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CORRIERE DELLA SERA, LA STAMPA, TG5 (Italy) TWITTER

Worldcrunch

ROME - For one brief, shining moment, he was back. For those who like their politics, well, colorful, the prospect of another run for office by controversial three-time Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had hung in the air for the past two months in Italy.

But on Tuesday morning, the media mogul phoned in to one of his family-owned network's news shows, TG5, to declare that he would not be a candidate for prime minister in next year's elections.

Berlusconi, who was forced to resign last year as Italy faced demands from Europe to slash its debt, said he would use his clout to help "all those who don't see themselves as part of the Left" to find a consensus "moderate" candidate in the 2013 elections, La Stampa reports.

Berlusconi added he would consider backing another term for the interim Prime Minister Mario Monti, Corriere della Sera reports.

After the news spread of his announcement, reaction was a mix of incredulity and irony:

#Berlusconi non si ricandida...che #succede? E" già arrivato Natale?

— davide d'amico (@wolfino78) October 9, 2012

(Berlusconi won't run...what happened? Is it already Christmas?)

Berlusconi has been a singular presence in Italian politics and society for two decades, with his unique and some would say inappropriate style of leadership that included sex scandals, diplomatic gaffes and yet a unique ability to stay at the center of debate.

The billionaire media mogul still controls the country's main private television network, and is expected to remain active in both center-right politics and popular culture.

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Geopolitics

The West Must Face Reality: Iran's Nuclear Program Can't Be Stopped

The West is insisting on reviving a nuclear pact with Iran. However, this will only postpone the inevitable moment when the regime declares it has a nuclear bomb. The only solution is regime change.

Talks to renew the 2015 pact have lasted for 16 months but some crucial sticking points remain.

Hamed Mohammadi

-OpEd-

Rafael Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's nuclear inspectorate, declared on Sept. 7 that Iran already had more than enough uranium for an atomic bomb. He said the IAEA could no longer confirm that the Islamic Republic has a strictly peaceful nuclear program as it has always claimed because the agency could not properly inspect sites inside Iran.

The Islamic Republic may have shown flexibility in some of its demands in the talks to renew the 2015 nuclear pact with world powers, a preliminary framework reached between Iran and the P5+1 (the U.S., the U.K., China, Russia, France and Germany). For example, it no longer insists that the West delist its Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization. But it has kept its crucial promise that unless Western powers lift all economic sanctions, the regime will boost its uranium reserves and their level of enrichment, as well as restrict the IAEA's access to installations.

Talks to renew the 2015 pact have been going on for 16 months. European diplomacy has resolved most differences between the sides, but some crucial sticking points remain.

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