Connect with us

World

Phuket Gazette World News: Iran to swear off nuclear; Mexico storm looting spree; Heartbroken mom of DC shooter apologizes

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– World news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Rouhani says Iran willing to forswear nuclear arms
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani vowed on Wednesday that his government would never develop nuclear weapons, his strongest signal yet that he may be seeking a diplomatic thaw with the West after decades of acrimony.

In an interview with NBC News days before he travels to New York for a U.N. appearance, the new Iranian president also insisted he had “complete authority” to negotiate a nuclear deal with the United States and other Western powers.

“We have time and again said that under no circumstances would we seek any weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, nor will we ever,” Rouhani said when asked whether he would forswear nuclear arms.

Rouhani’s conciliatory comments appeared to be another sign of his willingness to work toward a diplomatic solution in Iran’s bitter nuclear standoff with the West. Washington and its allies are intrigued but still wary, making clear they hope to see tangible steps to back up his words.

Speaking to the U.S. network at his presidential compound in Tehran, Rouhani said the tone of a letter he had received from President Barack Obama, part of a recent exchange of messages between the leaders, was “positive and constructive.”

“It could be subtle and tiny steps for a very important future,” Rouhani said six days before he is due to address the U.N. General Assembly, a speech that will be watched closely for fresh diplomatic overtures.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has said that nuclear weapons development would be inconsistent with Islamic values. But a willingness by a newly elected president to rule out nuclear arms could help provide a new opening in long-stalled international nuclear talks.

Questions remain about how much bargaining room Khamenei, a staunch promoter of Iran’s nuclear program, will give Rouhani’s government, whether in secret talks with Washington or in multilateral discussions with major powers.

Comments on Tuesday by Khamenei about the need for “flexibility” suggest a new willingness at the highest level to explore a compromise solution to Tehran’s dispute with the West.

Complete authority

“This government enters with full power and has complete authority,” Rouhani said, according to an NBC translation. “I have given the nuclear negotiations portfolio to foreign ministry. The problem won’t be from our side. We have sufficient political latitude to solve this problem.”

The White House responded cautiously.

“The world has heard a lot from President Rouhani’s administration about its desire to improve the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s relations with the international community, and President Obama believes we should test that assertion,” White House spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said.

“We hope that this new Iranian government will engage substantively in order to reach a diplomatic solution that will fully address the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.”

The United States and its allies suspect Iran is seeking bomb-making capability despite Tehran’s insistence that its program has only peaceful aims. Israel, believed to be the Middle East’s only nuclear weapons power, has repeatedly called for a credible military threat to halt Iran’s nuclear advance.

Since Rouhani was elected president in June, the centrist cleric has called for “constructive interaction” with the world, a dramatic shift in tone from the strident anti-Western rhetoric of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Obama said in a television interview on Tuesday that he was prepared to test Rouhani’s willingness to open a nuclear dialogue, but he did not back away from previous U.S. demands.

Rouhani said Obama wrote to him first, congratulating him on his election and raising “some issues of interest,” and the Iranian president responded.

Obama told Rouhani in their exchange that the United States was “ready to resolve the nuclear issue in a way that allows Iran to demonstrate that its nuclear program is for exclusively peaceful purposes,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Carney reiterated that Obama had no plans to meet Rouhani at the United Nations. But there is always the possibility the two might see each other in the U.N. corridors.

In the television interview, Rouhani did not rule out meeting Obama at the United Nations, NBC said.

In a possible gesture to ease Western concerns, Iranian authorities on Wednesday released a prominent human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who was arrested in 2010 and convicted of spreading propaganda and conspiring to harm state security. Rouhani had pledged during his election campaign to ease some political and social restrictions at home.

The U.S. State Department welcomed Sotoudeh’s release and called on Iran to release “all prisoners of conscience.”

The United States and Iran cut diplomatic relations in 1980, after students and Islamist militants stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and took American diplomats hostage.

Obama ran for president in 2008 vowing to engage with Iran. But Tehran continued its nuclear development and tough sanctions imposed by Washington and the United Nations have taken a severe toll on Iran’s economy.

Also in the NBC interview, Rouhani demurred when asked whether Iran, a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, could assure the world that Damascus would comply with a U.S.-Russia agreement to give up its chemical weapons.

“We are not the government of Syria,” Rouhani said. “We are one of the countries of this region which is asking peace and stability and the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction in the entire region.”

Looting hits Acapulco as Mexico storm death toll reaches 80
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Looting broke out in the flooded Mexican beach resort of Acapulco on Wednesday as the government struggled to reach tens of thousands of people cut off by flooding that had claimed at least 80 lives.

Stores were ransacked by looters who carried off everything from televisions to Christmas decorations after floodwaters wreaked havoc in the Pacific port that has experienced some of the worst storm damage to hit Mexico in years.

Tens of thousands of people have been trapped in the aftermath of two tropical storms that hammered vast swathes of Mexico. More than 1 million people have been affected. Acapulco’s airport terminal was under water, stranding tourists.

However there was no let-up in sight.

One of the tropical storms, Manuel, became a hurricane late on Wednesday, barrelling north along Mexico’s northwestern coast and threatening more flooding and mudslides.

Shops were plundered in the city’s upscale Acapulco neighbourhood of Diamante, home to luxury hotels and plush apartments, where dozens of cars were ruined by muddy brown floodwaters. Marines were posted outside stores to prevent further theft.

“Unfortunately, it wasn’t looting from need of food. It was stealing for stealing’s sake,” said Mariberta Medina, head of a local hoteliers’ association. “They even stole Halloween and Christmas decorations and an outboard motor.”

Acapulco’s tourist trade was already grappling with a surge in drug gang violence, which earned the city the dubious distinction of

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand11 hours ago

Tourism officials eye August reopening under “Pattaya Move On” travel scheme

Thailand12 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Covid vaccine for foreigners, PM “not going anywhere”, Boss update | June 15

Best of12 hours ago

Top 8 Affordable Hotels to stay in Bangkok

Phuket Sandbox July 1st

days
hours
minutes
seconds

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Sponsored by image

Thailand12 hours ago

Central Bankruptcy Court approves Thai Airways debt restructuring plan

Best of12 hours ago

Top 5 secret islands and beaches in Thailand

Best of13 hours ago

5 best national parks in Phuket

Thailand13 hours ago

Australian man arrested for alleged child sex abuse in Thai border town

Best of13 hours ago

10 best fruits and vegetables in Thailand

Thailand13 hours ago

3 dead in 3 truck crash in Surat Thani

Thailand14 hours ago

Bangkok Post and Fazwaz join together to galvanise property listings platform

Bangkok14 hours ago

CCSA has yet to begin talks on lifting alcohol ban at Bangkok restaurants

Coronavirus (Covid-19)14 hours ago

Yala enters lockdown today

Thailand15 hours ago

Thai police say they’ve gathered “strong evidence” on transnational drug trade

Phuket15 hours ago

Indonesian fisherman rescued after 9 days adrift at sea

Thailand16 hours ago

More than 100 cats rescued from owner

Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism3 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending