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AssessmentsApr 14, 2021 | 19:16 GMT
Iran and China’s foreign ministers (right to left) sign a partnership agreement in Tehran on March 27, 2021.
Iran Will Pursue Its New China Partnership With Caution
Iran’s strategic partnership with China will lead to increased security and economic cooperation, but Tehran will avoid fully siding with Beijing for fear of becoming too dependent on a single partner and alienating itself from the West. The March 27 signing of their 25-year Comprehensive Strategic Partnership is reflective of the mutual interest between Tehran and Beijing, including collaboration on Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), as well as on energy and defense matters. But Iran loathes becoming strategically dependent on any power and will seek to balance its partnership with China with improving ties to Western countries, to ensure Tehran remains as a “neither East, nor West, Islamic Republic,” as Supreme Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini put it. 
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AssessmentsApr 12, 2021 | 21:58 GMT
Iranian flags fly along a highway in Natanz in June 2014.
What an Attack on Iran’s Nuclear Facility Means for JCPOA Talks
Iran’s need to secure sanctions relief in newly restarted nuclear talks will limit its response to the suspected Israeli attack on Iran’s Natanz facility. Any act of Iranian retaliation, however, will increase overall global scrutiny on the negotiations between Tehran and the West. Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility south of Tehran suffered an overnight electricity blackout early April 11 after an explosion reportedly destroyed the internal power system that supplies the underground centrifuges. The timing of the incident follows the first indirect diplomatic engagement between the United States and Iran in three years, and comes amid ongoing tit-for-tat maritime and regional escalations between Israel and Iran. This further indicates the incident was intentional sabotage, with the intent to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program progress, as well as potentially spoil talks between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany), which are set to continue in
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AssessmentsApr 9, 2021 | 18:29 GMT
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses supporters of his ruling Justice and Development Party during a political rally in Ankara on March 24, 2021.
Making Sense of Turkey’s Contradictory Behavior: Part 2
Ahead of 2023 elections, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will embrace policies that appease its Islamist base by further entrenching religion into the country’s culture and economy. The AKP will also ramp up efforts to rig the country’s electoral system in its favor, pulling Turkey toward authoritarianism. Sliding poll numbers, the emergence of rival parties and an uncertain economic future are forcing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) to rethink its political strategy ahead of June 2023 elections. As the AKP loses control of managing Turkey’s economy, the party is considering old tactics, like reshaping the country’s electoral system to better benefit the AKP and its ruling partner, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), leaning into more Islamist-friendly cultural conservatism at home while pragmatically picking confrontations with the international community abroad. While it’s not certain that such tactics will necessarily position the AKP for yet
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AssessmentsApr 8, 2021 | 21:27 GMT
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives to give a press conference in Ankara on Sept. 21, 2020.
Making Sense of Turkey’s Contradictory Behavior: Part 1
Turkey’s recent diplomatic overtures will help Ankara avoid damaging financial sanctions and punitive measures in the coming year without having to adjust its actual foreign policy actions, earning the Turkish government a much-needed domestic political win during a difficult economic time. In recent weeks, Turkey has been upping its rhetorical charm with the European Union, as well as Arab states where it has acrimonious relationships. Turkey’s fragile financial situation has left President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government unable to reproduce the economic miracle of the early 2000s that cemented his Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s place in power. This has compelled Erdogan to pursue a foreign policy that strikes a line between conciliatory and independent in order to retain his ruling party’s dominant political position in the country before 2023 elections. 
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SITUATION REPORTApr 8, 2021 | 21:01 GMT
South Korea: Opposition Candidates Win Mayoral Races in Seoul, Busan
South Korea’s opposition People’s Power Party (PPP) swept mayoral elections in the key cities of Seoul and Busan on April 8, The Korea Times has reported. Following the loss, all eight Supreme Council members of President Moon Jae-in’s Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) resigned, taking responsibility for the election losses. 
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SnapshotsApr 6, 2021 | 19:12 GMT
People wait to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at a community center in Latvia on March 30, 2021.
In the Race to Herd Immunity, Can the EU Make Up for Lost Time?
The European Union’s goal of reaching herd immunity by July will require a significant acceleration of its COVID-19 vaccination process. But variations in manufacturing and distribution capacity, along with public acceptance of the shot itself, mean that process -- and the bloc’s subsequent rebound in economic activity -- will be uneven. EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton told a French newspaper on April 5 that at least 70% of adults (the so-called “herd immunity” threshold where the virus can be easily controlled) in the European Union could be inoculated by mid-July as the bloc ramps up its vaccine rollout after a sluggish start. Breton said the European Union will begin distributing 100 million vaccine doses a month starting in April, after distributing 60 million doses in March and 28 million in February. But according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDPC), as of April 4, only 14.2%
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SnapshotsApr 2, 2021 | 09:00 GMT
International Monetary Fund headquarters on April 5-11, 2021, in Washington.
The IMF Global Growth Picture Improves, Though Challenges Remain
The International Monetary Fund will revise its forecast for global growth in 2021 and 2022 upwards, but will also warn about divergences in the recovery and potential financial problems caused by stimulus programs. Significant progress in reforming the global financial architecture is improbable, which means that many countries will struggle to repay their debt if financial conditions tighten.
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Quarterly ForecastsMar 29, 2021 | 00:00 GMT
2021 Second-Quarter Forecast
COVID-19 will again dominate in the second quarter of 2021. With new viral variants and staggered or stalled vaccine rollouts, the global economic rebound will be uneven around the world.
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SnapshotsMar 26, 2021 | 18:01 GMT
The Suez Canal Blockage and the Risks of Shipping Bottlenecks
Even after the ship blocking the Suez Canal is eventually dislodged, the congestion impacts will ripple through global supply chains for several weeks, underscoring the ever-present risk associated with transiting large amounts of global trade through a small number of key bottlenecks. On the morning of March 23, the Ever Given -- one of the world’s largest class of container ships, with space for over 20,000 containers -- became lodged across the width of one of the world’s busiest maritime trade routes, the Suez Canal. A combination of high wind and relatively low water levels appear to be what grounded the mega-ship, which, as of March 26, remains stuck in the Egyptian waterway, with estimates ranging from days to weeks for when it will be freed. The blockage has since shut down traffic in both directions, leaving more than 200 other ships stuck in and around the Suez Canal. 
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