The Takeaway: Does Raisi sink prospects for an Iran nuclear deal?

Hot Take: Don’t rule out an Iran nuclear deal simply but (4 the reason why)

Hard-liner Ebrahim Raisi took workplace as president of Iran on Aug. 3, and the standard knowledge is {that a} return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal, simply acquired so much more durable.

Here come the Hezbollahis. With Raisi comes a cadre of extra revolutionary regime loyalists related to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei; they’ve been known as the “New Hezbollahis” by Ali Hashem. This doesn’t essentially imply, nevertheless, that Raisi doesn’t have a realistic streak, or gained’t cope with the West. “It’s possible to foresee that while the decision to engage with the West will not change, the tone, expectations and ceiling are going to see a clear shift,” writes Hashem.

Rouhani sees legislation as impediment. Outgoing Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in an interview Aug. 2 reported by, mentioned Raisi could also be sure by a legislation handed by the parliament in December 2020 that compels the federal government to undertake a collection of escalatory nuclear-related steps if the United States doesn’t reenter the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — thereby boxing in Raisi’s choices.

Experts see more durable street

Mohsen Milani, a political scientist on the University of South Florida, instructed Al-Monitor in an e-mail {that a} deal is doable however more durable as a result of “Raisi needs to appeal to his more hardline constituency, the US wants to link the revival of the JCPOA to talks about Iran’s missile programs and its regional policies, and Iranian trust in the US, which has always been low, hit rock bottom after US President Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018.”

Saman Vakil, deputy director of the Middle East North Africa program at Chatham House, instructed us that the JCPOA deal might be more durable to shut as a result of “Raisi’s team will be seeking to get a better, more secure deal from the Biden administration, and in search of sustainability, which is key for the Iranian economy, will play hardball and up the pressure in order to extract and one-up the Rouhani team.”

Four the reason why a deal nonetheless may occur

Both the Biden and Rouhani administrations hoped to shut the deal on the JCPOA earlier than Raisi took workplace. Raisi could have most popular that as effectively, with a purpose to reap the financial advantages with out having to cope with the JCPOA’s sophisticated politics and compromises. But now the motion is with Raisi, and a deal should still be doable for the next causes:

-The Iranian economic system wants aid from US oil and monetary sanctions, particularly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit Iran onerous;

-The Iran nuclear deal was widespread, and Raisi’s victory as president was marked by voter apathy and the bottom turnout ever for an Iranian presidential election;

-Raisi didn’t oppose the JCPOA throughout his presidential marketing campaign;

-Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in his “final report” on the JCPOA, wrote that he leaves with a “framework for a doable deal” in place.

This can’t go on indefinitely. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned July 29, “We are dedicated to diplomacy, however this course of can’t go on indefinitely.” And this was earlier than the drone assault on an Israeli-linked tanker within the Gulf of Oman later that day, which the United States and its allies have blamed on Iran (which Iran denies). Meanwhile, the Pentagon has not dominated out enjoying a task within the “collective response” promised by the Biden administration, Jared Szuba stories, and Israel can be weighing its choices for retaliation, as Ben Caspit writes right here. And as we speak, Aug. 4, the Biden administration mentioned it believes Iran is answerable for an obvious short-term hijacking of a Panama-flagged tanker off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.


1. Egypt makes use of local weather initiatives in outreach to Africa


Egypt is lending its experience to African neighbors struggling to manage local weather change and heavy flooding. George Mikhail stories on Cairo’s newest environmental initiatives, together with a lab for water high quality evaluation in South Sudan and a forecast middle within the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Egyptian area company has partnered with a number of African nations to launch a satellite tv for pc that may measure and monitor local weather variations, and the nation in 2019 gained the bid to host the headquarters of the African Space Agency. 

2. Egypt affords 4-part technique for doable water scarcity

Egypt has unveiled a plan to handle water shortage made worse by Ethiopia’s filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Egypt is already some of the water-scarce nations on this planet, and the federal government of the North African nation has warned hovering inhabitants development and local weather change are anticipated to exacerbate the issue. Rasha Mahmoud explains Egypt’s four-pronged technique to sort out water shortages, which incorporates the creation of water distribution amenities, an growth of recent irrigation techniques and the usage of photo voltaic vitality. 


3. Sudanese floods additional stress ties with Ethiopia

Sudanese officers say Addis Ababa’s refusal to share info with Khartoum over its second filling of the multibillion-dollar dam places Sudan at heightened threat for flooding. Baher al-Kady stories that the Blue Nile’s water ranges have elevated considerably this summer season. Devastating floods in southeastern Sudan final month displaced greater than 10,000 individuals. 

4. Russia restores historic Syrian heritage websites 

Russia is making an attempt to color itself because the protector of Syria’s cultural heritage, Sultan al-Kanj writes. Damascus’ foremost ally has begun restoring archaeological websites throughout the war-torn nation, together with within the historic metropolis of Palmyra. Analysts say the restoration work is a part of Moscow’s soft-power technique in Syria, the place Russian warplanes since 2015 have participated in a punishing bombing marketing campaign of insurgent territory. 

Russia has additionally despatched archaeologists to Iraq, as Adnan Abu Zeed stories. Last month, a Russian excavation group found new particulars on a 4,000-year-old settlement within the southern Iraqi province of Dhi Qar. 

5. Turkey’s Olympians set off gown code debate 

The debate over feminine modesty made headlines once more in Turkey after a controversial cleric lashed out at members of the nationwide ladies’s volleyball group, generally known as the “Sultans of the Net,” for carrying athletic shorts throughout competitors in Tokyo. “You are the sultan of faith, chastity, morality and modesty … not of sports fields,” wrote archconservative theologian Ihsan Senocak in a now-viral tweet that provoked instant backlash. 

Nazlan Ertan writes that such assaults on ladies in Turkey who put on shorts are rising extra frequent. By means of background, Senocak is identical cleric who as soon as criticized males who allowed their daughters to attend college in “tight jeans” and “with plucked eyebrows.” 

What we’re watching: Anniversary of Beirut blast

Today, Aug. 4, is the one-year anniversary of the Beirut port bomb blast that killed 230 Lebanese. Check out Joe Snell’s video on the influence of the tragedy, which has compounded Lebanon’s political and financial crises.

Cool Thing: 12-year Syrian desk tennis star has brilliant future

At 12 years previous, Syrian desk tennis sensation Hend Zaza is the youngest Olympian competing in Tokyo and the fifth-youngest Olympian of all time. Zaza, who carried Syria’s flag on the opening ceremony, misplaced to 39-year-old Austrian veteran Liu Jia within the first spherical of girls’s singles. Check out Joe Snell’s video to study extra about Zaza’s Olympics debut and the way the Syrian civil struggle impacted her coaching. 

ICYMI: Podcasts on Saudi Arabia reforms, Israeli politics

Stephen Kalin, The Wall Street Journal’s correspondent in Riyadh, discusses the social, financial and political reforms underway in Saudi Arabia and the way these modifications sq. with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ongoing crackdown on dissent. Kalin additionally describes his stage of entry to Saudi decision-makers and the challenges of reporting within the kingdom. For extra on the way forward for US-Saudi relations, the struggle in Yemen and prospects for Saudi diplomacy with Iran, hearken to Kalin’s full interview with Andrew Parasiliti.  

Gaby Lasky, a human rights activist-turned-lawmaker in Israel’s left-wing Meretz celebration, describes being a part of the unlikely coalition authorities led by pro-settler Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. “Nobody thought that five months ago this was even a possibility,” she instructed Ben Caspit. “We’re starting to understand each other.” Check out Lasky’s podcast right here

What We’re Reading: Algeria’s financial restoration after COVID-19   

The twin shock of restrictions to curb the coronavirus, mixed with a extreme drop in oil and fuel revenues, fueled Algeria’s financial woes in 2020, in response to the World Bank. The North African nation has since eased pandemic restrictions, however Algeria’s tempo of vaccinations lags behind regional friends. The financial institution forecasts a fragile restoration in Algeria all through 2021, a part of which hinges on reforms enabling non-public sector development and a restoration of macroeconomic balances. Read the full report right here.


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