Iran and US may face summer escalation

The talks, brokered by the European Union in Doha, Qatar, were the last hope that the two sides would come to an agreement as tensions escalated over Iran’s nuclear program.

But as the talks stalled, Iran inches closer the amount of enriched uranium needed to make a nuclear bomb, and reduces cooperation with the United Nations nuclear monitor, increasing the likelihood that its adversaries will resort to military options to deter its nuclear capability.
CNN spoke to Ali Vaezdirector of the Iran project at Crisis Group, a think tank in Washington, DC, on what might happen next.

Since the talks ended without any progress, how likely is an escalation and what will it look like?

One thing is certain: the “no deal, no crisis” dynamic is not sustainable. With so much discord between Iran, the US, and their respective regional allies, there is plenty of room for deliberate or unintentional escalation that could spiral out of control. All this will most likely turn around in the summer of 2022. [into one that is] very similar to the summer of 2019, when tensions escalated in the form of tougher sanctions and attacks on international shipping lanes as well as Infrastructure of the Arab countries of the Persian Gulfbringing Tehran and Washington dangerously close to open conflict on several occasions within just a few months.
The only difference now is that due to the ongoing dialogue between Iran and Saudi Arabiaas well as the UAE, the arena of competition is likely to move to the Levant.

Does the lack of progress in Doha mean the deal is dead?

Not necessary. Failure in this round can temporarily turn diplomacy with Iran into a zombie process. Both sides will return home and will likely engage in mutual escalation in the hope that the other side will eventually blink first. But as you get closer to midterm congressional elections, the Biden administration’s appetite for a deal may wane. The problem is that Democrats have to lose control of Congress in November, which in turn would reduce Iran’s interest in dealing with a lame duck administration that no longer controls Congress.

What happens next?

The Iranians are likely to decide to delay the deal until the next US meeting. [presidential election in 2024], with full shoulders. But the Iranians have their own presidential elections in 2025, and they will have to wait for the results of those elections. By this point, the deal will be dead and the parties will have to negotiate a new one from scratch, which will likely take several years.

So the options are not between a deal now or six months from now, but between a deal now or six years from now. And given how close Iran is already to nuclear weapons, the status quo cannot be sustainable. Sooner or later, Israel is likely to either accept or push the US to accept military action to push back Iran’s nuclear program, potentially capable of provoking a catastrophic regional fire.

What is the state of negotiations since March and what led both sides to the Doha meeting?

In the past few weeks, the chief negotiator for the European Union, Enrique Mora, has been exchanging messages between Tehran and Washington to find a mutually acceptable formula. But diplomacy at a distance proved slow and ineffective.

With growing concerns about Iran’s nuclear program in the West and Israel, as well as Iran’s deteriorating economic situation under sanctions, both sides have had an incentive to return to the negotiating table. The EU concluded that it would be much more efficient to have indirect negotiations with both parties in the same city rather than on two different continents.

Does it matter that the last round of negotiations took place in the Gulf state?

This is important for two reasons: first, it shows how the regional context has changed since the completion of the nuclear deal in 2015. Secondly, apart from Oman, no other Gulf state was overly interested in a deal, which they basically saw as enriching and strengthening a regional rival. Now, having survived the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” policy on Iran, which has put them in the line of fire between Iran and the US, most of the Gulf states understand the de-escalation of the value of the deal.

What geopolitical factors have changed since March, when the US and Iran last held indirect talks?

Of course, the war in Ukraine eclipsed everything. On the one hand, this reduced the relevance of nuclear negotiations and diverted the attention of Western politicians; on the other hand, it made Iran’s return to energy markets more valuable to the West.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Digest

US says Israeli military shooting likely caused Shirin Abu Akle’s death, but examination of bullet yielded no results

Investigation of the bullet that killed Al Jazeera correspondent Abu Aklecould not come to a final conclusion“relative to its origin, due to the condition of the bullet, but the US security coordinator” concluded that the firing of the [Israel Defense Forces] The post was likely responsible “for her death,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement Monday. operation against Palestinian Islamic Jihad groups.
  • Background: Palestinians handed over the bullet to US authorities on Saturday, almost two months after a Palestinian-American journalist was killed in Jenin in the West Bank. The Palestinians refused to conduct a joint investigation with Israel, saying they did not trust the Israelis, but eventually gave the bullet to US authorities over the weekend.
  • Why is it important: Israel and the Palestinians have stalled in the investigation since she died from a single gunshot to the head on May 11. Investigations conducted by at least five media outlets including CNN it is assumed that the shot was fired from the position where the IDF troops were located. None of the investigations found any evidence of the presence of Palestinian militants near Abu Akle when she was shot dead, or militants who fired directly in her direction. The investigation by the UN Human Rights Office came to the same conclusion as investigative journalism.

Lebanese Hezbollah says drones have been directed to Israeli gas platform in disputed waters

Hezbollah claimed responsibility for launching three unarmed drones on Saturday in the direction of an oil field in the Mediterranean region that is disputed between Lebanon and Israel, the group said in a statement to CNN. On Saturday, the Israeli military said the drones were shot down and that they were launched from Lebanon and were flying in the direction of the Karish gas field.

  • Background: Hezbollah said the drones were carrying out “reconnaissance missions” and that “the message was delivered.” The IDF described the drones as hostile, but said “the initial investigation shows they did not pose an immediate threat.” The IDF added that the F-16 fighter and the missile ship were intercepted by drones.
  • Why is it important: Lebanon and Israel are in the midst of indirect talks about where the maritime economic border between countries in the oil-rich part of the Mediterranean is. In recent days, Hezbollah has warned that it could attack an Israeli ship that moved towards the disputed area amid negotiations if Israel does not withdraw the ship.

A Ukrainian official said Ukraine had asked Turkey to “detain” a Russian-flagged vessel carrying its grain.

Ukraine has asked the Turkish authorities to detain a Russian-flagged vessel carrying Ukrainian grain, the country’s ambassador to Turkey, Vasyl Bodnar, told CNN on Saturday.

  • Background: The ship Zhibek Zholy is currently anchored near the Turkish port of Karasu, as “in fact, it is detained by Turkish customs authorities and is not allowed to enter the port,” Bondar said. “Now we are waiting for the decision of the relevant Turkish authorities regarding the actions that the law enforcement agencies of Ukraine insist on,” he said. The Turkish Ministry of Commerce did not respond to CNN’s request for confirmation of the ship’s detention. The cargo ship left the Russian port of Novorossiysk on June 22 and spent nearly a week at sea between Ukraine and Russia, according to the ship-tracking website Marine Traffic.
  • Why is it importantUkraine has repeatedly stated that Russia hundreds of thousands of tons stolen grain since the beginning of the war. The United Nations has said that Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports has already driven up global food prices and threatens to cause catastrophic food shortages in parts of the world. Russia has repeatedly denied blocking ports, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissing claims that Russia is stealing grain from its neighbor as “fake news.”

What to watch

Three women walked from Egypt to Jordan. brutally murdered in three different Middle Eastern countries just a few days apart. Becky Anderson of CNN explores the epidemic of gender-based violence in the Arab world, as well as the societal disadvantages that prevent women from being adequately protected.

See the full report here.

79%

Annual inflation in Turkey jumped to a 24-year high of 78.62% in June due to the effects of the war in Ukraine, a sharp rise in commodity prices and the fall of the lira after the December crisis.

By region

Eleven billion plastic bags are used. in the United Arab Emirates Every year. This is equivalent to 1,182 bags per person per year, well above the global average of 307 bags per person per year.

Now a nation of 10 million is trying to change that. This weekend, Dubai’s business and entertainment center tightened its plastic bag rules by imposing a 25 fils ($0.07) charge on all single-use bags.

UAE, which is preparing to host Climate Summit COP28 in 2023, aims to end single-use bags by 2024.

Dubai’s decision comes just a month after Abu Dhabi, the country’s capital, imposed a ban on all single-use plastic bags for the first time in the Middle East. Unlike Dubai, Abu Dhabi did not incentivize the public with a tariff, but with a total ban.

The emirate has given retailers a four-month grace period to comply with the rules.

“That’s good, Europe and America are doing the same,” Fayiz, a supermarket employee in Dubai, told CNN.

The Dubai tariff applies to all disposable bags with a thickness of 57 micrometers or less.

Ghazi Nasser

Photo of the day

Muslim worshipers gather in front of the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca on July 1.  Arabia has been banned due to restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic.