Obama during his UNGA address.
Obama during his address at the UN General Assembly, September, 24, 2013. Photo by AP
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At the opening session of the 68th UN General Assembly, U.S. President Barack Obama said  that he was encouraged by Iranian President Hassan Rohani. In the remainder of his term in the White House, he added, U.S. Middle East policy will focus on finding diplomatic solutions to both Iran’s nuclear program and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Taking the podium a few hours later, Rohani declared that Iran is interested in resolving the nuclear dispute with the West peacefully and reiterated his pledge not to develop nuclear arms.

As for a potential encounter between the two leaders at the UN, an Obama administration official said it proved too complicated.

<Rohani's speech and Obama's speech>

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response that Rohani’s speech was cynical and hypocritical. Earlier, the prime minister ordered the Israeli delegation to boycott Rohani’s speech, referring to Iran's gestures as a "smoke sceen."

In an interview aired on Tuesday night, Rohani classified the Holocaust as a “reprehensible crime against humanity,” but fell short of explicitly disavowing the outright Holocaust-denial of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the UNGA Thursday, saying the Palestinians refuse to enter into "a vortex" of new interim agreements with Israel.

Sounding suspiciously like a done deal, Chemi Shalev writes, in their UN speeches both Obama and Rohani have presented a nearly-identical plan to resolve the impasse over Tehran’s nuclear program.

Obama’s decision to place the Iranian and Palestinian issues at the top of America’s regional agenda is a message aimed primarily at Netanyahu, which says that solving the former is linked to solving the latter, writes Barak Ravid.

Netanyahu has been given a rare new chance to address Israel’s two main challenges, Iran and the Palestinians, but the Israeli prime minister is letting history pass him by, writes Bradley Burston.

Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei coined a new phrase: “heroic flexbility.” What does it actually mean and how would it be implemented in the nuclear talks between Iran and the West? Zvi Bar’el writes on the endless interpretations in Iran. 

Anshel Pfeffer says we should stop obsessing over Rohani’s view of the Holocaust and feed the fallacy that the Nazi genocide forms the base of Israel’s foundation.