World News Brief, Thursday September 26

US and Iran step closer to peaceful resolution; Chinese legal activist goes missing on way to human rights training course; North Korea may be close to developing nuclear warhead to fit missile; mass starvation feared in Syria; former pope denies abuse cover-up; and more


Top of the Agenda: Obama Seeks Peaceful Resolution With Iran

They didn't shake hands, but President Barack Obama and Iranian president Hassan Rouhani gave speeches, hours apart, aimed at seeking a peaceful resolution to Tehran's alleged nuclear weapons program (AP). Rouhani said Iran must retain the right to enrich uranium, while denying plans to build a nuclear weapon. In a separate interview during his New York visit, Rouhani also distanced himself from his predecessor by calling the Holocaust a crime against Jews, adding that historians could only comment on the scale (Reuters). Obama also used his speech to pressure Russia to move ahead with a strong UN Security Council resolution to dismantle Syria's chemical weapons arsenal (Bloomberg).


"This fight against testing Iran's intentions is dumb and dangerous. It's dumb because no one can possibly know just how much the new Tehran government is willing to compromise if we don't test them. Second, it's dangerous because without trying serious give-and-take diplomacy, the United States and Israel will be back on the track to war with Iran, and soon," CFR President Emeritus Leslie H. Gelb writes in the Daily Beast.

"Khamenei seems to be calculating that the U.S. is so weak now (see recent events in Syria) that it will drop sanctions and accept Iran's ambitions to dominate the Middle East in return for a cosmetic slowdown in its nuclear development. It is critical that President Obama stick to a high standard for any possible deal," CFR Senior Fellow Max Boot writes for Commentary.

"To be sure, the president's ultimate vision for world order remains liberal and internationalist … But by his fifth year on the job, Obama is no starry-eyed idealist. Indeed, his comments betrayed the weariness of a statesman acutely aware that although forces and events may be nudged incrementally in a positive direction, there is no making the world anew," writes CFR Senior Fellow Stewart M. Patrick.


InfoGuide: China's Maritime Disputes

We are delighted to announce the launch of a new interactive series called "InfoGuides." The first guide examines the escalating maritime disputes in the South China and East China Seas, pairing expert analysis with maps, timelines, infographics, and videos. Take a look.



Chinese Activist Cao Shunli Missing

Cao Shunli, a legal rights activist in China, has disappeared after she was questioned by Beijing airport police (BBC), according to Human Rights Watch. Cao was on her way to attend a UN human rights training course in Geneva and was last seen on September 14.

NORTH KOREA: Pyongyang may be just one test away from developing technology to make a nuclear warhead that fits one of North Korea's long range ballistic missiles (Yonhap).


Mass starvation feared in Syria

Former pope denies abuse cover-up


 This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on