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Ian Explains: The Iran Nuclear Deal | GZERO World

The Iran nuclear deal

The Iran nuclear deal was enacted in 2015 to stop Tehran from getting the bomb in exchange for economic sanctions relief. At the time it was a big win — especially for the Obama administration.

But not everyone was a fan. Critics say the deal only slowed down the nuclear program, didn’t address Iran's support for Hezbollah, and hardly reset US-Iran ties.

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EU/NATO Summits Intensify Support for Ukraine | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

EU/NATO summits intensify support for Ukraine

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Doha on European support for Ukraine.

Is European support for Ukraine holding up?

I mean, the answer is, very distinctly, is yes. There was a remarkable, you can call it the summit of summits, in Brussels on Thursday, where we had, first the NATO summit with President Biden as well, we had the G7 summit and we had the EU summit with President Biden as well. There's never been, to my knowledge, any summit of summits of that particular sort. And that took place on the day, one month after President Putin started his aggression against Ukraine. Sanctions are being intensified. Weapons deliveries to Ukraine are intensified. The thing that worries the Europeans somewhat is, of course, energy dependence and energy prices. And you've seen a lot of people coming to--quite high up--at the moment Doha in Qatar, in order to secure supplies of natural gas and other energies in order to get Europe off its dependence, or the dependence of some of the country's, on natural gas from Russia.

That will happen as well. So support, certainly holding up.

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How Can Small Businesses Thrive After COVID? | GZERO Media

How can small businesses thrive after COVID?

Two years ago, life as we knew it came to a halt. COVID-induced lockdowns and quarantines hit businesses hard, shuttering stores and restaurants on main streets around the globe.

Now, COVID restrictions have been lifted throughout much of the West. While many businesses that survived (or launched amid) the pandemic are equipped with the creative, innovative spirit that helped them weather 2020-2021, challenges remain.

GZERO Media, in partnership with Visa, hosted a livestream discussion with business experts to examine the consequences and possibilities emerging from COVID, and how micro, small, and medium-sized businesses can thrive. Participants included GZERO President Ian Bremmer, Visa’s Global SVP Merchant Sales & Acquiring Jeni Mundy, US Chamber of Commerce’s Tom Sullivan, Kiva CEO Chris Tsakalakis, and SMEunited’s Veronique Willems. JJ Ramberg, the co-founder of Goodpods and former host of MSNBC’s Your Business, moderated.

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European Small Biz Owners Impacted by Ukraine War and COVID, Says Industry Expert | GZERO Media

European small biz owners impacted by Ukraine war and COVID, says head of industry group

What's the outlook for European small businesses these days?

Not as good as SME owners would like, according to Véronique Willems, secretary general of SMEUnited, an organization representing some 22.5 million European small businesses that employ almost 82.4 million people across 30 European countries.

In recent months, European SMEs have been hit by the double whammy of COVID spikes due to the omicron variant and now higher energy prices due to Russia's war in Ukraine, Willems explains during a livestream conversation on small businesses and pandemic recovery hosted by GZERO Media in partnership with Visa.

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Models of oil barrels and a pump jack are displayed in front of a rising stock graph

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

What We're Watching: Soaring oil prices, inching towards an Iran nuclear deal

Rising energy crisis? Barely a week after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, energy prices are going up faster than most experts predicted. Brent oil rose above $119 a barrel on Thursday, while Dutch natural gas futures — the benchmark for Europe — were trading at the equivalent of $360 per crude barrel. What’s more, prices are already soaring before Western sanctions have targeted Russian oil and gas, which could provoke Moscow into cutting off supplies to Europe. Why is this happening? Demand for Russian commodities has plummeted over fears that the next wave of sanctions will include energy. This week, the US and 30 other countries announced the release of 60 million barrels of oil from their strategic reserves to stop the bleeding, but that won’t be enough if the Russians turn off the tap. Will the Europeans continue supporting tough sanctions when their citizens start complaining about the cost of electricity bills and gas at the pump?

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A worker turns a valve at a Russian oil field near the Ural Mountains.

REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

The worst may be yet to come in Russia-Ukraine energy crisis

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted fears of a disruption of oil and gas supplies to Europe, sending prices to new highs. Brent crude futures reached $105 per barrel in the immediate aftermath of the news before falling back; European natural gas prices jumped by as much as 25%.

Coming at a time of already tight supplies, the conflict is bound to maintain upward pressure on prices, unless it becomes clear that Russian exports will not be interrupted. The impact will be felt directly by US consumers and others, and it will contribute further to already-high inflation.

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Cyberattacks in Ukraine

Jakub Porzycki via Reuters

What We're Watching: Cyberwarfare in Ukraine, Imran Khan in Moscow, National Guard in DC, breaking Europe's energy habit

Cyberwarfare heats up in Ukraine. Even before Putin launched a large-scale conventional assault on Ukraine, cyberweapons were already flying fast and furious. Ukraine’s top IT official said Wednesday that websites for the government, foreign ministry, security services, and several unnamed banks were down after being hit with denial-of-service attacks. (Jargon interlude: a DDoS is where hackers flood a website with so much traffic that no one else can access it.) The latest cyber salvo comes just days after a similar attack on Ukraine's defense ministry and two banks, which the US blamed on Russia. The Kremlin, naturally, denies having anything to do with the attacks. As the Ukraine-Russia crisis continues, expect cyberwarfare to be a major component. NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană told GZERO at the Munich Security Conference that the alliance expects cyberwarfare to feature heavily in the conflict. This could pose a big risk beyond the two countries involved.

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A person dressed as Uncle Sam attends an anti-mandatory coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine protest held outside New York City Hall in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., August 9, 2021.

What We’ll Keep Watching in 2022: The authoritarian plague, climate vs energy crisis, US politics in Georgia

COVID & authoritarianism. Around the world, the pandemic has given national governments vastly greater mandates to manage how their societies and economies work. That has, among other things, created room for authoritarianism to grow and flourish. But there are different views on how that’s happened, and where. On the one hand, undemocratic or illiberal governments used pandemic restrictions to suppress anti-government protests or muzzle critics. Think of China using COVID restrictions to stop the burgeoning Hong Kong protests, or Russia doing the same to crack down on opposition rallies. Freedom House reported this year that the pandemic had contributed to democratic backsliding in 73 countries, the most since 2005. But there are also those who see authoritarian shadows in what democratic governments have done: imposing vaccine mandates, continued lockdowns, and school closures. In the US, a backlash against this has boosted Republicans ahead of next year’s midterms, while fresh lockdowns and mandates have also provoked fierce protests in Europe. There is also the thorny and unresolved question of how to police misinformation. Some Americans think social media platforms are erring on the side of too much content moderation as they struggle with the difficult problem of weeding out dangerous pandemic fake news. Overall, the question of what governments did during the pandemic, and whether it exceeded their mandates, will affect politics and geopolitics deep into 2022.

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