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Why Iranians Celebrated Their Soccer Team’s World Cup Elimination | GZERO World

Why Iranians celebrated their soccer team’s World Cup elimination

Withhold your sympathy for the Iranian national soccer team, says Iranian activist and journalist Masih Alinejad. They represented the Islamic regime, she tells Ian Bremmer in an upcoming GZERO World interview, not the people.

Alinejad goes on to argue that the national team’s World Cup elimination (at the hands of the United States, no less) means that “the Islamic Republic is kicked out of the World Cup. It doesn’t have a global platform anymore to normalize its murderous regime.”

In a lively conversation, Bremmer presses Alinejad on why she believes that the Iranian soccer players did “too little, too late” to protest their government when they had the world’s attention.

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From left to right, the presidents of Russia (Vladimir Putin), Iranian (Ebrahim Raisi), and Turkey (Recep Tayyip Erdogan) hold talks in Tehran.

utnik/Sergei Savostyanov/Pool via REUTERS

What We're Watching: Tehran trilateral, EU food jitters, Sri Lankan presidential vote

Putin, Raisi & Erdogan in Tehran: friends with differences

Leaving the former Soviet region for the first time since he ordered the invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Tehran on Tuesday with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts. The conflict in Syria, where Russia and Iran are on the opposite side of Turkey, was the main item on the agenda, but little of substance was announced beyond a pledge to rid the country of terrorist groups and to meet again later this year. Importantly, Turkey’s recent threat to invade northern Syria to destroy Kurdish militant groups based there still hangs in the air — a point underscored by Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s call for Russia and Iran to be more “supportive” of Turkey’s security concerns. Still, both Moscow and Tehran have warned him against an invasion. Putin and Erdogan also failed to close the remaining gaps on a UN-backed plan to restart Ukraine’s seaborne grain exports. Lastly, while Putin and the Iranians traded shots at NATO and the West, there was no public mention of the current, fast-fading efforts to revive the long-stalled 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi meet on the sidelines of the Caspian Summit in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS

Putin in Iran: Alliances, arms, and energy on agenda

Iran and Russia are considered staunch enemies of the West, paying for it with crippling sanctions and diplomatic isolation — in Tehran's case over its nuclear program and in Moscow's over its invasion of Ukraine. The two countries, consequently, have turned to one another and boosted their economic and military cooperation.

But even as the US attempts to back a new, anti-Iran order in the Middle East, Russia is making its own moves there.

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Iran Nuclear Deal 2.0? | GZERO World

Iran nuclear deal 2.0, or war?

Since taking office, the Biden administration has worked hard for the US to return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which Donald Trump walked away from in 2018.

Now, reaching an agreement is more urgent than ever because the Iranians are closer to getting the bomb than they've ever been. But Russia's war in Ukraine has complicated things, and some fear that even if a deal happens, the US may withdraw again with a Republican president in 2025.

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Iran Nuclear Deal Now a Toss-Up, Says International Crisis Group Expert | GZERO World

Iran nuclear deal now a toss-up, says International Crisis Group expert

So, is the Iran nuclear deal 2.0 finally happening, or not?

Ali Vaez, Iran project director at the International Crisis Group, says he stopped making predictions months ago. Still, he puts the odds now at 50/50.

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Annie Gugliotta & Jess Frampton

Iran’s nuclear program runs hotter

Talks between Iran’s government and world powers over the future of Iran’s nuclear program continue. The US and Iran are still not communicating directly; Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia are shuttling between them.

The good news is that they’re all still talking. The bad news is that, after eight rounds of negotiations, the main players haven’t agreed on anything that would constitute a breakthrough.

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What We're Watching: Biden's oil dilemma, Abiy Ahmed takes up arms, Iran nuclear talks on life-support

Biden's oil dilemma. The Biden administration says it will release some 50 million barrels of crude from US stockpiles in a bid to reign in soaring gasoline prices. Similar moves were made by Japan, South Korea, and China in recent days as global energy prices rise and supplies remain scarce in many places amid the ongoing economic recovery. Pain at the gas pump and broader inflation concerns in the US have contributed to Biden's tanking poll numbers. With Republicans poised to do well in next year's midterm elections, the president is under pressure to turn things around fast. But Biden has already come under fire from environmental groups, who say the president's move flies in the face of his Glasgow commitments to reduce rather than boost fossil fuel consumption. But in domestic politics, bread-and-butter issues are paramount, and if Biden doesn't "fix" the gas problem hurting American families, the Democrats could suffer a beating at the polls. What's more, Biden has also angered the 23-nation Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which worries that extra US oil on the market will bring down prices for their own crude. Now the organization is warning that it might renege on an earlier promise to produce more oil.

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Annie Gugliotta

Can the nuclear deal with Iran still be salvaged?

US President Joe Biden entered office pledging to return to compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement, provided Iran did the same. His predecessor Donald Trump walked away in 2018 from the deal, which placed limits on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions. But Biden's goal of resurrecting it now seems to be slipping out of reach. We spoke with Henry Rome, a director at Eurasia Group focusing on Iran, about what to expect in the coming weeks and months.

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