, saying security forces had 'ashamed and defeated our attackers' following a bloody four-day siege in which dozens of civilians were killed. President Uhuru Kenyatta said the dead included 61 civilians whose bodies have been recovered so far and six security forces, while some 175 were injured, including 62 who remain hospitalized. Three floors of the mall collapsed and several bodies were trapped in the rubble, said Kenyatta. His office later said a terrorist's body was among those in the debris. Five other extremists were killed by gunfire, he said in the televised address to the nation. He said 11 other suspects had been arrested; authorities had previously announced the arrest of seven at the airport and three elsewhere."

Foreign Involvement?: Reuters: "The president added that he could not confirm intelligence reports that a British woman and two or three Americans might be involved. Forensic scientists were involved in trying to identify the nationalities of the 'terrorists,' he said. Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed told PBS television in the United States that "two or three Americans" and a British woman were among the militants. She said the Americans were 'young men, about between maybe 18 and 19' years old. She said they were of Somali or Arab origin and had lived in 'in Minnesota and one other place.' Al Shabaab, which said it had been in communication with its members in the mall, dismissed the minister's comments."

I Do (Promise Not to Testify Against You in Court): New York Times: "Former Prime Minister Petr Necas of the Czech Republic and his onetime chief of staff, ensnared in the most exhaustive anticorruption sting operation in the Czech Republic since the fall of communism, were married in a secret ceremony on Saturday, the Czech media reported on Tuesday. The move was variously viewed by analysts as a declaration of love or a cynical ploy to avoid prosecution. ... Under Czech law, family members cannot be compelled to testify against one another, and analysts said this could make it difficult for prosecutors to prove that any order to offer bribes came from the former prime minister."

Chicago Arrests: USA Today: "Four men have been arrested and charged with attempted murder in the drive-by shooting at a Chicago park last week that wounded 13 people, including a 3-year-old boy who was shot in the face, Chicago's police superintendent said Tuesday. Police alleged that Tabari Young, 22, allegedly opened fire with a military-grade weapon -- likely an AK-47 -- as he and a companion sped by Cornell Square Park in the southwest side neighborhood of Back of the Yards on Thursday. Young, along with Brad Jett, 22, Bryon Champ, 21, and Kewane Gatewood, 20, were charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm. ... [Police] said there was no specific target, but that the shooters went to the park because it was rival gang territory."

A Senate First: NBC News: "By a unanimous vote, the Senate on Tuesday confirmed the nation’s first openly gay federal circuit judge. The vote was 98-0 to approve Todd Hughes, previously a Department of Justice lawyer, to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. He will be the highest-ranking openly gay judge in the nation's history. ... Hughes will be the eighth openly gay federal judge with a lifetime appointment. Seven openly gay judges have previously been confirmed to serve on district courts. "

That's all for today. See you back here tomorrow. Until then, tell your friends to subscribe or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.

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