Direct arylation of the ortho-CH bond of an aryl pyridine or an aryl imine with an aryl Grignard reagent has been achieved by using an iron-diamine catalyst and a dichloroalkane as an oxidant in a short reaction time (e.g., 5 min) under mild conditions (0 °C). The use of an aromatic co-solvent, such as chlorobenzene and benzene, and slow addition of the Grignard reagent are essential for the high efficiency of the reaction. The present arylation reaction has distinct merits over the previously developed reaction that used an arylzinc reagent, such as its reaction rate and atom economy. Selective CH bond activation occurs in the presence of a leaving group, such as a tosyloxy, chloro, and bromo group. Studies on a stoichiometric reaction and kinetic isotope effects shed light on the reaction intermediate and the CH bond-activation step.
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