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When former defense secretary Jim Mattis is asked about his relationship with President Trump, he has an answer ready.

"I don't discuss sitting presidents," Mattis tells NPR in an interview. "I believe that you owe a period of quiet."

Is Iran anywhere near collapse?

Amir Mohebbian doesn't think so. The conservative Iranian political thinker and news editor said so in Tehran, even though U.S. economic sanctions have blocked most of the oil exports on which Iran relies. "The situation in the economy is not good," he said, "but not so bad that [it will] kill us."

At a cancer treatment center in Iran's capital of Tehran, a doctor's fight to treat her cancer patients has become harder. As U.S. sanctions sink in, the flow of medicine and medical supplies in Iran appears to have slowed — and the reasons are difficult to pin down.

Dr. Mastaneh Sanei, an oncologist at the Roshana Cancer Center, says she's treating patients without the benefits of consistently functioning equipment and a reliable supply of drugs.

With the right treatment, she says, "you may not cure these patients, but they have the chance to prolong survival."

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And I'm Steve Inskeep with a moment from the Gilroy Garlic Festival over the weekend. People were attending this summer food event in California, and Christian Swain of the band TinMan was onstage performing.

The United States is trying again to persuade North Korea to end its nuclear weapons program.

A senior U.S. official tells NPR that U.S. diplomats are communicating with the reclusive regime. They are passing messages through North Korea's mission to the United Nations in New York.

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The job market accelerated last month. U.S. employers added a net 224,000 jobs in June. That is far more than many analysts were expecting and also a sharp improvement over a disappointing May.

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Iran's ambassador to the United Nations is defending shooting down a U.S. surveillance drone over the Strait of Hormuz and says Tehran will not be forced back into negotiations with the White House.

"You cannot negotiate with somebody who has a knife in his hand putting the knife under your throat," Majid Takht Ravanchi, Iran's ambassador to the United Nations, said in an exclusive interview with NPR. "That cannot be acceptable by anybody. Any reasonable person cannot accept to have negotiations with somebody who is threatening you."

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Facebook says that by next year people on apps like Whatsapp and Messenger will be able to basically text payments. This news comes as regulators are asking if the tech giant is already too powerful.

With climate activists cheering on the Green New Deal, former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke is borrowing a different allusion from American history.

"We've called for ... an investment commensurate with John F. Kennedy's moonshot," O'Rourke told NPR. "We're going to invest in the technologies that will allow us to lead the world on this. It should be happening right here in the United States."

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China and the United States are locked in a trade fight, a technology race and competing world military strategies. Leaders of these countries seem to be pulling the world's two largest economies apart.

These tensions are especially felt by those living with a foot in each country. The NPR special series A Foot In Two Worlds reveals the stories of people affected because of their ties to both nations. Reports from both the U.S. and China show how deeply and broadly the two nations are connected and what's at stake as they reshape their relations.

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Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro has a plan to change immigration policy in the U.S. The former Housing and Urban Development secretary wants to address immigrant detention, family reunification and the immigration court system.

In stark contrast to current policy, he also wants to decriminalize crossing the border illegally, a plan he outlined in a Medium post in April.

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China, known as the world's biggest polluter, has been taking dramatic steps to clean up and fight climate change.

So why is it also building hundreds of coal-fired power plants in other countries?

President Xi Jinping hosted the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing over the weekend, promoting his signature foreign policy of building massive infrastructure and trade links across several continents.

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