Iranian minister urges new approach

Iran’s foreign minister said Friday that both Iran and the West need a new approach if negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program are to succeed.

Mohammad Javad Zarif said at a conference on disarmament in Istanbul that a decade of failed negotiations has led to consequences that neither side wanted. To Western dismay, Iran has drastically boosted its ability to enrich uranium. To Iran’s detriment, international sanctions have hurt its economy.

“We have both seen the nuclear issue as a zero-sum game,” he said. “I hope we have come to an understanding that the approach was wrong.”

The rhetoric is consistent with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s outreach to the West since he was elected in June.

Later, Zarif flew to Ankara for meetings Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The relationship between the two countries has been strained over the civil war in Syria, in which Iran backs the government of President Bashar al-Assad and Turkey supports the rebels. Davutoglu and Zarif said it was in both countries’ interests to contain the sectarian tensions sparked by the conflict in Syria.

“We agree to work together against extremism, which is a great threat,” Zarif said at a joint news conference in Ankara.

— Associated Press

Episode of popular satire show is pulled

A private Egyptian TV station halted the airing of the latest episode of a popular political satire program after the program came under fire for mocking the ultranationalist, pro-military fervor gripping the country.

Minutes before the “El-Bernameg,” or “The Program,” was to air Friday night, the private CBC channel announced that it would not be shown, saying that satirist Bassem Youssef and his producer had violated editorial policies.

The weekly program is prerecorded. Last week, Youssef, who is often compared to Jon Stewart, returned to the air after a four-month hiatus and roundly mocked the popular mania for the military, including its chief, Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sissi. Youssef left for the United Arab Emirates on Friday.

— Associated Press

Toronto mayor allies seek release of video

Backers of embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford called Friday for police to release a video that appears to show him smoking a crack pipe, as residents of Canada’s largest city called for the mayor’s resignation.

Ford’s lawyer and the mayor’s brother, a city councilor, attacked Police Chief Bill Blair for talking publicly about the video despite acknowledging it does not provide grounds for charges. Police announced Thursday that they had recovered the video during a surveillance operation.

“The chief said yesterday there is no evidence to charge him criminally in reference to this tape, so what the heck?” said Dennis Morris, Ford’s lawyer. “He wasn’t elected by the College of Cardinals, and he shouldn’t be pontificating.”

— Associated Press

Japan pushes back against Chinese allegation: Japan denied disrupting recent Chinese military exercises in the western Pacific Ocean — an allegation made in an official protest by China a day earlier that marked the latest friction over territory between Asia’s two biggest economies. “It is not true that we carried out dangerous actions that interfered with the Chinese Navy’s exercises,” Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said, adding that Japan had lodged a counter-protest with China.

New law permits “third-gender” baby registration in Germany: A law has gone into effect allowing German parents to register their newborn babies as neither male nor female if they were born with traits of both sexes. The German Ethics Council, an advisory group, had urged the change to take the pressure off parents to make a hasty decision and possibly commit to surgery immediately after birth, German media reported.

Golden Dawn members shot dead in Greece: A drive-by shooting killed two members of Greece’s Nazi-inspired Golden Dawn party and wounded one outside a party office in Athens, in what officials were treating as a likely far-left domestic terrorist attack. The government and opposition parties quickly condemned the attack, which the left-wing main opposition coalition Syriza said “targets democracy” in Greece.

Curious crowds disrupt landmark new train service in Turkey: Turks intrigued by Istanbul’s new underwater rail line linking Europe and Asia are overcrowding trains by riding to and fro under the Bosphorus, forcing the closure of one station and causing delays by pressing emergency stop buttons, state railways said.

— From news services