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Security Brief: HA Week of July 5, 2021

Week of Monday, July 5, 2021 | Issue 19

Darren Nichols, Halle Morel, Danielle Rybinski, Historical Analysis (HA) Team


Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani[1]


Date: July 6, 2021

Location: Iran

Parties involved: Iranian government; the United Nations (UN); the United States (US); International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

The event: Iran informed the United Nations that they plan to produce uranium metal-enriched to up to 20% purity for reactor fuel use. The JCPOA allows Iran to enrich uranium up to 3.76%.[2] The IAEA stated the enriched metal could be used to make a nuclear bomb but would require a timely multi-stage process. This announcement comes at a time when the US and Iran have been working to revive the Iran nuclear deal.[3]

The implications:

  • The increase of enrichment to 20% will likely raise concern by Western powers on Iran’s nuclear intentions with the material. Western powers will likely heighten surveillance of Iran’s nuclear facilities to track the progress in the enrichment and understand how the uranium is being used. As a result, Iran will likely grow distrust and contempt for Western powers. This will likely weaken the working relationship between the two parties and further the challenge of restricting Iran’s nuclear program.

  • The US rejoining the nuclear deal is contingent upon Iran’s compliance with the previously negotiated commitments in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.[4] Thus, the announcement will likely prolong the US from reviving the nuclear deal to prevent Iran’s nuclear program. Without a nuclear deal between the US and Iran, Iran will likely continue to advance their nuclear program and pose a threat to international security.

  • The US and other Western powers will likely impose new economic sanctions on Iran as a method of deterrence. This method will likely weaken Iran’s revenue-generating sources, preventing Iran’s ability to aid nuclear production capabilities. Additionally, the sanctions will likely encourage Iran to engage with Western powers on the future of Iran’s nuclear program and ensure their compliance with agreed-upon negotiations.


Date: July 10, 2021

Location: Ethiopia

Parties involved: Ethiopian government; Ethiopia’s Prosperity Party

The event: Ethiopia’s June 21st election results were announced, and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s ruling Prosperity Party took an overwhelming majority of seats, 410 out of 436.[5] Ethiopia, the second largest democracy in Africa, has stated the election was fair, but the US has voiced concerns and stated that the election was “significantly flawed.”[6]

The implications:

  • During an erosion of democracy worldwide, the US, United Nations, and the European Union would like to see democracy thriving in Ethiopia. However, it will take time for election monitors to determine if the results were fair. The United Nations would be the agency to determine the validity of the elections and they can be slow to move. The UN is an objective arbiter in election integrity and can put pressure on Ethiopia to hold fair elections. The longer it takes to certify the election, the more oppressive PM Ahmed may become towards political opponents.

  • The election was a test for PM Ahmed, who has struggled with the war in Tigray. The landslide election victory may give him the mandate to continue his policies. Tigray is currently under a fragile cease-fire, with the Tigran forces competing for control of the capital, Mekelle, from Ethiopian troops.[7] However, much-needed aid convoys are still being hampered by Ethiopian soldiers, and it is likely that PM Ahmed will break the cease-fire given his election victory.

  • In the coming weeks and months, the UN’s Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs should monitor the conflict in Tigray and use its election monitors to report on the validity of the Ethiopian election. PM Ahmed has stated that he will only serve two terms and then step down.[8] If the elections were not fair and the UN does not challenge the results Ahmed may decide to use rigged elections in the future to stay in power. The UN and other world powers have a chance to aid democracy in an important African nation.


Date: July 6, 2021

Location: Israel

Parties involved: Israeli government; Palestinian Authority; Hamas; US government

The event: The chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee is leading a delegation to Isreal intending to ease relations with the Palestinian Authority. The trip comes after 11 days of military conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Further, representative Gregory Meeks said that the trip was meant to “assess Israel’s current security needs; and evaluate the Biden Administration’s attempts to restart assistance to the Palestinian people.”[9]

The implications:

  • The release of $50 million USD in economic aid to Palestine is currently being blocked by republican Senator James Risch over a concern that economic assistance to Palestine doesn’t comply with US federal laws.[10] It is likely that this delegation’s meeting with Israeli authorities will impact whether the USD 50 million in aid is going to be released to the Palestinians.

  • The delegation is currently scheduled to meet with Israeli authorities only, showing a clear alignment of US interest in the conflict. This meeting will likely garner negative political attention from pro-Palestine groups and leaders. American companies, organizations, and individuals in Israel and Palestine should remain vigilant during these meetings as there is a potential for anti-American protests to occur.

[1] Hassan Rouhani by Mojtaba Salimi licensed under Creative Commons

[2] Reviving The Iran Nuclear Deal: Here's What It Involves And Why It's Hard, NPR, April 2021, https://www.npr.org/2021/04/05/983405544/reviving-the-iran-nuclear-deal-heres-what-it-involves-and-why-its-hard

[3] Iran informs IAEA of plans to produce enriched uranium, Reuters, July 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/iran-informs-iaea-plans-produce-enriched-uranium-2021-07-06/

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ethiopia’s ruling party wins national election in landslide, Al Jazeera, July 2021, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/7/10/ethiopias-ruling-party-wins-national-election-in-landslide

[6] ibid

[7] After battlefield reversals, what next for Ethiopia’s Tigray war? Al Jazeera, July 2021, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/7/10/what-next-ethiopia-tigray-war

[8] Ethiopia’s ruling party wins national election in landslide, Al Jazeera, July 2021, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/7/10/ethiopias-ruling-party-wins-national-election-in-landslide

[9] Top Democrat leads bipartisan trip to Middle East, The Hill, July 2021, https://thehill.com/policy/international/561640-top-democrat-leads-bipartisan-trip-to-middle-east

[10] Ibid.


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