Meet Iran’s new president

June 17, 2013

Iran picks new president, Putin and Obama prepare to face off, and Greek PM feels the heat from TV shutdown. Today is Monday, June 17, a good day to celebrate Iceland, and here’s the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner and @clarerrrr.

Iranian President-elect Hassan Rohani (C) speaks to the media following a visit to the Khomeini mausoleum in Tehran, June 16, 2013. Reuters/Fars News/Seyed Hassan Mousavi

Surprise winner in Iran’s presidential election. Sole moderate candidate Hassan Rohani won a resounding victory in Friday’s elections, sending tens of thousands of reformists out dancing in the streets:

While no reformer himself, Rohani gained the backing of the politically sidelined but still popular leaders of the reform movement. His call for an end to an “era of extremism” won over many voters tired of the economic crises and crackdowns on free speech that marked Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency.

Rohani’s election over the candidates favored by Iran’s ruling clerics and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei seemed unlikely. In a piece for Foreign Affairs, Suzanne Maloney explains Rohani’s success in part as the result of “the bitter unhappiness of the Iranian people” over a floundering economy and deterioration of their rights. Washington hopes that Rohani will usher in a renewed relationship between Iran and the West, however it’s unclear how his presidency will affect nuclear negotiations. Check out an interactive timeline of outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s rule, and another on Iran’s contentious nuclear program.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin attends a joint news conference with Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron in 10 Downing Street, central London, June 16, 2013. The two leaders met ahead of the G8 summit in Northern Ireland. REUTERS/Anthony Devlin/Pool

Sparring over Syria. President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet face-to-face for the first time in a year during today’s G8 meeting in Northern Ireland, and it might not be pretty:

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who chairs the G8 summit in Northern Ireland, acknowledged there was “a big difference” between the positions of Russia and the West on Syria. Moscow said it would not permit no-fly zones to be imposed over Syria. U.S. President Barack Obama will meet Putin later on Monday and, in what could be a frosty encounter, will try to convince the Kremlin chief to bring Assad to the negotiating table. Putin has warned the West it risks sowing turmoil across the Middle East by arming the Syrian rebels.

Putin wondered on Sunday why the U.S. would support Syria’s rebels, “who not only kill their enemies, but open up their bodies, [and] eat their intestines.” Obama, Putin and the others present will discuss a potentially lucrative EU-U.S. trade deal and tax avoidance in addition to the Syria crisis during the talks.

An employee stands at the reception hall in the Greek state television ERT headquarters in Athens, June 14, 2013. REUTERS/John Kolesidis

Media meltdown. Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras faces a court hearing on Monday that could overturn his decision to temporarily shutter state media outlet ERT, in addition to internal strife that threatens the stability of his government:

ERT’s abrupt closure last week in the name of austerity to please EU and IMF lenders triggered a deep rift in the ruling coalition, throwing the debt-choked nation back into turmoil just as faint hopes of a recovery had begun to sprout. Exactly a year after a general election brought Samaras and his two leftist allies to power, the three parties have fed fears of hugely disruptive snap polls by refusing to compromise over an entity widely unloved until its shock overnight closure. “It’s clear that over the last days any semblance of logic in dealing with this issue has been lost,” said Costas Panagopoulos, head of ALCO pollsters. “The most absurd thing is that we are talking about a possible destruction of the country over ERT.”

Opinion polls showed that Greeks were especially jarred by how quickly their screens went dark, cutting off newscasters mid-sentence. Samaras dismissed the possibility of early elections over the shutdown, but experts say a summer poll is possible.

Nota Bene: Young Turkish protesters seek liberty, not revolution.


Diplomatic dance – Nuclear physicist Yousaf Butt explains why missile defense negotiations are like Kabuki theater. (Reuters)

God’s work – A new banker tries to clean up the Vatican’s money mess. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Terrorist ties – Mursi’s selection for the governor of Luxor leaves Egyptians shaken. (The New York Times)

Live Q&A – NSA leaker Edward Snowden is taking your questions. (The Guardian)

Hot bling – President Putin didn’t steal that Super Bowl ring, he swears. (CNN)

From the File:

  • Protests highlight Egypt’s unfinished revolution.
  • Pope Francis meets Venezuela’s new president.
  • Over 1,200 migrants brave perilous sea to reach Italy.
  • North Korea offers high-level talks with U.S.
  • Bangladesh disaster crushes ethical business ideal.
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