The US State Department and the Iranian Foreign Ministry announced that negotiations related to its nuclear program will be extended until July 7. Reports related to the talks indicate that progress has been made and that the sides are “nearing” a deal. This in mind, there appears to be some ambiguity regarding the parameters of the original framework deal. US and Iranian Presidents Obama and Rouhani have made statements declaring their readiness to walk away from a deal should these terms not be honored.
For the US one of the main sticking points is inspectors’ access to Iranian nuclear military sites. Iran’s parliament recently passed a bill which, although mostly symbolic, would prevent access to any IAEA inspectors to its nuclear infrastructure and personnel. Iranian Ayatollah Khamanei has final say on the nuclear program, although he too has been vocal in his opposition to allowing inspectors unfettered access.
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- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to champion the TAPI pipeline project during his visits to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The project has long been discussed but progress has been slow coming. Officials from the participating countries of Turkmenistan and India confirmed that Modi’s visit to Ashgabat will include the signing of agreements related to the project.
- The Chinese National Petroleum Company has begun construction on the Chinese leg of the China-Russia pipeline. Work is underway in Heilongjiang province in Western China on a pipeline that when completed will connect with a pipeline in southeast Russia. The pipeline constitutes part of a 1.3 trillion cubic meter deal signed by the CNPC and Russia’s Gazprom in November 2014.
- A Taliban suicide bomber crashed a vehicle filled with explosives into a NATO convoy in Kabul, killing two civilians and wounding 24 others. The attack came during early afternoon prayers and triggered a violent response from the inhabitants of a nearby mosque, who upon exiting the mosque flung stones and other objects at foreign soldiers and journalists. The attack in Kabul is the second significant attack to have taken place in Kabul during the past two weeks.
- Roxi Petroleum announced that it has made progress in clearing up blockages in its second major oil find offshore Kazakhstan. The second well is located approximately eight kilometers from Roxi’s first well, and will be drilled by Sinopec, a Chinese multinational oil and gas firm.
- Ukraine and a group of international creditors are again at loggerheads over proposed meeting logistics. In separate statements released by Ukraine and creditors, both parties allege that the other has unnecessarily held up negotiations, leading to delays in an ongoing debt restructuring process.