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Today we have an interview with Iran’s top diplomat, who said Tehran had told the US through back channels that it did not want the Israel-Hamas war to spread further but that it also warned Washington that regional conflict could be unavoidable if Israeli attacks on Gaza continued.
“Over the past 40 days, messages have been exchanged between Iran and the US, via the US interests section at the Swiss embassy in Tehran,” foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told the Financial Times, while ruling out the possibility of direct talks between the two foes.
“In response to the US,” he added, “we said that Iran does not want the war to spread, but due to the approach adopted by the US and Israel in the region, if the crimes against the people of Gaza and the West Bank are not stopped, any possibility could be considered, and a wider conflict could prove inevitable.”
Iran, the main supporter of anti-Israel Islamist militants in the region, has said it was not informed in advance of Hamas’s devastating attack on Israel on October 7 — a position that US officials have confirmed. Read the full interview.
Here’s what else I’m keeping tabs on today:
APAC summit: US President Joe Biden will hold talks with his Mexican counterpart Andrés Manuel López Obrador on the final day of the summit in San Francisco. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol plans to attend a roundtable on technological co-operation with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at Stanford University.
Economic data: We get industry data today on new residential construction in October and also the number of building permits that were issued last month.
Central banks: The president of the Chicago branch of the Federal Reserve, Austan Goolsbee, and San Francisco Fed president Mary Daly will both speak at public events today.
Argentina’s run-off election: Radical libertarian Javier Milei and economy minister Sergio Massa go head-to-head in the final round of voting in the presidential election on Sunday. Here’s the latest on the contest.
Las Vegas Grand Prix: After a four-decade absence Formula One returns to Las Vegas this weekend. Teams will compete on the iconic Strip for the first time. Arctos Partners, the sports-focused private equity group, announced an investment in Aston Martin’s Formula One team on the eve of the race.
Five more top stories
1. European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde has called for a “European SEC” and a unified stock exchange to tackle the triple challenges of “deglobalisation, demographics and decarbonisation”. Speaking in Frankfurt this morning, Lagarde said the continent needed to replace the patchwork of national watchdogs to overcome the economic challenges facing the region. Martin Arnold in Frankfurt has the full story.
2. The president of Goldman Sachs Japan has resigned and will step down with immediate effect after a 38-year career at the Wall Street bank. Masanori Mochida was appointed to the top job in Tokyo in 2001 by then Goldman chief executive Hank Paulson. He resigned without a successor having been appointed.
3. Blackstone is planning to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars to give its flagship private credit fund added investment firepower. The private equity behemoth is in the final stages of raising just under $400mn through a so-called collateralised loan obligation secured by the very loans held by its $52bn Blackstone Private Credit Fund, according to documents obtained by the Financial Times.
4. IBM said it pulled its global advertising from Elon Musk’s X following a report that the social media platform ran the tech company’s adverts alongside pro-Nazi material. A report published yesterday by the left-leaning non-profit group Media Matters said it found adverts from other big brands, including Apple, Oracle and Comcast, next to content “that touts Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party”.
5. Walmart shares closed down more than 8 per cent yesterday after the world’s largest retailer predicted weaker consumer spending during the holiday season. The retailer said consumers had shifted their spending away from discretionary purchases towards essentials and groceries. But chief executive Doug McMillon said food prices were beginning to come down from their peaks, adding “we may be managing a period of deflation in the months to come”. Read the full story.
Janet Truncale, the new global chief executive at EY, is the first woman to lead a Big Four firm. She faces the formidable challenge of uniting the 395,000-person group after the collapse of Project Everest, a plan to spin off the firm’s consulting and tax advice business. Deep divisions remain at the firm as Truncale begins to build her leadership team.
We’re also reading . . .
Chart of the day
How worried should Democrats be about the recent polls? A year out from the US presidential election, a consistent finding is that they are going backwards with young and non-white voters. Falling support among black voters should not surprise us, writes John Burn-Murdoch, but it’s the loss of votes in the under-35s that is perhaps most shocking, he says.
Take a break from the news
FT senior science writer Clive Cookson selects his favourite books of the year. On his list are titles that will take you on a cosmic mission, explore the brain’s impressive balancing act and impart scientific speculation about white holes.
Additional contributions fromGary Jones andEmily Goldberg
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