ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 08/05/2019

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Washington Post – Tamer El-Ghobashy / Iran announces it will stop complying with parts of landmark nuclear deal

  • On the first anniversary of the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that his country was taking steps to halt its compliance with elements of the deal.
  • Rouhani said that Iran would keep stockpiles of excess uranium and heavy water that is used in nuclear reactors. He gave a 60-day deadline for new terms to the nuclear accord, after which Tehran would resume higher uranium enrichment.
  • There was no immediate reaction from the White House to the Iranian announcement. Rouhani sent a letter notifying the signatories to the nuclear deal of Iran’s reduced commitments on Wednesday, according to IRNA, the official state news agency of Iran.
  • During a visit to Russia on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that Iran “will not withdraw” from the nuclear deal”. “This is only an opportunity for the opposite parties to act upon their commitments,” he said.
  • Al-Monitor / ‘Time to set it on fire’: Iranian hard-liners want nuclear deal scrapped

The Guardian – William Gumede / ANC corruption is a major cause of South Africa’s failure – and the polls will show it

  • The African National Congress (ANC) is likely to win the South African elections today, but its majority will take a hit and it may struggle to win, or have to share power in some of the provinces.
  • After 25 years in power, in which corruption has run rampant, the party’s popularity is lower than the personal popularity enjoyed by President Cyril Ramaphosa. If Ramaphosa was not also the head of the ANC, it is very likely that it would be heading for defeat.
  • For years, the ANC held its factions together through state patronage. Now, the gulf between those who benefit from state patronage and those who do not has undermined the ANC’s broad church. To deliver a better life for its voters, the ANC must renew itself, become honest and adopt better policies.
  • Renewing the ANC will mean taking on its corrupt leaders, which may break it into two parties: the Ramaphosa ANC and former President Jacob Zuma’s ANC. If Ramaphosa compromises with the corrupt parts of his party for the sake of ANC “unity”, renewal will be impossible.

The New York Times – Sylvie Kauffmann / Macron puts Germany on trial

  • Two years after the first official meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, progress on better European integration is nowhere to be seen and the charm has given way to exasperation.
  • Recently, Macron openly admitted for the first time that France disagreed with Germany on Brexit strategy, energy policy, climate change, trade negotiations with the US — and the list could have been longer. Macron went on to suggest that “the German growth model has perhaps run its course.”
  • It is precisely because Macron’s house is on fire – due to the “Yellow Vests” movement – that he is losing patience with his biggest, wealthiest neighbor. When it comes to specific policies, Germany’s unilateralism is increasingly at odds with Merkel’s much-acclaimed commitment to multilateralism.
  • A core problem is that French officials think the eurozone is at risk of collapsing if it does not correct its inequalities, while the Germans are happy with the status quo — because they have gained so much from it.

Foreign Policy – Colum Lynch & Robbie Gramer / China rises in UN climate talks, while US goes AWOL

  • The US has yet to say whether it will attend a major UN climate summit in September, convened by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, and has opted out of the preliminary negotiations—leaving it to others, including rivals like Beijing, to write the rules.
  • The conference will try to secure agreements to take some form of action on six major areas: promoting a global transition to renewable energy; making urban infrastructure more resilient in the face of extreme weather; encouraging the sustainable management of forests, agriculture, and oceans; aiding countries vulnerable to global warming to adapt to the new realities; and securing public and private financing to address the major challenges posed by climate.
  • With Washington on the sidelines, Beijing — at Guterres’s invitation — will co-chair discussions at the UN with New Zealand on “nature-based solutions” to global warming, including management of forests, rivers, lakes, and oceans.
  • Richard Gowan, of the International Crisis Group: “So much of the current effort to contain China at the UN boils down to bickering over language in not very important resolutions. I think the Trump administration is missing the big picture, which is that for a lot of countries climate diplomacy is the most important part of what the UN does.”

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces. 

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