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Another Iran Nuclear Deadline Looms

Plus: Boris Johnson’s trials in Parliament, Italy’s new government, and the other stories we’re following today.

By , a senior editor at Foreign Policy.
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks at parliament in Tehran on September 3.
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks at parliament in Tehran on September 3.
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks at parliament in Tehran on September 3. ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images

Here is today’s Foreign Policy brief: Iran again increases the pressure on Europe, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffers another defeat in Parliament, and Italy swears in a new government.

We welcome your feedback at morningbrief@foreignpolicy.com.


Iran Threatens Another Step Back Ahead of Friday Deadline

Here is today’s Foreign Policy brief: Iran again increases the pressure on Europe, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffers another defeat in Parliament, and Italy swears in a new government.

We welcome your feedback at morningbrief@foreignpolicy.com.


Iran Threatens Another Step Back Ahead of Friday Deadline

Iran has threatened to begin developing centrifuges to enrich uranium more quickly. The announcement came before a Friday deadline for European signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal to find a way around U.S. sanctions so Iran can sell its oil. Meanwhile, as France proposed a plan to provide Iran with a $15 billion credit line, the United States refused to back down on its sanctions or offer waivers to accommodate the French plan.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called Friday’s third step away from the nuclear pact the “most important step” yet, following two previous breaches. But he also set another two-month deadline for Europe to keep pushing for a way to help boost Iran’s oil sales—leaving the option open for further diplomacy.

Will Trump meet Rouhani at UNGA? U.S. President Donald Trump indicated on Wednesday that he would be willing to meet with Rouhani at the U.N. General Assembly in New York later this month. “Sure, anything’s possible. They would like to be able to solve their [economic] problem,” he said. “We could solve it in 24 hours.” But it’s not likely: Iran has so far refused any bilateral meeting with the United States.

A signal to the West? On Wednesday, Iran also released seven of the 23 crew members on a British-flagged oil tanker seized by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in the Strait of Hormuz in July. (Britain released an Iranian tanker last month.) Iran said the crew were released on humanitarian grounds.


What We’re Following Today

Boris Johnson defeated in Parliament, again. On Wednesday, Britain’s Parliament voted to block Prime Minister Boris Johnson from allowing a no-deal Brexit on Oct. 31 and rejected his call for a snap election on Oct. 15. Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn said he would agree to an election, but only after the bill blocking no deal has received Royal Assent and become law—which could happen as early as Monday now that the House of Lords has agreed to proceed without filibustering the bill. It’s unclear when the date for a new election would be set. Johnson’s strategy has been a bluff from the beginning, Owen Matthews reports for FP.

Meanwhile, Johnson is scheduled to meet both U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today in London—the latter a surprise visit. (In Dublin on Tuesday, Pence indicated his support for Johnson’s handling of Brexit.)

Italy swears in a new government. Italy’s new coalition government led by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will be sworn in by President Sergio Mattarella today. The partnership between the Five Star Movement and the center-left Democratic Party is expected to be more pro-European Union than the Five Star’s previous coalition with Matteo Salvini’s right-wing League party. Conte announced his cabinet on Wednesday, including a replacement for Salvini in the interior ministry—Luciana Lamorgese, an expert in migration and refugee policy.

Brazil’s Car Wash investigation faces backlash. Brazil’s largest corruption investigation—known as Operation Car Wash—faces a challenge after the country’s Supreme Court justices threw out a corruption conviction by the judge who was in charge of the investigation, the current Justice Minister Sergio Moro. In recent months, Moro has faced criticism for leaked text messages that suggest he collaborated with prosecutors on a case charging the now jailed former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Lawyers warn that the decision could set a precedent for 143 other convictions. “There’s no doubt this is Car Wash’s worst moment,” a former lead prosecutor told Reuters.

Pentagon diverts funds for U.S.-Mexico border wall. Angering lawmakers, the U.S. Department of Defense announced on Wednesday that it would redirect $3.6 billion in funding to put toward President Donald Trump’s plans for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The move was approved by Defense Secretary Mark Esper—and it marks the first test of his ability to walk the administration’s political tightrope, Lara Seligman reports.


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Keep an Eye On

Protests in Argentina. Facing an ongoing economic crisis, thousands of people demonstrated against the government in Buenos Aires on Wednesday. While currency controls appear to have stabilized Argentina’s markets, economists in the country have warned that the recession is only going to grow worse because investors were spooked by the results of the presidential primary.

Saudi Aramco’s potential IPO. The Saudi state-owned energy company Aramco has replaced the country’s energy minister as its board chairman in a move that seems to be a step toward its initial public offering. The new chairman, Yasir al-Rumayyan, is an adviser to Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and sees the IPO as an opportunity to reform the country’s economy.

Christine Lagarde at the European Central Bank. On Wednesday, EU lawmakers backed Christine Lagarde as the next president of the European Central Bank—with the full European Parliament set to formalize the appointment in two weeks. If confirmed, Lagarde has pledged to put the risks of the climate crisis on the ECB’s agenda.

Another Russian arms deal for Turkey. Russia and Turkey have confirmed they are discussing sales of Moscow’s Su-35 fighter jets after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended a Russian air show. Russia is seeking to take advantage of the dispute between Turkey and the United States, which removed Turkey from its F-35 program in July.

Hezbollah’s next war against Israel. With the Syrian civil war winding down, Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley say they are preparing for the possibility of a new war with Israel for the first time in 13 years, Sulome Anderson reports for FP. “We are constantly in a state of war,” one fighter told Anderson. “We’ve been in a state of war since 2006.”


Odds and Ends

Vegetarianism is becoming increasingly popular among young people in beef-dependent Argentina—creating a growing cultural divide, the Associated Press reports. While Argentina and its neighbor Uruguay lead the world in beef consumption, a recent survey found that six in 10 Argentines are inclined to stop eating it.


That’s it for today.

For more on these stories and many others, visit foreignpolicy.com, subscribe here, or sign up for our other newsletters. Send your tips, comments, questions, or corrections to morningbrief@foreignpolicy.com 

Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

Audrey Wilson is a senior editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @audreybwilson

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