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What We're Watching: Iran's nuclear tug-of-war, Hong Kong's doomed democracy, Hungarian politician's "misstep"

Iran's nuclear tug-of-war: Hardliners in Iran's parliament passed a bill Tuesday suspending UN inspections of its nuclear sites and giving the go-ahead to massively increase uranium enrichment unless the US lifts its sanctions by February. Iranian president Hassan Rouhani opposes the measure, saying it would be "harmful" to diplomatic efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with the incoming Biden administration in the US. But Iran's parliament doesn't actually need Rouhani's approval to pass the law, and regardless, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will have the final say on policy – as always! If the law is passed, it will immediately raise the stakes for Biden, who takes office on January 20. Both he and Rouhani say they are keen to resume dialogue in hopes of reviving the nuclear deal, which President Trump walked out of in 2018. But just days after the architect of Iran's nuclear program was assassinated (likely by Israel with the US' blessing) the hurdles to even beginning those talks are rising fast.

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Australia’s tricky China problem

"China is angry. If you make China the enemy, China will be the enemy." This was the message recently conveyed by a Chinese government official on the intensifying row with its Asia-Pacific neighbor, Australia.

China-Australia relations, steadily deteriorating in recent months over a range of political disputes, reached a new low this week when Beijing posted a doctored image on Twitter of an Australian soldier holding a knife to an Afghan child's throat. Beijing's decision to post the fake image at a hypersensitive time for Australia's military establishment was a deliberate political provocation: beat Canberra while it's down.

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What We're Watching: Ethiopia's ongoing ethnic tensions, Australia-China spat deepens, Bolsonaro rejected

Ethiopia on the brink: After ethnic tensions between Ethiopia's federal government and separatist forces in the northern Tigray region erupted into a full-blown armed conflict in recent weeks, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced his forces had taken control of Tigray's capital on Saturday and declared victory. But the fugitive Tigray leader Debretsion Gebremichael quickly called Abiy's bluff, saying the fighting is raging on, and demanded Abiy withdraw his forces. Gebremichael accused Abiy of launching "a genocidal campaign" that has displaced 1 million people, with thousands fleeing to neighboring Sudan, creating a humanitarian catastrophe. The Tigray, who make up about five percent of Ethiopia's population, are fighting for self-determination, but Abiy's government has repeatedly rejected invitations to discuss the issue, accusing the coalition led by Gebremichael's Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) of "instigating clashes along ethnic and religious lines." As the two sides dig in their heels, Ethiopia faces the risk of a civil war that could threaten the stability of the entire Horn of Africa.

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“China is not an enemy,” says NATO’s Jens Stoltenberg

"China is not an enemy," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg tells Ian Bremmer in an interview on GZERO World. But the question of whether or not that makes China a friend to NATO allies is not so simple, either. How should the West thread the needle in engaging with China? It's a country that, like it or not, will likely dominate geopolitics for at least the rest of our lifetimes.

Watch the full episode: Will NATO adapt to emerging global threats?

Will NATO adapt to emerging global threats?

The world has changed significantly since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Has the intergovernmental military alliance of NATO—which was founded to counter the Soviet threat to the West—done enough to keep up with today's landscape of global threats? Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg joins Ian Bremmer on GZERO World to make the case for a modern, 21st century NATO. He'll discuss how the alliance is adapting to a variety of threats and challenges ranging from the rising influence of China to cyber warfare to the coronavirus pandemic.

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