By Erin McClam, Staff Writer, NBC News
“NEW YORK — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday that his country poses “absolutely no threat to the world,” and sanctions that have crippled its economy are “violent — pure and simple.”
In his first address to the world body, hours after President Barack Obama spoke, Rouhani also said he is prepared to engage in “time-bound” talks to resolve the dispute over Tehran‘s nuclear program.
Rouhani’s closely watched visit to the United Nations followed a series of diplomatic overtures the centrist-leaning cleric has made to the West since he was elected to replace hard-liner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and he stressed his moderate credentials.”
By Eugene Robinson, Opinion Writer
The Obama administration keeps undermining its own case for a punitive strike in Syria. If the president wants permission from Congress and support from the American people, he and his aides had better get their story straight.
The “messaging,” to use an unfortunate Washington term, has been confusing, contradictory and halfhearted. The nation simply will not approve going to war if its leaders cannot coherently explain what they want to do, how they plan to do it and why.
Secretary of State John Kerry threw mud into turbid waters Monday when he said the attack would be an “unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.” This punch line came at the end of a string of similar assurances: no “troops on the ground,” nothing “prolonged,” merely a “very targeted, short-term” affair.
But if the attack is designed to be so limited, why bother? Why not just send a special envoy to give Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad a stern talking-to, followed perhaps by a reassuring hug?