World News Brief, Wednesday September 25

Obama and Iranian president Hassan Rouhani to address UN General Assembly; China bans exports of possible weapons components to North Korea; limits on foreign workers in Singapore; Egypt bans Muslim Brotherhood activities; Russia accuses Greenpeace of piracy; and more

Top of the Agenda: Iran Takes Center Stage at UN

There is rare excitement at the annual UN General Assembly meeting, where President Barack Obama and Iranian president Hassan Rouhani will deliver speeches today as Tehran continues a charm offensive that could lead to a breakthrough in nuclear talks and sanctions (WaPo). President Obama is expected to signal willingness to engage Iran, but will remain firm in his call for a UN Security Council resolution to dismantle Syria's chemical weapons (AP). Moscow said it hoped to reach an agreement on Syria this week, but that talks with the United States "are not going so smoothly" (Reuters).


"For years, many have noted that the problems in the Middle East are so intricately related that it would be hard to solve each on its own. Obama may have before him a rare convergence of events, factors, and forces where at least some of those problems can be dealt with simultaneously. He has a remarkable chance to pull the gold ring," CFR Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow Fred Kaplan writes for Slate.

"On that diplomatic chessboard, and before a big crowd that has gathered to watch the protagonists in a standoff with high stakes, it is easy to see the American player being decisively outclassed. There is cunning aplenty in Persia, an eye for that exact moment when one's rival has been trapped," writes Fouad Ajami for Bloomberg.

"The president also faces domestic risks with Iran. Having been burned once before, Obama will be pilloried by critics as a congenital naïf if talks collapse. But it is a wager the president cannot avoid, for it presents the best opportunity for a nuclear deal with Teheran that he is likely to see. And in diplomacy, as in much of life, nothing ventured, nothing gained," writes CFR Senior Fellow Stewart M. Patrick.



China Bans Some Exports to North Korea

China's commerce ministry banned the export of dual use materials and technology that could be used by North Korea to build weapons of mass destruction, such as nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons (Yonhap). North Korea conducted its third nuclear test in February.

SINGAPORE: New regulations will limit employers from recruiting foreign workers in Singapore, giving Singaporeans a better chance to land a job amid intense competition from foreign labor (Reuters).


Egypt bans Muslim Brotherhood activities

Russia accuses Greenpeace of piracy

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