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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Iranians celebrate into Sunday after moderate Hassan Rohani elected president - Rohani, a Shi'ite cleric and former chief nuclear negotiator with Western powers, received a resounding mandate for change from Iranians weary of years of economic decline under U.N. and Western sanctions and security clampdowns on dissent.

His victory goes some way to repairing the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic, punctured four years ago when an election marred by fraud allegations led to mass unrest, and may give leverage for reformist voices muzzled since then to re-emerge.

But the hopeful reaction abroad was tempered by skepticism that Rohani could overcome the mistrust and alienation prevailing between Tehran and much of the world, and arch-enemy Israel warned against any complacency on Iran's disputed quest for nuclear power.

"The international community must not give in to wishful thinking or temptation and loosen the pressure on Iran for it to stop its nuclear program," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. has more here.


Obama Heads To Ireland for G-8 Summit - President Obama will be the one getting grilled at the G8 summit beginning Monday in Northern Ireland.
The National Security Agency’s collection of online data has created a firestorm of controversy in Europe, where privacy is highly valued.

U.S. allies are expected to press Obama over the issue in one-on-one meetings, and the fight over the programs threaten to be a distraction from White House goals to reach consensus on the next steps in Syria. has more here.


Obama, Putin to Meet Privately at G-8 Summit - In the year since U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin last met face to face, tens of thousands of Syrians have been killed and hundreds of thousands have fled that country’s raging civil war. So Syria will likely monopolize what’s expected to be a short, one-hour bilateral meeting on the sidelines of next week’s G-8 summit in Northern Ireland.

There is some common ground – the U.S. and Russia both support peace talks in Geneva between Syrian strongman Bashar al Assad’s regime and the rebel coalition, though Russia has criticized the U.S. for insufficiently pressuring the rebels to commit. NBC News has more here.


North Korea Proposes Talks with U.S. -North Korea's top government body is proposing high-level nuclear and security talks with the United States days after a planned meeting with rival South Korea collapsed.

The National Defense Commission said Sunday that the talks should ease tensions and achieve peace and security on the Korean Peninsula. has more here.


Turkish Riot Police Clear Park - Workers cleaned up debris Sunday after Turkish riot police stormed an Istanbul park and forced out protesters, sending them scurrying into neighboring streets in a fog of tear gas and water.

Protesters have turned Gezi Park into a ground zero of anti-government demonstrations.
At least 29 people were injured in clashes Saturday as police sealed off Taksim Square and took Gezi Park, Istanbul Gov. Huseyin Avni Mutlu said.
Police had warned demonstrators who have occupied Istanbul's last remaining green space for more than two weeks to depart voluntarily or face being ejected.
By early Sunday morning, most protesters had dispersed and the cleanup was under way. Erdogan supporters plan to stage a counter demonstration Sunday at a different location. has more here.
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