UK Government policy on Iran: the Iran nuclear deal and dual nationals

The UK’s relationship with Iran has been under pressure from several significant issues, including trying to restore the Iran nuclear deal and Iran’s detention of British-Iranian dual nationals. The Iran nuclear deal was designed to limit Iran’s non-civilian nuclear development in return for sanctions relief. The agreement has been strained since the US withdrew in 2018 and Iran started to breach it. This briefing looks at the UK Government’s policy on these two issues.

UK Government policy on Iran: the Iran nuclear deal and dual nationals

Covid-19 vaccinations: is the Global South falling behind?

A number of vaccines have been produced in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, currently high-income countries are dominating the purchasing and administration of these vaccines. This has led to low vaccination rates in the ‘Global South’: only 1.4% of people in low-income countries had received a dose as of 23 August 2021. This article explores the scale of the vaccine divide, its causes, and what is being done to address it.

Covid-19 vaccinations: is the Global South falling behind?
  • In Focus

    Timeline of Taliban offensive in Afghanistan

    Following the recent withdrawal of US and coalition forces, the Taliban has taken control of Afghanistan. It now holds all the key cities including the capital, Kabul. Some parts of the country were taken by force, whilst others saw the Afghan National Army withdraw. The Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, has reportedly fled the country.

  • In Focus

    Human rights of LGBT+ people worldwide

    Equality in human rights for LGBT+ people varies globally. Many are vulnerable to violations, including violent attacks and social isolation. The United Nations (UN) has repeatedly confirmed that discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics is contrary to international human rights law. Despite this, over 70 countries worldwide criminalise adult same-sex relationships. The UK Government commits funds to targeted international LGBT+ rights programmes. However, it has recently faced criticism for its New Plan for Immigration.

  • In Focus

    The UK’s relationship with sub-Saharan Africa

    In a report published in July 2020, the House of Lords International Relations and Defence Committee argued that the UK should seek a stronger partnership with sub-Saharan Africa. It made a number of recommendations, including that the UK should set out a list of clear priorities for engagement with the region. Since the publication of the report and the Government’s response, there have been developments across several policy areas.

  • In Focus

    Overseas aid: the 0.7% target

    Between 2013 and 2020, the UK met an international target to spend 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) on overseas aid. A 2015 act enshrined this in legislation. In response to the economic impact of coronavirus, the Government has said that aid spending will temporarily reduce to 0.5% of GNI from 2021. Some commentators have argued this requires further primary legislation. The Government has announced the tests that must be met to restore spending to 0.7%.

  • In Focus

    Belarus presidential elections

    The Belarusian presidential elections on 9 August 2020 saw President Lukashenko re-elected based on official results. However, media organisations have widely reported that the elections were not free or fair. The UK Government has described Mr Lukashenko’s subsequent inauguration as fraudulent. The election result has led to protests and allegations of human rights abuses in the country.

  • In Focus

    Human rights concerns in India

    For several years, concerns have been raised by international governments and human rights organisations about alleged human rights violations in India. Concerns include the protection of religious minorities in the country. India has disputed the allegations, reiterating its commitment to human rights. This article looks at some of those incidences, as well as concerns raised by human rights organisations.

  • In Focus

    Interim trade partnership agreement with Ghana

    The UK has signed a new interim trade partnership agreement with Ghana, replacing the trade arrangements that were in place when the UK was a member of the European Union. The terms of the interim agreement largely replicate those previous arrangements but with some notable differences. Concerns have been raised over the timing of the interim agreement, the level of scrutiny it has received to date, and other issues including the potential impact on trade with and between other west African nations.

  • In Focus

    Importance of foreign aid programme

    Aid spending is targeted at improving the lives of people around the world. This includes tackling global diseases, humanitarian assistance, eliminating poverty, reducing the impact of climate change and making progress towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, many believe aid spending improves the global standing of the UK and builds better trade links. The Government has recently been criticised for announcing a reduction in aid spending.

  • In Focus

    Reduction in the UK’s 0.7 percent ODA target

    In the 2020 spending review, the Government cut aid spending from a target of 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) to 0.5%. Ministers said the UK would spend £10 billion on overseas development assistance (ODA) in 2021–22, this compares with £14.5 billion in 2020. The decision has been controversial, with several politicians and aid organisations expressing concerns about the impact of the reduction.

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