Obama Addresses Iran, Syria In UN Speech - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Obama To Address Iran, Syria In UN Speech

Posted: Updated:
New York, NY -

(FOX 11 / AP) Seeking to build on diplomatic opportunities, President Barack Obama is expected to signal his willingness to engage with the new Iranian government if Tehran makes nuclear concessions long sought by the U.S. and Western allies.

Obama, in a planned address to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday morning, also will call on U.N. Security Council members to approve a resolution that would mandate consequences for Syria if it fails to cooperate with a plan to turn its chemical weapons stockpiles over to the international community.

The president's address will be closely watched for signs that he may meet later in the day with Iranian President Hasan Rouhani, a moderate cleric who has been making friendly gestures toward the U.S. in recent weeks. Even a brief encounter would be significant given that the leaders of the U.S. and Iran haven't had face-to-face contact in more than 30 years.

U.S. officials say no meeting was planned, though they hadn't ruled out the possibility that one might be added. The most likely opportunity appeared to be at a U.N. leaders' lunch Tuesday.

Rouhani was scheduled to address the U.N. General Assembly late Tuesday afternoon.

The possibility of a thaw in relations with Iran was expected to factor heavily in Obama's address to the U.N. In a preview of the president's speech, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said Obama would discuss "our openness to diplomacy and the prospect for a peaceful resolution of this issue that allows Iran to rejoin the community of nations should they come in line with their international obligations and demonstrate that their nuclear program is peaceful."

The U.S. and its allies long have suspected that Iran is trying to produce a nuclear weapon, though Tehran insists its nuclear activities are only for producing energy and for medical research.

American officials say Rouhani's change in tone is driven by the Iranian public's frustration with crippling economic sanctions levied by the U.S. But it is still unclear whether Iran is willing to take the steps the U.S. is seeking in order to ease the sanctions, including curbing uranium enrichment and shutting down the Fordo underground nuclear facility.

State Department officials said Secretary of State John Kerry would seek to answer that question Thursday when new Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif joins nuclear talks between the U.S. and five other world powers. Zarif's participation, which was announced Monday, sets up the first meeting in six years between an American secretary of state and an Iranian foreign minister, though it was unclear whether the two men would break off from the group and hold separate one-on-one talks.

Also high on Obama's agenda at the U.N. was rallying Security Council support for a resolution that would establish consequences for Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime if it failed to adhere to a U.S-Russian plan to turn over its chemical weapons.

Under the agreement, inspectors are to be in Syria by November and all components of the chemical weapons program are to be removed from the country or destroyed by the middle of next year. The U.S. wants the Security Council to approve a resolution making the U.S.-Russian agreement legally binding in a way that is verifiable and enforceable.

But a key obstacle remains, given U.S. and Russian disagreement over whether to put the resolution under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter. Chapter 7 deals with threats to international peace and security and has provisions for enforcement by military or nonmilitary means, such as sanctions. Russia is sure to veto any resolution that includes a mandate for military action.

Rhodes said Obama also would address tenuous progress on a new round of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. And he was to address other developments in the Arab world, including in Egypt, where the nation's first democratically elected president was ousted this summer in a military coup.

  • PoliticsMore>>

  • cEU Imposes New Sanctions Against Russian Officials

    cEU Imposes New Sanctions Against Russian Officials

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:28 PM EDT2014-07-22 17:28:55 GMT
    The European Union agreed Tuesday to impose new sanctions against officials deemed responsible for Russia's actions in Ukraine, amid mounting international anger after a Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down over rebel-held territory.
    The European Union agreed Tuesday to impose new sanctions against officials deemed responsible for Russia's actions in Ukraine, amid mounting international anger after a Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down over rebel-held territory.
  • Congressman Adam Schiff: These Are Tough Situations To Deal With

    Congressman Adam Schiff: These Are Tough Situations To Deal With

    Monday, July 21 2014 10:40 AM EDT2014-07-21 14:40:38 GMT
    Pick a spot on the globe and there seems to be a crisis the United States is dealing with.Joining us to discuss the situations in the Middle East and the Ukraine was Congressman Adam Schiff.
    Pick a spot on the globe and there seems to be a crisis the United States is dealing with.Joining us to discuss the situations in the Middle East and the Ukraine was Congressman Adam Schiff.
  • Israeli Shells Hit Hospital In Gaza, Official Says

    Israeli Shells Hit Hospital In Gaza, Official Says

    Monday, July 21 2014 10:32 AM EDT2014-07-21 14:32:23 GMT
    Israeli tank shells struck a hospital in the Gaza Strip on Monday, killing four people and wounding 60, Palestinian officials said, as Israel's defense minister vowed to press on with the war against Hamas "as long as necessary."
    Israeli tank shells struck a hospital in the Gaza Strip on Monday, killing four people and wounding 60, Palestinian officials said, as Israel's defense minister vowed to press on with the war against Hamas "as long as necessary."
Powered by WorldNow

WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
5151 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
Main Number: (202) 244-5151
Newsroom: (202) 895-3000
fox5tips@wttg.com

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices