Iran one step closer to Russia and China as nuclear talks falter

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Abu Dhabi

Iran is set to formalize its ties with the Global East, moving one step closer to joining the Sino-Russian axis. Nuclear talks with global powers To falter

The Islamic Republic on Wednesday signed a memorandum of obligations that would grant it full membership in Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a climax moment after a fifteen-year wait since it first applied to join the Asian body, including Russia and China,

Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi said on Friday that expanding the Asian organization could help defy Washington’s unilateralism, adding that “drastic” US sanctions required new solutions.

Hailed by Tehran as a successful entry into “a new phase of economic cooperation”, the accession comes soon as hopes of reviving the 2015 nuclear deal dwindle, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has left the world unscathed. left in a state of polarization. Haven’t seen it since the Cold War.

Formed in 2001, the Asian bloc comprises about a third of the world’s economy. It includes the former Soviet states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and more recently India and Pakistan. Iran has been an observer country since 2005.

While Iran’s bid for full membership was first approved last year, Wednesday’s decision came at an awkward moment as both Iran and Western leaders hoped there would be an agreement on reviving the nuclear deal by now, Trita said. Parsi, Vice President says. Quincy Institute in Washington, DC.

“While Iran has managed to come out of its isolation, given that the world has become multipolar, the West is now missing an important card that it has long used to pressure Iran,” Parsi told CNN. – namely the role of the United States” gatekeeper in the world economy. ,

western ban There was a major pressure point dragging Tehran to the negotiating table, some of which had to be raised on reviving the nuclear deal. However, talks have stalled again and analysts say both Iran and the West are preparing for a no-deal scenario.

Alex Watanka, director of the Iran program at the Middle East Institute, said although there is likely to be little material relief from SCO membership, Iran is likely to use the optics of Wednesday’s signing to show the world that it is not alone.

“The symbolic aspect is undeniable,” he said, noting that in practice, however, it would have little meaning for Iran in the short term.

Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi was seen meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the summits held in the Uzbek city of Samarkand on Thursday and Friday.

“In a very short span of time, [Ebrahim] Raisi will get another smile from Vladimir Putin and some handshakes,” Vatanka said. “But it doesn’t make sense from an economic point of view.”

Therefore, the alliance seems mostly political, especially as Russia and China move away from the West and closer to the Middle East.

Fardeen Iftekhari, an expert on Iranian national security and foreign policy making, said: “Iran interprets its membership in the framework of its regional security agenda of reducing US regional influence and encroachment.” NATO, primarily “because of its membership diversity and lack of a sustainable agenda.”

Tehran is therefore “testing a new pattern of multilateral security relations within the SCO,” he said.

Some attribute Iran’s growing alignment with Russia and China to the failure of the US, while still failing to leverage its influence effectively.

Most of the United Nations Security Council states opposed using sanctions as a strategy to discipline Iran in 2020. Many states feared it would only push Tehran into the arms of Russia and China, Parsi said.

But as former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 and mounted a “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran, the Persian Gulf state began looking for a new coalition.

In June, Iran applied to join a group of emerging economies known as BRICS, which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. It is selling its crude to China in an effort to cling to its ultimate economic lifeline as Western countries refuse to buy its oil.

Iran is also selling what US officials believe are weapons-capable drones to Russia at a time when Moscow is waging the biggest European war since 1945.

However, Iran’s relations with Russia and China are not without complexity. Iran share a Bitter history with Russia And the last 150 years have looked west for economic partners, according to Parsis.

Not only Russia and Iran Competitors within the oil marketBut they have little in common other than their shared anti-Americanism, Watanka said.

Iran’s famous 1979 revolution slogan, “Neither East, nor West,” indicates the extent to which both the Iranian people and the ruling elite wanted to avoid a scenario where reliance on Russia or the US was necessary.

Yet Western efforts to isolate Iran have pushed it in a direction that analysts say could prove detrimental to Tehran in the long run, albeit with little respite for its crippled economy.

“If there were no 30 or 40 years of sanctions on Iran, I think we would have seen a very different orientation of Iran,” Parsi said. The policy would have at least been balanced with less dependence on the former.

“If Iran’s foreign policy had been a bit more, Russia and China alone cannot compensate for that,” Watanka said.

UAE Foreign Minister in Tel Aviv for the anniversary of the two-year Abraham Accords

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan arrived in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Wednesday, two years after the signing of the Abrahamic Agreement, Emirati state news agency WAM said.

  • backgroundIsrael’s government said Sheikh Abdullah was set to meet Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid at his residence in Jerusalem on Thursday. The visit will last several days to commemorate the normalization agreement signed two years ago after the UAE formally ended Israel boycott for nearly half a century, This is the second official visit of the Emirate’s top diplomat to Israel. his first was to attend a meeting Held in March in the southern Israeli city of SD Bokar in the Negev desert.
  • why it matters: The agreement opened the door to bilateral economic activities and security cooperation. Thousands of Israeli tourists now visit Dubai and other Emirati cities, while trade between the two countries has steadily increased. The countries continue to cooperate on security and in a historic meeting hosted by Israel in March, the UAE demonstrates its newly formed close partnership by joining other Arab countries.

Saudi Crown Prince will visit London for condolences but will not attend funeral

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) will travel to London on Sunday to pay tribute to King Charles III and mourn his passing. Queen Elizabeth IIBut the Saudi royal will not attend the late monarch’s funeral on Monday, a source close to the Saudi royal family told CNN.

  • Background: The source said the Crown Prince would return to Saudi Arabia soon after offering his condolences. According to the source, another senior member of the Saudi royal family may attend the funeral.
  • why it matters: MBS refrained from traveling to western states since murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi At the hands of Saudi agents in October 2018. In July, he visited Greece and France, his first EU visit since the assassination. The Crown Prince last visited the UK in March 2018.

Five more banks in Lebanon stopped by customers demanding savings

A Lebanese military official told CNN that customers blocked at least five banks around Lebanon on Friday in an attempt to retrieve frozen savings, two days after the last such hostage situation. In one incident, an armed man barged into a bank and poured petrol on the floor, threatening to burn down the branch if he was not given access to his funds, state news agency NNA reported. Told. He was able to obtain about $19,000 and handed it over to someone waiting outside the bank before handing himself over to the authorities.

  • background: Since October 2019, Lebanon has imposed severe restrictions on cash withdrawals in front of the country economic collapse, On Wednesday, two hostages were held in different banks in Beirut. In one incident, a woman managed to withdraw a total of $20,000 from her account by taking her hostage in a bank. with a toy gun,
  • why it matters: being held hostage As more ordinary citizens in heavily armed Lebanon whose savings have been withheld by banks say they are left with no option but to retrieve their money. In some cases, hostage takers have said they did so to help pay for the medical treatment of their loved ones.

During the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, British relations with the Middle East changed drastically as colonial structures collapsed and strategic partnerships formed, some of which remain today.

Watch the full report with CNN’s Becky Anderson here:

A rare, 2,000-year-old Jewish coin that has been returned to Israel by US officials.

A coin linked to a Jewish rebellion against Roman rule nearly 2,000 years ago is returned by the US to Israel a joint smuggling investigation,

In AD 69, the “extremely rare” quarter shekel is estimated to have cost more than $1 million, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, which hosted a repatriation ceremony in New York on Monday.

The move comes 20 years after Israeli officials first learned, through informants, that the silver coin had been discovered by antiquities robbers in the Ella Valley, south of Jerusalem. It is believed to be one of the coins found by thieves in the area, which is home to several important archeological sites.

Investigators say the item entered the black market before being smuggled into Britain via Jordan. It was then exported to the US using false paperwork. In 2017, Homeland Security officials confiscated the coin in Denver, Colorado, where it was to be offered at auction.

The Kingdom of Judea came under Roman control in AD 6, although resistance to imperial rule led to a series of revolts, known as the Judeo-Roman Wars. The coin dates to the fourth year of the First Jewish Revolt, also known as the Great Jewish Revolt, which began in AD 66.

by Oscar Holland

Lebanese people celebrated Thursday the news that local women's dance group Maiya had won America's Got Talent competition on US television, with a prize of $1 million.  Lebanon has been in the grip of an economic downturn since 2019, which has seen the local currency lose more than 90% of its value amid repeated power cuts and fuel shortages.

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