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Pentagon Backs Iran Deal Amid State Dept. Shuffle


Council on Foreign Relations Newsletter If you are unable to see the message below, click here to view. March 14, 2018 Daily News Brief   TOP OF THE AGENDA Pentagon Backs Iran Deal Amid State Dept. Shuffle The Pentagon has voiced its support for maintaining the 2015 international accord that curbed Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief as the pact's future faces increased uncertainty following a change of leadership at the State Department. U.S. Central Command chief Joseph Votel told lawmakers that the agreement, known as the JCPOA, addresses the "principal threats" (RFE/RL) the United States faces from Iran. President Donald J. Trump cited disagreements with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson over the deal when he announced Tillerson's ouster in favor of CIA Director Mike Pompeo, a vocal opponent of the accord (Bloomberg). Tehran, which says it has complied with the JCPOA's terms, warned this week that it could resume more rapid uranium enrichment (Reuters) if the deal collapses. ANALYSIS "[Tillerson] considered the costs of withdrawing from a U.S. commitment made along with France, Germany, Britain, the European Union, Russia, and China to be unacceptable, and worked hard to find ways of appeasing Trump's loathing for the signature Obama achievement," Michael Crowley writes for Politico. "The North Korean model becomes more attractive for Iranian officials, whereby you negotiate from a position of strength, you don't give anything to the U.S., and you only talk to them with the language of force," Fouad Izadi said in an interview with Bloomberg. "An obvious long-term solution is to draft a new agreement that extends some of the sunset provisions in the JCPOA, while providing Iran with new incentives, such as further sanctions relief or cooperation on a civil nuclear energy program," Ilan Goldenberg and Elizabeth Rosenberg write for Foreign Affairs. PACIFIC RIM Philippines to Withdraw From ICC President Rodrigo Duterte said his administration will immediately withdraw its ratification (Phil Star) of the International Criminal Court's establishing treaty. The court's chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, announced a preliminary investigation into allegations of extrajudicial executions in the Philippines last month. CFR's Joshua Kurlantzick writes in World Politics Review that Duterte is failing to deliver where it matters. SOUTH KOREA: Former President Lee Myung-bak, under investigation for corruption during his 2008–2013 term, apologized to the nation on Wednesday (Korea Times), saying he hopes to be the "last former president to be brought to the prosecution." SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA China Surpasses U.S. in Arms Sales to Pakistan Arms sales to Pakistan by the United States, once the largest weapons exporter to the country, have decreased by 76 percent (VOA) in the past five years, according to a Stockholm-based research institute. China has become Pakistan's biggest supplier in that period. AFGHANISTAN: Uzbekistan said it has not yet received a request from the Taliban to participate in an Afghan peace conference in Tashkent (UzDaily) later this month. CFR's Courtney Cooper discusses U.S. policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan. MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA White House Hosts Meeting on Gaza Nineteen nations including Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and several Gulf states participated in talks in the U.S. capital on Tuesday to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza (Reuters). The Palestinian Authority boycotted the meeting. IRAQ: Baghdad ordered airports to reopen in Iraqi Kurdistan (Rudaw) after the regional administration agreed to hand over control of them to the central government. The region has been without international flights for close to six months. SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Opposition Ahead in Sierra Leone Vote The opposition Sierra Leone People's Party took 43 percent of votes in a first round of a presidential election, putting it just ahead of the ruling All People's Congress as candidates prepare for a runoff vote (VOA) at the end of the month. DRC: At least forty people have been killed in recent clashes (Africa News) between farmers and cattle herders from two ethnic groups in the country's northeastern Ituri Province. EUROPE UK's May to Announce Russia Reprisals Prime Minister Theresa May will brief parliament on retaliatory measures against Russia after Moscow ignored a deadline to offer London (Guardian) an explanation for the suspected use of a Russian-made nerve agent in a recent attack on a former spy and his daughter in the city of Salisbury. AUSTRIA: Two Afghan sisters and their children were deported from Austria to Croatia after losing a landmark case in the European Court of Justice (BBC), which upheld the so-called Dublin regulations by ruling the migrants' asylum request must be reviewed by the point-of-entry country. AMERICAS Google Public Wi-Fi Comes to Mexico Google launched dozens of free Wi-Fi hotspots (VOA) in cities across Mexico, the third emerging market singled out by the tech giant following similar initiatives in India and Indonesia. ARGENTINA: The Argentine Navy rescued four U.S. scientists and a contractor (BBC) from a research camp on Joinville Island after thick ice prevented a U.S. vessel from reaching them. UNITED STATES Students to Push Gun Reform in Mass Walkout Walkouts at some three thousand schools across the country are planned for Wednesday morning, one of several mass demonstrations expected this spring in protest of gun violence (VOA) after seventeen people were killed at a Florida high school last month. This CFR Backgrounder compares U.S. gun policy with that of other developed nations.         Council on Foreign Relations — 58 East 68th Street — New York, NY 10065 CFR does not share email addresses with third parties. 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Date: March 14, 2018 at 10:02PM