Iran has begun to explore ways to convince its rivals in the Middle East of the worth of the recently-signed nuclear deal. The pact between Iran and the West has been met with extensive criticism from countries such as Saudi Arabia that see Iran as a destabilizing force in the Middle East due to its economic might and sway with proxies in Lebanon and Palestine. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif gave a speech upon the completion of Ramadan in which he described the deal as the source of opportunity to strengthen regional cooperation. Zarif will soon begin a tour of the Gulf Arab states in what is expected to be a charm offensive geared towards allaying fears throughout the region.
Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has undertaken the similarly difficult challenge of persuading Iranian hardliners of the deal’s effectiveness. The president highlighted the deal’s potential impact on the Iranian economy and singled out its aviation and food and beverage sectors as two of many that are expected to benefit from the lifting of sanctions. Rouhani has been expectedly bullish of the deal and has adopted a similar stance to that of President Obama in his description of the deal as a win for Iranian interests.
Follow us on Twitter: @SteppeDispatch
- Ukraine’s Parliament in Kiev have sent President Petro Poroshenko’s proposed constitutional changes to the Constitutional Court on the autonomy of the eastern regions, in particular those of Donetsk and Luhansk. The amendments will allow “local self-government” in select districts. Poroshenko submitted the new laws after coming under fire from the Russian government and the separatist organizations that currently run Donetsk and Luhansk when he unveiled his initial changes earlier in the month.
- Ukraine’s Parliament has additionally passed all the laws necessary to receive a second tranche of payments from the IMF, worth roughly $1.7 billion. The laws institute necessary changes to the banking and energy sector – these reforms have been contentious – with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk dismissing the proposed laws demanded by the IMF as sponsored by “lunatics.” The IMF has doubled down on its support of Ukraine, in defiance of its past behavior – particular of one of its major stipulations that it would not bail out any government that intended to resort to default to avoid debt payments to the international financial community.
- The Diplomat has an interesting article on the problems of water management in Turkmenistan, an extremely problematic issue for most Central Asian nations that has thus far yield no major agreements and significant environmental decay as a result. The crisis appears to be only registering on a low level at this point – the writer points to an article by RFE/RL and related videos that show citizens in Turkmenistan needing to travel long distances to retrieve water for everyday needs. The Turkmen regime is attempting to attract some $1 billion in foreign investment to revitalize its irrigation and water management systems, but the real issue is that all water in the country flows from a single river – the Amu Darya, which has seen far lower water levels in recent years.