IAEA Visits Previously Inaccessible Iranian Nuclear Site

The IAEA recently visited Parchin, an Iranian military site which had been off limits for the past decade. The head of the agency lauded the Iranian government for what he described as significant progress in governmental cooperation with the IAEA. The UN watchdog also analyzed samples from the facility and “observed” recent renovations in the…

Moldova Confronts Currency, Graft Crises

The Moldovan central bank has intervened to prop up national currency leu at the urging of Moldovan Prime Minister Valeriu Strelet to “take all necessary measures” to slow a seven month decline in the leu’s value. The central bank has raised the national interest rate to 19.5 percent, a jump of two percent. Moldovan central…

Iran, China to Increase Commercial, Political Ties

Iranian and Chinese diplomats recently convened in Beijing to discuss increased cooperation across a number of political and economic sectors in the coming years. With the removal of sanctions looming, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif noted that the country would like to play host to a growing number of Chinese firms and attract Chinese investment…

Opposition to Iran Deal Blocked

Democrats in the US Senate blocked a Republican effort to derail the nuclear deal yesterday. By doing so,  the Democrats have essentially ensured that the recently signed nuclear accord will take effect and that President Obama will not have to veto efforts to stop it. The deal has naturally been a prominent issue since it…

Russia Expected to Reduce Budget Planning Period to One Year

The Financial Times profiles a recent proposal made by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to formulate yearly budgets every year as opposed to the traditional three years. The government’s official reasoning is that fluctuating oil prices make economic planning difficult. The real reason, according to the FT is that Russia is concerned about a looming…

Tajikistan: Hunt for Nazarzoda Ongoing

Efforts to capture former Tajik Deputy Defense Minister Abduhalim Nazarzoda are ongoing after clashes on the outskirts of Dushanbe led to 22 deaths late last week. Reports of the Tajik effort to capture or kill Nazazoda indicate that the operation is focused on the Romit Gorge, about 150 kilometers to the east of Dushanbe. Nazarzoda…

Iran Anticipates Arrival of Western Firms

The Financial Times has an interesting piece on the perceptions of US and other Western companies among the Iranian populace. The article asserts that Iran’s roughly 80 million consumers are eager to see sanctions removed and for US firms to begin operations in the country. They also expressed interest in the arrival of German and…

Russia: Consumer Agency Instructs Retailers to Pull Western Products

The Russian consumer protection service is reportedly instructing Russian retailers to stop selling consumer products from Western companies such as Procter & Gamble, Henkel, Colgate-Palmolive and Clorox. The official reason given by the Russian consumer service is that there are lingering safety concerns related to the companies’ soap, cosmetics and other products, although it seems likely…

Iran Relaxes Civil Society Policies

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that his government will “soften” its stance vis-à-vis civil society organizations and nonprofits. The government’s stance towards NGOs had over the past 12 years hardened due to how increasingly politicized the organizations had become during the former Iranian Khatami administration. The government is expected to pass a new bill in…