What We’re Watching: Iran’s Nuclear Intentions & Saudi’s Newest Target
Iran's belated response to Trump's Walkout – To mark the one-year anniversary of President Trump's decision to withdraw the US from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, Tehran announced this morning that it will no longer abide by parts of the agreement. It will suspend sales of its uranium stockpile – key to removing them from the country – and has threatened to resume higher uranium enrichment within 60 days unless other countries in the pact help it get around US sanctions. To date, all the parties to the deal except the US have continued to honor its terms. We'll be watching closely for the response of European governments.
Another critic in Saudi Arabia's crosshairs – An Arab pro-democracy activist and prominent critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman now living under asylum in Norway faces a credible threat from Saudi Arabia, according to the CIA. Ironically, the activist in question, Iyad el-Baghdadi, warned last year that unless Western powers held Riyadh to account for the murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi Crown Prince would become more dangerous.
What We're Ignoring: Pompeo's Cartographic Skills & "Pardons" in Myanmar
Mike Pompeo's Fake Geography – The US Secretary of State claimed during a speech to the Arctic Council on Monday that Canada's territorial claims over the Northwest Passage are "illegitimate." Leaving aside the geographical reality that the passage in fact moves between and around Canadian islands, Ottawa responded to Pompeo by citing the 1988 Arctic Cooperation Agreement, which specifies that the US government must askCanada's permission for its icebreakers to navigate the waterways of the Northwest Passage.Myanmar's "pardon" of two Reuters journalists – The government of Myanmar has released two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, after 17 months in prison as part of a broader amnesty that saw 6,000 prisoners set free. That's wonderful news for these men, their families, and for journalists everywhere. But let's be clear: the only "crime" these two men committed was to provide fearless coverage of the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys by the country's security forces and Buddhist civilians in western Myanmar's Rakhine State in 2017. Their show trial was condemned by outside observers, including the UN.