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An image of the victims of the Uvalde school shooting displayed at a House hearing on gun violence on Capitol Hill.

Jason Andrew/ Reuters

What We’re Watching: United States of Guns, Ukrainian strategy, Iran censured

The United States of Guns

The US House of Representatives kicked off a grueling two-day hearing on gun violence in America on Wednesday, just two weeks after a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers. Miah Cerrillo, 11, whose classroom was attacked, recounted how she painted herself with a classmate’s blood and played dead. Kimberly Rubio, whose daughter Lexi was killed, recalled how she ran miles barefoot looking for her daughter that fateful day. The hearing is part of the Congressional debate on how to respond to a spate of recent deadly shootings, most notably in Uvalde, as well as at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, where Black Americans were targeted by a white supremacist. Senate Democrats, in coordination with the White House, are working on narrow legislation that could get the support of at least 10 Republicans needed to pass. Proposals center on addressing mental health issues in young males and incentivizing states to introduce their own “red-flag laws” to remove guns from dangerous owners. The Democrat-controlled House, meanwhile, has advanced a bill with eight gun-control measures – including banning large-capacity magazines – but it's unlikely to pass the Senate, where Dems hold a razor-thin majority. It’s a busy week for the House, which will also launch hearings on the Jan. 6 riots on Thursday. Check out what Eurasia Group's lead US analyst, Jon Lieber, has to say about how the Dems hope to use these hearings to gain an edge in the midterms here.

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The US Can’t Let Iran Get Any Closer to Nuclear Weapons, Says Iran Expert Ali Vaez | GZERO World

The US can’t let Iran get any closer to nuclear weapons, says Iran expert Ali Vaez

Even if the US rejoins the Iran nuclear deal, many Republicans are fiercely opposed to it — and could withdraw again in 2025 if they win the White House in two years.

Why do it at all then? Ali Vaez, Iran program director at the International Crisis Group, has some thoughts.

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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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Iran's presidential race: A choiceless choice

The field has narrowed in Iran's highly-anticipated presidential elections set for next month. The powerful Guardian Council has given a handful of candidates the go-ahead to compete for the presidency. But critics of the regime say it's barely a competition at all. What's happened so far, and what does this tell us about the state of Iran's domestic politics?

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Ian Bremmer: Getting To A 'Yes' on a New Iran Deal | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Getting to ‘yes’ on a new Iran deal

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi everybody. Ian Bremmer here. Welcome to your week and I've got your Quick Take and thought I would talk a little bit about where we are with Iran. One of the Biden administration's promises upon election was to get the Americans back into the JCPOA, the Iranian nuclear deal. As of last week, negotiations are formally restarted, and pretty quickly, in Vienna, they're not direct. The Americans and Iranians are both there, but they're being intermediated by the Europeans because they're not yet ready to show that they can talk directly to each other. That's Iran being cautious in the run-up to their presidential election coming this summer. But the movement is there. So far the talk has largely been about sequencing the Iranian government, saying that all of the sanctions need to be removed before they're willing to go back into the deal, because the Americans after all, unilaterally withdrew from a deal that the Iranians were indeed adhering to, and the inspections did confirm that.

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Is the US Misjudging the Middle East’s Power Shifts? | Vali Nasr | GZERO World with Ian Bremmer

Is the US misjudging the Middle East’s power shifts? Vali Nasr's view

"Pivot to Asia." It was the catchphrase floating around Washington DC's foreign policy circles in 2009 when President Obama first took office. And yet twelve years later, the Middle East continues to consume the attention of the United States' military and diplomatic efforts. Now President Biden is determined to change that, and to turn Washington's attention to Asia once and for all as he moves to confront a growing China. But according to Johns Hopkins University Middle East scholar Vali Nasr, President Biden's approach to the Middle East will have to adapt to the once-in-a-generation power grab occurring between Iran, Israel, and Turkey while Arab nations in the region increasingly lose influence.

Podcast: Is the US misjudging the Middle East’s power shifts? Vali Nasr's view

Listen: "Pivot to Asia." It was the catchphrase floating around Washington DC's foreign policy circles in 2009 when President Obama first took office. And yet twelve years later, the Middle East continues to consume the attention of the United States' military and diplomatic efforts. Now President Biden is determined to change that, and to turn Washington's attention to Asia once and for all as he moves to confront a growing China. But according to Johns Hopkins University Middle East Scholar Vali Nasr, President Biden's approach to the Middle East will have to adapt to the once-in-a-generation power grab occurring between Iran, Israel, and Turkey while Arab nations in the region increasingly lose influence.

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

Ian Bremmer: Biden Strikes Syria. Now What? | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Biden strikes Syria. Now what?

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here, and as we head into the weekend, a Quick Take on, well, the first bombing campaign of the new Biden administration. You kind of knew it was going to happen. Against some Iranian-backed militias in Syria, looks like a couple of dozen, perhaps more killed, and some militia-connected military facilities destroyed. I think there are a few ways to look at this, maybe three different lenses.

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