The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to endorse the nuclear deal brokered with Iran last week. The vote is of course not a surprise as it concerns a deal brokered by its five permanent members and Germany. However, the vote has been acclaimed as symbolically important to the process of generating political support for the bill. Adding to this, bills passed in the UN Security Council are legally binding and have the effect of ratifying deals such as the Iranian nuclear deal as international treaties.
The deal still faces obstacles in the form of legislatures and right-wing political parties in the US, Europe and Iran. High-ranking legislators in Iran and the US, especially, have decried the deal as a historic mistake and in some instances promised to abrogate it by any means. As some analysts have pointed out, these threats appear to be tenuous, although a lack of support and the symbolic importance of a vote of “No Confidence,” especially in the US, could be significant. Perhaps because of this, leaders in both countries have taken a proactive position in defending the bill. US and Iranian Presidents Obama and Rouhani have each spoken candidly in support of the deal, as have Foreign Ministers Kerry and Zarif, in addressing their detractors.
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- In a speech given to senior Indian leadership last week, Iranian Ambassador to Delhi Gholam Reza Ansari “invited” the country to participate in the development of the Port of Chabahar, a seaport in southeastern Iran. If the offer is substantive, it would allow India access to Central Asian while bypassing Pakistan, doubtless an attractive option to Delhi. Ansari emphasized the need for cooperation, particularly in the construction of the second and third port terminals, and stressed the importance India could play in such development.
- Gazprom’s intention to bypass Ukraine has been panned by analysts as arduous and unnecessarily expensive. The proposed bypass of Ukraine through Slovakia and Bulgaria, if completed, would add up to around $1 billion in natural gas transfer fees per year. In addition, the construction of the projects implies several billion more in additional funds. Another route, the much-discussed “Turkish Stream” routed through Turkey and into European markets, has yet to be finalized and would suppose an additional $3.3 billion in costs.
- Iran announced its readiness to provide flood relief to victims of ongoing flooding in Tajikistan. The Iranian ambassador in Dushanbe stated that the country would send resources to flood stricken regions and that Iranian organizations such as the Iranian Red Crescent Society would contribute funds and provisions. The melting of glaciers in the remote Tajik region of Badakhshan has supposed significant dangers for local inhabitants due to poor infrastructure and limited access to outside help.
- A roadside bombing in the Afghan province of Herat killed six during the first day of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr. The blast was not initially claimed by any organization, but has been described as having all the typical “earmarks” of the Afghan Taliban. The attack mirrors similar such strikes during holy days in Afghanistan. During Ramadan, for instance, the Taliban launched an attack on the Afghan parliament in Kabul.