It is interesting that the focus is back to Iran's nuclear development as the UN begins a big week:
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s United Nations speechTuesday was a public relations stunt to lull the west into believing that Tehran had softened its stance on its nuclear weapons program, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned overnight Tuesday.
“It was a cynical speech full of hypocrisy,” said Netanyahu in a statement he issued from Jerusalem hours after the newly elected Iranian president made his first appearance before the General Assembly in New York.
Upon Netanyahu’s ordersthe Israeli delegation was not in the General Assembly plenum when Rouhani spoke.
Rouhani has promised world leaders that Iran’s nuclear program was for peaceful purposed and that nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction had no place in his country.
After listening to US President Barack Obama’s speech earlier Tuesday, Rouhani said he believed that that a framework could be created “to manage our difference.”
“It is no coincidence that the speech lacked both any practical proposal to stop Iran's military nuclear program and any commitment to fulfill UN Security Council decisions,” Netanyahu said.
He warned that Tehran’s strategy was to use negotiations with the West on its nuclear program as a fig leaf to hide its continued pursuit of nuclear weapons, Netanyahu said.
From the pulpit of the General Assembly in New York City, Rouhani denounced international economic sanctions levied against the Islamic Republic of Iran as belligerent, blamed “outside actors” for fanning the flames of civil war in Syria, and condemned the ”institutionalized aggression against the innocent Palestinian people.”
“Palestine is under occupation,” he said.
In a possible veiled reference to Israel, Rouhani added: “Let me say this in all sincerity before this august world assembly, that based on irrefutable evidence, those who harp on the so-called threat of Iran are either a threat against international peace and security themselves or promote such a threat. Iran poses absolutely no threat to the world or the region. In fact, in ideals as well as in actual practice, my country has been a harbinger of just peace and comprehensive security.”
After a lengthy discourse that drew on post-colonial conceptions of world power dynamics, Rouhani began to deliver what could be interpreted as thinly veiled warnings.
“Any miscalculation of one’s position and of course that of others will bear historic damages. A mistake of one actor will have a negative impact on others,” he said. He warned that outdated mindsets – of the hegemony of the global north, of the division of the world into a bipolar “Cold War structure” of good and bad, and the efforts of nameless actors “to redraw borders and frontiers” – would have dangerous results.
Iran’s president called Israel a threat to the region Sunday while insisting his own country is “loyal” to its pledge not to seek nuclear weapons.
The comments by Hasan Rouhani came on the eve of his trip to New York to attend the UN General Assembly, and amid a charm offensive aimed at thawing ties with the West.
Speaking at a military parade to mark the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war, the recently elected president also said that he seeks to resume talks with world powers to settle the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program.
Rouhani did not mention Israel by name at the military event — which displayed missiles capable of reaching Israel and US bases in the region — but the reference was clear.
“A regime is a threat for the region that has trampled all international treaties regarding weapons of mass destruction,” he said, noting Israel’s undeclared but widely presumed nuclear arsenal. “No nation will accept war and diplomacy on (the same) table.”
Among the displayed weapons were 12 of the surface-to-surface Sajjil, a two-stage, solid-fuel ballistic missile that has a 2,000-km (1,200-mile) range.
There were also Qadr-F and Qadr-H missiles, which have a similar range and are capable of carrying a “smart warhead” with “excessive explosive” power, according to the announcement in the parade.
Shorter-range missiles in the parade included the Fajr-5, which Palestinian groups have used against Israeli targets in attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza.
Iran for Palestine — those three words sum up the key message Barack Obama directed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his speech Tuesday to the United Nations General Assembly.But what might have raised eyebrows in Jerusalem was Obama’s not-so subtle linkage of the Iranian nuclear threat with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
“In the near term, America’s diplomatic efforts will focus on two particular issues: Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, and the Arab-Israeli conflict,” Obama said, opening the central, major section of his speech. “While these issues are not the cause of all the region’s problems, they have been a major source of instability for far too long, and resolving them can help serve as a foundation for a broader peace.”
For diplomacy to succeed, he said, Iran’s “conciliatory words will have to be matched by actions that are transparent and verifiable.” He did not say what would happen if this did not transpire.
And then, immediately after talking about Tehran’s nuclear program, the leader of the free world turned to “a conflict that goes back even further than our differences with Iran: the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis.”
The obvious juxtaposition of the two, not directly related issues, suggested that Obama seeks to revive a venerable formula known in Hebrew as “Gar’in tmurat Falestin” — the nuclear issue in exchange for Palestine.
Knowing that Netanyahu sees the prevention of a nuclear armed Iran as an absolute imperative — it’s his life’s mission, one that he’s absolutely obsessed with, people close to the prime minister intimate — the linkage offered the interpretation that Obama remained determined to thwart Iran’s nuclear quest, but also to ensure that Jerusalem show itself increasingly forthcoming on the Palestinian quest for statehood.
In a recent interview with Haaretz’s Ari Shavit, outgoing Israeli ambassador to the US Michael Oren implicitly confirmed that the “Gar’in tmurat Falestin” had been tried, unsuccessfully.
“Would you agree that the right deal was an obvious deal: Palestine for Iran. But this deal was not brought to fruition. Obama did not stop Iran and Netanyahu did not take historic action on Palestine,” Shavit asked Oren.
With Obama having specified Tuesday that the Iranian nuclear issue and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are the two current key focuses of his foreign policy, Netanyahu will likely hear from the president, at their meeting in the White House scheduled for next Monday, the promise of a firm American stance on the nuclear issue and the expectation of a generous Israeli position regarding Palestinian peace negotiations.
A powerful earthquake of 7.7 magnitude has killed at least 50 people in a remote area of south-west Pakistan, local officials say.
It struck at 16:29 (11:29 GMT) at a depth of 20km (13 miles), 66km north-east of Awaran in Balochistan province, the US Geological Survey said.
It was felt as far away as Karachi, Hyderabad, and India's capital, Delhi.
After the quake, a small island appeared off the coast near the port of Gwadar, witnesses reported.
People gathered on the beach to see the new island, which is about 9m (30ft) high and 100m long, Gwadar Police Chief Pervez Umrani said.
Balochistan is Pakistan's largest but least populated province.
Awaran deputy commissioner Abdul Rasheed Gogazai and the spokesman of Pakistan's Frontier Corps involved in the rescue effort said at least 45 people had been killed.
A spokesman for Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority, Mirza Kamran Zia, says the death toll is likely to rise.
Many of the casualties were from Labach, on the northern outskirts of Awaran town. There are reports of some people trapped under the rubble of collapsed houses.
Abdul Qadoos, deputy speaker of the Balochistan assembly, told Reuters news agency that at least 30% of houses in Awaran district had collapsed.
Houses are also reported to have caved in in the district of Khuzdar.
Officials in the regional capital, Quetta, said some areas may have suffered serious damage but the remoteness made early assessment impossible.
Did Iran's new Pres. call on the Mahdi like Ahmadinejad used to do?
Thats actually a great question - from my readings thus far, I haven't seen that stated. I think he is a lot more covert and sneaky than Ahmadinejad - and unfortunately, probably more successful at hiding his intentions. So it wouldn't surprise me if he doesn't do this in a public or western forum.
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