(NBC News) -- Anticipation and security is building in New York as the highly anticipated United Nations General Assembly gets underway.
President Obama and the new president of Iran will speak Tuesday with the world not only listening to their words but looking for their actions.
Even by U.N. security standards, the show of force, framed by the violent hostage crisis in Kenya, is intense as nearly 200 heads of state gather, for one of the most highly anticipated general sessions in recent history.
Tensions are high, beginning with the situation in Syria and United States and Russia efforts to push for a chemical disarmament deal.
There has been a tense divide over how to insure Syrian President Bashar Assad follows through with the order.
As President Obama arrives in new york ahead of his Tuesday address to the assembly, many are look for signs he might share words or even just a handshake with the newly elected President of Iran Hassan Rouhani.
The two leaders traded letters after his election.
"He congratulated my election and some issues of his interest raised in that letter. I responded to that letter. I thanked him and expressed Islamic Republic of Iran's viewpoints. From my point of view the tone of the letter was positive and constructive," Rouhani said through a translator.
Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Zarif is expected to meet Thursday with Secretary of State John Kerry and his counterparts from the five major European Union delegations, negotiating to contain the nuclear program in Iran.
During a general assembly with an unwritten goal of Iranian engagement emerging, the meeting between Zarif and Kerry would be the first high-level, face-to-face meeting between the two countries since the Iranian Revolution in 1979.
And there are reports out of Iran today that the government has released 80 political prisoners as President Rouhani and his country continue to reach out to the west on the eve of his address at the United Nations.
-- Jay Gray, NBC news reports