The United States senate rejected an effort that would have made mandatory any treaty brokered with Iran to be considered an “international treaty.” If it had passed, the provision would have made any deal’s ratification dependent on a two-thirds vote by the US senate. The measure was proposed by a number of Republican senators and is already being touted as one of many hurdles that will face the Obama administration even as a deal seems more and more probable.
On this note, the New York Times posts an interesting analysis of additional obstacles facing the future of US-Iran relations following the reaching of a nuclear deal. Specifically, the piece makes mention of two judgments handed down by US courts during the 2000s. Each of them is related to alleged Iranian involvement in the death of Americans during attacks on the American embassy in Lebanon. The judgments held Iran responsible and ordered that they pay back billions to the victims. These sums, naturally, have not been paid, and it is unlikely that Iran will recognize its involvement in the matter. This could present a significant obstacle to future US-Iran relations should they progress in that direction.
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- Afghan President Ashraf Ghani recently made headlines during a state visit to India. In the recently-concluded visit, Ghani intimated that Afghanistan would facilitate Pakistani “access” to the Tajik market if Pakistan agrees to assist India in its attempts to gain a foothold in Afghanistan. It is uncertain whether or not this was part of a diplomatic charm offensive led by the Afghan leader
- Christian Science Monitor reports on the Ukrainian government’s attempts to implement reform in the midst of the ongoing crisis. In an article published yesterday, the author argues that the most pressing change necessary in the country is for a redistribution of power. He goes on to document efforts already implemented to decentralize power away from the oligarchs, though he recognizes that Petro Poroshenko, the country’s president, is himself an oligarch that has broken his promise to sell off his own business empire.
- The Mongolian government announced that it would not abide by an “international tribunal’s order” to pay back $100 million to Khan Resources. The decision appears to contradict the Mongolian government’s stated goal of attracting greater foreign investment to the country. The order was given after Mongolia unilaterally cancelled licenses granted to Khan Resources to develop the Dornod uranium project in 2009.
- A new railway funded by Russia, China and Mongolia will soon begin construction in northern Mongolia. The international highway will connect Ulan Bator with Altanbulag and Zamlin Udud, and will span approximately 1,000 kilometers. The project is estimated to cost a total of USD $12 billion.