James Byrne, Joe Byrne, Gary Somerville and Hamish Macdonald
A large fleet of North Korean cargo ships continues to deliver coal to China in contravention of UN Security Council resolutions, in what appears to be a large-scale, coordinated effort to evade sanctions imposed on the country over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.
While the initial furore seems to have abated after the US killing of Major General Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force, the ripple effects will continue to spread across the region.
For the first time since the late 1970s, Iran has hit directly at US military targets, and fully admitted its responsibility. But the real imponderable is Iran’s behaviour in the Gulf in the months to come
On 4 July, North Korea successfully tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile. While the options for responding to this test remain the same (sanctions and economic pressures, formal negotiations, military action and deterrence), the mix and calibration of these tools need to change.
Despite all parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action complying with its obligations, Iran’s reintegration into the global economy is fraught with problems. A further factor is a differing attitude to the agreement’s implementation between the US and the EU.