US Secretary of State John Kerry: United States is ready to engage with new Iranian regime; Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Robert D. Hormats: The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has become a key component of our economic
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  • According to reports, despite having reservations on the transparency of the electoral process, the United States said it is ready to engage directly with the Iranian Government led by its newly elected President moderate Hassan Rowhani with the hope that the new leader will honour international obligations. United States’ Secretary of State John Kerry on June 15, stated, “We, along with our international partners, remain ready to engage directly with the Iranian government. We hope they will honour their international obligations to the rest of the world in order to reach a diplomatic solution that will fully address the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program,”. Both Secretary of State Kerry and the White House issued similar statements after Iran’s Interior Ministry declared moderate cleric Rowhani winner of the country’s 11th presidential election. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, “It is our hope that the Iranian government will heed the will of the Iranian people and make responsible choices that create a better future for all Iranians. 1

    In another development, according to reports, US Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, Robert D. Hormats has stated, “The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has become a key component of our economic policy in the Asia-Pacific region. The TPP is intended to be a far-reaching trade agreement that brings together some of the largest and fastest growing economies of the Pacific Rim, including Japan, which will join the negotiations in about six weeks’ time. Through the TPP, we are pursuing a rules-based and high-standard regional economic and trade architecture.” Hormats was making remarks on “U.S. Economic Engagement with the Asia Pacific” at the Asia Society Global Forum on June 12, 2013 in Washington, DC. He also noted that “no discussion of engagement in the Asia-Pacific region would be complete without a reference to the Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor. The United States sees great value in integrating India into the Asia-Pacific architecture and strongly supports the Government of India’s efforts to improve trade and connectivity in Southeast Asia – a region with which it shares many historical and cultural links. The creation of an Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor, linking the economies of India, Bangladesh, and Southeast Asia, holds great promise for greater trade and cooperation throughout the region.” 2

    Reports noted that the US Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into the leaks of classified information about secret electronic surveillance programmes to get details of phone calls of its citizens and to gather data trails left by foreigners using internet outside America. The US Justice Department spokeswoman Nanda Chitre, stated, "The Department of Justice is in the initial stages of an investigation into the unauthorised disclosure of classified information by an individual with authorised access,". The US statement came hours after British newspaper The Guardian released a video interview with Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old who claimed responsibility for being the source of the information about the secret intelligence practices of National Security Agency (NSA) of the US. Snowden said he leaked the information because he disagreed with the agency's surveillance practices. "I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded," he told The Guardian newspaper. It would be worth noting that Snowden is a former technical assistant for the CIA and has been working at the NSA for the past four years as an employee of various outside contractors, the paper reported. Meanwhile, the Office of Director of National Intelligence on June 9 said that it is currently assessing the damage that has been caused to the national security by this leak. 3

    Meanwhile, according to reports, Army Gen. Keith Alexander, National Security Agency (NSA)’s director and head of U.S. Cyber Command under fire for the widespread surveillance of U.S. phones and Internet servers told lawmakers on June 12 that such data collections have foiled "dozens" of terrorist plots. Addressing the simmering controversy in the first open congressional hearing on this issue, he defended the collection of phone records and online data of millions of Americans, saying such practices were essential to protecting the homeland. But while Alexander credited the programs with preventing dozens of attacks, he told the Senate Appropriations Committee that he didn't have an exact count. He said he would provide a number by week's end. 4

    According to reports, India’s National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon has spoken to US ambassador to India Nancy Powell regarding reports that India is the fifth most tracked country by the American intelligence. The matter was taken up on June 11 by Menon and Powell during their preparatory discussions ahead of the India-US strategic dialogue later this month, sources said, adding that the envoy said the US itself was still studying the issue. India had earlier said it was “concerned and surprised” by the reports regarding the American intelligence using a secret data-mining programme to monitor worldwide internet data. 5