Hassan Rouhani, Iran's newly elected President, calls himself a "moderate." Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the man he'll succeed, was anything but. Does that mean Iran is ready to make the changes voters apparently wanted? What does it mean for the US, Israel and the rest of the world? Also, US intelligence chiefs detail terror plots foiled by surveillance, and as NATO formally transfers authority to the government of Afghanistan, the US agrees to talks with the Taliban.
FROM THIS EPISODE
The House Intelligence Committee heard a defense of the government's sweeping surveillance program today. General Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, told the committee, "In the 12 years since the attacks on 9/11, we have lived in relative safety and security as a nation. That security is a direct result of the intelligence community's quiet efforts to better connect the dots and learn from the mistakes that permitted the attacks to occur in 9/11." Ken Dilanian is national security correspondent for the Los Angeles Times.
Hassan Rouhani will succeed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as President of Iran -- an election outcome considered a slap in the face of the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who handpicked several candidates for the race to succeed the abrasive Ahmadinejad. But Khamenei is still the Supreme Leader, and he could prevent Rouhani from keeping the promises that led to his surprising victory. Will Iranians see an improved economy? Will the US and Israel see proof that Iran's nuclear program is designed for energy rather than weapons? We hear from optimists and skeptics about whether the power brokers will accept political change.
Borzou Daragahi, BuzzFeed News (@borzou)
Juan Cole, University of Michigan (@jricole)
Michael Rubin, American Enterprise Institute (@mrubin1971)
Nazila Fathi, journalist and author (@nazilafathi)
The NATO coalition formally turned over authority to the Afghan government today, as the US and the Taliban announced that direct talks will begin next week. Today's transfer of authority has been long anticipated. Talks with the Taliban are a surprise. Peter Tomsen, who was US special envoy and ambassador to Afghanistan from 1989 until 1992, is author of The Wars in Afghanistan: Messianic Terrorism, Tribal Conflicts, and the Failures of Great Powers.
Peter Tomsen, author and former diplomat
More From To the Point
LATEST BLOG POSTS
Cartoonist Roz Chast on Manhattan: ‘I feel more alive when I’m there’ Part of the pleasure of reading Roz Chast’s cartoons in the New Yorker is realizing your life isn’t so miserable after all. Her characters live in a world filled with… Read More
Handlebar’s Sandra Adu Zelli on the 5 best ingredients for a kickass winter salad People in Santa Barbara aren’t used to standing in line. The one exception may be Handlebar Coffee Roasters, where it’s common to see cyclists and hipsters waiting out the door.… Read More