QATAR

Nuclear deal welcomed

Gulf Arab states yesterday welcomed the nuclear deal negotiated between Iran and world powers but said they would like further assurances that the United States would help them counter increasing Iranian assertiveness in the region. Speaking for the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council, Qatar's top diplomat said yesterday that the bloc had been impressed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's presentation of the agreement and explanations of how it will be verified and enforced.

IRAN

Former PM seeks comeback

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Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has launched a political campaign before February's parliamentary elections in what could prove a challenge to the moderates behind a landmark nuclear agreement reached last month. Many former allies have turned on Ahmadinejad, and two of his former vice presidents have been jailed for corruption. But the unapologetic populist is believed to command strong support in the countryside, and could be seen by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as a counterbalance to the reformers who have tried to reverse Ahmadinejad's confrontational legacy since the election of President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate, two years ago.

CANADA

Makers: We can rebuild him

The Canadian talking and tweeting hitchhiking robot that met its untimely end in the United States over the weekend might be given another chance at life. HitchBOT's co-creators Frauke Zeller and David Smith said Monday that they've been overwhelmed with support and offers to revive the robot since it was vandalized beyond repair and left on a street in Philadelphia on Saturday and they are considering rebuilding it. The robot was on a hitchhiking, social experiment adventure in the United States after trekking across Canada and parts of Europe last year. Strangers helped the immobile hitchBOT travel from place to place. The creators are not interested in investigating the incident or pressing charges. For now, they are focusing on the question, "What can be learned from this?" "We've always asked, in the context of this project: 'Can robots trust humans?' " Smith said. "And, you know, we would say at this point, mostly."