Obama Directs Kerry To Pursue Iranian Nuclear Deal04:39
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U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013. (Richard Drew/AP)
U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013. (Richard Drew/AP)

President Barack Obama on Tuesday welcomed the new Iranian government's pursuit of a "more moderate course," saying it should offer the basis for a breakthrough on Iran's nuclear impasse with the United Nations and the U.S. He signaled a willingness to directly engage Iran's leaders, tasking Secretary of State John Kerry with pursuing that diplomacy with Tehran.

"The roadblocks may prove to be too great, but I firmly believe the diplomatic path must be tested," Obama said during an address to the U.N. General Assembly.

Obama issued a stern message to the international body itself, saying its ability to meet the test of the times is being challenged by the dispute over what to do about Syria's chemical weapons. He called on the U.N. Security Council to pass a resolution that would enforce consequences on Syrian President Bashar Assad if he fails to follow a U.S.-Russian deal to turn his chemical weapon stockpiles over to the international community.

NPR's Ari Shapiro joins Here & Now to discuss Obama's remarks, and expectations for a speech later today by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

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This segment aired on September 24, 2013.

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