The inauguration of the new president of Iran, Hasan Rouhani, presents “an opportunity” for Tehran to resolve concerns over its nuclear programme and better engage with the West, the Obama administration said on Sunday.
In a statement marking the formal handing over of power to the moderate cleric from his hardline predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the White House congratulated the Iranian people for “making their voices heard” and calling for “change”. It added that should the new government in Iran move towards meeting its “international obligations”, then it would find a “willing partner in the United States”.
But the apparent olive branch comes amid hawkish calls in Washington for tougher sanctions on Tehran and the possibility of military action if no resolution is found. In a letter sent to President Barack Obama, 76 senators demanded tougher economic punishment for Iran until the Islamic republic scales back its nuclear ambitions. It also urged Obama to keep all options on the table, while keeping the door open to diplomacy.
“Until we see a significant slowdown of Iran’s nuclear activities, we believe our nation must toughen sanctions and reinforce the credibility of our option to use military force at the same time as we fully explore a diplomatic solution to our dispute with Iran,” the letter states, according to a version seen by the Associated Press.
The letter comes just days after the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed new restrictions on Iran’s oil sector and its mining and construction industries. Senators are expected to take up the same package in September.
The stance from Congress is at odds with that of the Obama administration, which has pursued a softer line on Iran as it transitions the presidency. Rouhani has pledged to follow a “path of moderation” and promised greater openness over Iran’s nuclear program. The White House appears willing to give the president a chance to put those pledges into action.
The White House statement said: “We note that President Rouhani recognised his election represented a call by the Iranian people for change, and we hope the new Iranian government will heed the will of the voters by making choices that will lead to a better life for the Iranian people. The inauguration of President Rouhani presents an opportunity for Iran to act quickly to resolve the international community’s deep concerns over Iran’s nuclear program.”
The US has long believed that Iran has been working to develop nuclear weapons. Iran insists its program is for peaceful energy and research purposes only.
The last round of talks between Iran and the wider international community over the issue broke down in April, with seemingly little progress. At that point, US secretary of state John Kerry hinted that negotiations could be heading towards a deadline, noting that the talks were not an “interminable process”. But the election of Rouhani has seemingly raised hopes of diplomatic solution to the impasse.
COVID-19 causes some patients’ immune systems to attack their own bodies — and can worsen the illness
Across the world, immunologists who retooled their labs to join the fight against SARS-CoV-2 are furiously trying to explain why some people get so sick while others recover unscathed. The pace is dizzying, but some clear trends have emerged.
One area of focus has been the production of antibodies – powerful proteins capable of disabling and killing invading pathogens like viruses. Of great concern has been the sporadic identification of so-called autoreactive antibodies that, instead of targeting disease causing microbes, target the tissues of individuals suffering from severe cases of COVID-19.
REVEALED: Kayleigh McEnany called Biden a ‘man of the people’ who connects better with the ‘middle class’ than Trump
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany is a loyal mouthpiece for President Donald Trump, both in presidential policy and against his political opponents in the election campaign. She has echoed Trump's attacks on Joe Biden, calling him a "radical socialist" and using monikers like "Sleepy."
But on Monday, CNN unearthed audio of McEnany from 2015 during an interview on New York AM970, in which she offered a very different view.
"I think the Republicans run into a problem if it is Joe Biden and if it is maybe a Trump on the other side," said McEnany. "Because Joe Biden, one of the things he is remarkable at is really kind of being a man of the people and resonating with middle class voters. Feeling like — coming off as human. His gaffes — as much as we make fun of them — to a certain extent they make him look human. So not, since he's likable."
Trump whines that he shouldn’t be blamed for ‘Lock Her Up!’ chants — as his supporters chant it
President Donald J. Trump refuted responsibility for his rally cries of "lock her up" during a campaign stop in Martinsburg, Penn. Monday.
"Lock her up," the crowds chanted. To which Trump replied, "Now [the chants] are happening with [Joe] Biden because that's a crime family, frankly. But every time that happens, when they say, 'lock her up,' they always blame me and I have nothing to do with it."
Watch the video below.
After the crowd chants "lock her up!" for Hillary Clinton, Trump says "now [the chants] are happening with Biden because that's a crime family, frankly. But every time that happens, when they say 'lock her up,' they always blame me & I have nothing to do with it." pic.twitter.com/SjKrfadJIv