TEHRAN, Iran -- Smiling and waving flags, Iranians from across the political spectrum welcomed President Hassan Rouhani home Saturday with cheers for his historic phone conversation with his American counterpart. But pockets of anger over the new contact between the two enemy nations signaled challenges ahead.
Hard-liners opposed to any improved contact with Washington made their objections clear as several dozen protesters chanting "Death to America" tried to block his motorcade in Tehran. The semiofficial Mehr news agency reported that at least one demonstrator hurled a shoe -- a common gesture of contempt in the Middle East -- in Rouhani's direction. Other reports said eggs were thrown at his car.
Rouhani supporters, meanwhile, greeted him with placards thanking him for seeking peace instead of confrontation. One banner read: "Yes to peace, no to war."
Friday's 15-minute phone call between Rouhani and President Barack Obama capped a week of drama revolving around Rouhani's participation in the annual U.N. meeting of world leaders.
Ready to cooperate: Syria will cooperate fully with U.N. inspectors charged with securing and destroying the country's chemical weapons stockpile, the nation's prime minister said Saturday.
The comments from Wael al-Halqi came a day after the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to purge Syria of its chemical weapons program. The U.N. resolution, passed after two weeks of white-knuckle negotiations, marked a major breakthrough in the paralysis that has gripped the council since the Syrian uprising began in March 2011.
Hostage shown: Islamic extremists published the first video of a French engineer kidnapped in Nigeria in December, showing a white-bearded man backed by an armed militant appealing for negotiations for his "safe release," according to the SITE Intelligence Group.
It is the first sign that 63-year-old Francis Collomp is alive since he was kidnapped Dec. 19 by militants who have killed several Western hostages. They used dynamite to storm the well-guarded compound where he was working on an energy project for the French company Vergnet in Nigeria's northern Katsina state.
Abolishing the monarchy?: Hundreds of protesters have marched in Spain's capital to call for the abdication of King Juan Carlos, the abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of a republic.
A large police presence blocked access to the Royal Palace, where the demonstration was due to end in a rally, with metal barriers and police vans.
Announce resignations: Italy's fragile coalition government was pushed into a full-fledged crisis Saturday after five ministers from former Premier Silvio Berlusconi's political party announced their resignations.
The move drew the ire of Premier Enrico Letta, who accused Berlusconi of a "crazy" gesture aimed at covering up his personal affairs.