3 things you must know this week…
1) On Thursday, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, rejected the idea of bilateral talks with the United States in a speech to air force leaders in Tehran. Khamenei was […]
1) On Thursday, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, rejected the idea of bilateral talks with the United States in a speech to air force leaders in Tehran. Khamenei was responding to a speech made by Vice President Joe Biden last Saturday, in which he said the United States would be open to a bilateral talk with the Iranian government as long as there was an agenda. Many Iranian government officials, like President Ahmadinejad and Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, expressed interests in talks with the United States because their Western sanctions are crippling the local economy. However, the Ayatollah’s objection is an edict to which all public officials must adhere.
2) On Wednesday morning, the General Secretary of the secular Tunisian Democratic Patriots party, Chokri Belaid, was killed outside his home by two unidentified gunmen. Mr. Belaid was one of Tunisia’s best-known human rights defenders and a staunch critic of the ruling Islamist party, and as such, his death sparked protests throughout the cradle of the Arab Spring. Uncertainty now grips the Tunisian government, as the governing Islamist party, Ennahda, rejected a proposal by Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali to form a government of national unity. The death of a beloved opposition leader has reverberated throughout the region as all eyes watch Tunisia’s experiment in democracy, which attempts to blend Islamist and center-left parties in a coalition government.
3) On Tuesday, the British House of Commons voted to approve a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in Britain. While the bill faces one more vote in the Commons and a vote in the House of Lords, the approval indicates that a significant number of MPs support the measure. Though Prime Minister David Cameron has advocated for the measure, more than half of the MPs in his Conservative Party voted against the bill or abstained. This rebellion indicates a growing sense of frustration among backbench Conservatives about Cameron’s leadership. The bill would permit civil marriage between same sex couples, but exempt the Church of England and other faiths who do not believe in same sex marriage from performing such ceremonies.
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