June 10, 2012 by Lorand Laskai
A few days ago, a top UN official announced a new round of talks with Iran over access to restricted nuclear sites. The talks are the latest in a diplomatic effort to engage Iran over its nuclear program, reflecting recent optimism that a negotiated solution is possible. Only a few weeks ago Catherine Ashton, the lead negotiator for the P5+1 talks in Baghdad, confidently expressed her desire to secure “the beginning of the end” of the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program. Both parties left Baghdad empty handed, though faith in a diplomatic way forward remained, as both parties agreed to meet again in Moscow on June 18th.
While misguided, this latest bout of optimism over diplomatic engagement with Iran—nowhere to be found only a few months ago—is not entirely unwarranted. The latest round of comprehensive sanctions from the U.S. and Europe has had crippling effects. Crude oil exports—Tehran’s lifeline— were down as much as 1 million barrels a day in April. The IEA (International Energy Agency) expects that sanctions, once in full force, will curb Iran’s oil exports by 50 percent. A frenzy of panic, moreover, has thrown the Iranian currency into a free fall. In just six weeks, the Iranian rial lost half its value.
March 23, 2012 by Richard Javad Heydarian
Arguably, growing tensions over Iran’s nuclear impasse represent today’s greatest international security challenge. Current Western sanctions against Iran are biting hard, but they are also hurting both the Iranian population and global consumers.
With rising concerns over a possible “supply shock” — as Iran struggles to sell its oil and alternative producers such as Saudi Arabia and Libya scramble over dwindling spare capacity — energy prices are inching closer to their staggering 2008 levels.
November 26, 2011 by Patrick Hall
China’s centralized policymaking continues to be at odds with a world system that strives to observe the principles promoted by the international community. At the Reuters Washington Summit, Undersecretary of State Robert Hormats stated that “There’s competition between the American economic model and the more state-centered economic model of China” and “We have a challenge in dealing with China. On one hand, the global system won’t work well if we and China can’t cooperate and productively resolve our differences”.
With the developed world reinforcing the notions of democracy and open markets, China continues to combat Western influence as a means to preserve its national sovereignty and diminish foreign interference in domestic affairs. Undersecretary Hormats’ resolution to this issue is for the West to promote its “principles and practices” as a means to “signal to China that other countries are playing by a higher set of international rules”.