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Council on Foreign Relations Daily News Brief
November 25, 2013
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Top of the Agenda

Top of the Agenda: Mixed Reactions Over Iran Deal

An interim deal that curbs Iran's nuclear program in return for limited relief from sanctions was reached in Geneva on Sunday, marking a turning point in relations between Tehran and Washington and a starting point for a final accord that would settle all doubts about the program (Reuters). Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to call the deal a "historic mistake" that would make the world "a much more dangerous place." Arab allies of the United States in the Gulf praised the agreement, with Saudi Arabia remaining silent (al-Jazeera). The mood was jubilant in Tehran, where hundreds of cheering supporters greeted Iran's negotiators. Iran's President Rouhani said in a national broadcast that his country's "right to enrichment has been recognized," an assessment that was disputed by Washington (BBC).


"The real question to be considered surrounds not the interim accord just completed but the follow-on or 'comprehensive' agreement to come. The announced aim is to finish negotiating and begin implementing such a pact within a year. The incentive for Iran is obvious: the agreed upon wording promises the end of all nuclear-related sanctions," CFR President Richard Haass writes in the Financial Times.

"What was the price? We shredded the six United Nations Security Council resolutions that ordered the Islamic Republic to abandon all enrichment and reprocessing activities. We exposed fractures in the coalition against Iran. And we started building a global economic lobby that is dedicated to eroding the sanctions that we have generated through a decade of hard, very hard, diplomatic work," writes Michael Doran, senior fellow at Brookings.

"Strategic pauses are fine, but actual dismantling? It seems hard to believe, for any number of reasons, the simplest one being that it is in the best long-term interest of the regime to have the means to quickly build a nuclear weapon. It's certainly not in the interest of the regime to agree to be disarmed by the U.S., its arch-enemy and the country still often referred to as the Great Satan," writes Jeffrey Goldberg for Bloomberg.


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Japan, China in Airspace Dispute

The Chinese defense ministry said it would establish an "air defense identification zone" over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea that are also claimed by Japan, raising concerns of an escalation of the long-standing territorial dispute between the two Asian powers (Bloomberg).

This CFR InfoGuide examines maritime disputes in the South and East China Seas.

THAILAND: Thousands of protestors marched through Bangkok on Monday, a day after staging the biggest demonstrations since 2010, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (Hindu).



Karzai Rejects Elders' Advice to Sign U.S. Security Pact

President Hamid Karzai rejected a recommendation by an Afghan assembly of dignitaries to quickly sign a security pact with the United States, a deal that Washington has insisted be signed before the end of the year (AP). Karzai wants to wait until a new president is elected in April.

This CFR interactive timeline highlights the major events of the U.S. war in Afghanistan.

PAKISTAN: A road used to move NATO supplies into Afghanistan was blocked this weekend by thousands of Pakistanis protesting U.S. drone strikes in the country (al-Jazeera).



Egypt Issues Law Regulating Protests

Egypt's military-backed interim government enacted a law that requires citizens to give three-day notices for gatherings of more than ten people and formalizes the use of lethal force by police to disperse marches, raising fears among rights groups that the government is criminalizing dissent (WSJ).



Zambia's Infrastructure Boom Unnerves Foreign Investors

Zambia's president Michael Sata's plan to upgrade his country's roads by tapping global debt markets is faltering as disputes with business over employment practices threaten to cool the investment climate and raise the cost of loans to the country (Reuters).

MALI: Voter turnout for parliamentary elections in Mali on Sunday was light amid fears of possible violence by Islamist militants, but few incidents of unrest were reported (VOA).



Ukrainians Rally Over EU Agreement Delay

More than 100,000 people protested in Kiev against the government's decision to delay an association deal with the European Union, while a much smaller pro-government rally assembled a few miles away (BBC).

SWITZERLAND: Voters rejected a proposal to cap salaries of top executives to twelve times that of a company's lowest salary, a measure that would have forced big pay cuts for business leaders (AFP).



U.S. Shale Boom Slows LNG Industry

The global liquefied natural gas industry, which depends on long-term contracts between producers and buyers to finance expensive equipment, is slowing down as Asian countries postpone purchase agreements in anticipation of cheaper supplies from the North American shale gas boom (FT).



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