In a widely anticipated speech at the United Nations General Assembly, Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, told world leaders Tuesday that his government is prepared to "engage immediately in result-oriented" talks with the United States, but also complained about American economic sanctions and military intervention in the Middle East. Read more >>
The cartoon by Peter Brookes from The Times shows Rouhani holding up two American flags, while at the same time giving the finger with both hands. The New York skyline is visible in the background (the UN headquarters are in NY). A worried-looking Obama comments, "I think we're getting mixed messages here".
A mixed message or mixed messages are a set of statements or actions that seem to say first one thing and then a different or opposite thing. • It's frustrating when a manager sends mixed messages about an employee's performance. By waving flags and giving the finger at the same time, Rouhani is sending a mixed message, which is what he did in his speech at the United Nations.
In Western culture, the finger (as in The cabby cut me off and then gave me the finger) is an obscene hand gesture, which is often a sign of extreme or moderate contempt, roughly equivalent in meaning to "fuck off". Note that you normally give the finger with only one hand, not two. Read more on Wikipedia.