"I came away willing to believe that Rouhani is a pragmatist. ('Moderate' is a misleading term for the head of a quasi-theocratic regime.) He wants to end his country's isolation. But it remains unclear whether he has the authority to act on behalf of his government," Fareed Zakaria writes in the Washington Post.
"In the next few weeks, in a variety of conclaves and conferences, Iranian and western diplomats will test each other. It remains to be seen whether the international community will be comfortable with the new Iran retaining its nuclear plants. It seems implausible that Mr. Rouhani can escape the noose of the sanctions without offering some measurable concessions on the scope and scale of the growing nuclear program," CFR Senior Fellow Ray Takeyh writes for the Financial Times.
"If Rouhani's cabinet is to be judged on its record of human rights, Pourmohammadi's appointment is catastrophic. Accepting it without protest is tantamount to indifference to justice. However, there is also Iran's path to democracy to consider," writes Akbar Ganji for al-Jazeera.
InfoGuide: China's Maritime Disputes
We are delighted to announce the launch of a new interactive series called "InfoGuides." The first guide examines the escalating maritime disputes in the South China and East China Seas, pairing expert analysis with maps, timelines, infographics, and videos. Take a look.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights set a March 2014 deadline for the Sri Lankan government to begin a nationwide investigation into alleged human rights violations during the final battles with the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Pillay called for an international probe to conduct the inquiry (Hindu) if the government failed to begin the process.
Workers at Risk as Qatar Prepares for 2022 World Cup
Nepalese migrant laborers who are preparing Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup, soccer's biggest competition, are dying at a rate of almost one a day from heart attacks or workplace accidents, according to a Guardian investigation. Conditions amount to "modern-day slavery," the paper said.
The International Monetary Fund, one of three lenders overseeing Ireland's €85 billion bailout, disbursed €770 million of the aid package on Wednesday, saying that Ireland's economy has performed as expected but there was concern about long-term unemployment (IrishTimes).