Council on Foreign Relations – Daily news brief Sept. 22, 2022

Top of the Agenda

Iran Curbs Internet Access as Protests Over Woman’s Death Spread

Protests in support of women’s rights and Iran’s political opposition have spread to dozens of cities (NYT) in the country following a woman’s death after being detained by police last week. Authorities have deployed security forces and disrupted internet and cellular services to contain the demonstrations, Iran’s largest since 2019. Many of those protesting are women. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps called on the judiciary to prosecute (Reuters) anyone spreading “false news and rumors” related to the protests. 

Twenty-two-year-old Mahsa Amini died after being detained by Iran’s morality police, who accused her of dressing immodestly and violating the country’s headscarf law. Iranian state television reported today that seventeen people, including demonstrators and police, had died (AFP) in the protests.

“Opposition to the dress code has been a feature of the country’s tightly controlled civil society ever since the [1979] revolution, but dissent has grown louder since late 2017 when a number of women were photographed standing on public electrical cabinets and benches in Tehran, holding their head scarves aloft,” Bloomberg’s Golnar Motevalli writes. 

“Don’t underestimate courage & risks those women are taking. Dancing in public and not covering are felonies for women in Iran,” The National’s Joyce Karam tweets. 
Pacific Rim

Japan Intervenes in Currency Markets for First Time Since 1998The yen-buying scheme aims to prop up the currency (Kyodo), which has lagged as Japan maintains its low interest rate while other countries have raised theirs. 

Japan/South Korea: Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol pledged to improve ties (Kyodo) in informal meetings on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. It was the first in-person talks between the countries’ leaders since 2019. For Foreign Affairs, Victor Cha and Christopher Johnstone write that Japan and South Korea can no longer let history thwart cooperation.
South and Central Asia

Report: Chinese Energy Companies Pushing Myanmar Military to Buy Russian GasA memo obtained by Frontier Myanmar showed that three Chinese energy companies urged Myanmar’s military government to buy Russian liquified natural gas in July. 

Pakistan: Former Prime Minister Imran Khan called for fresh protests (Bloomberg) demanding snap elections. Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court is expected to charge him with contempt for comments about a female judge.
Middle East and North Africa

Amnesty Accuses Egypt of Covering Up Rights ViolationsAn Amnesty International report alleged that Cairo is using its National Human Rights Strategy to distract from its human rights violations, including arbitrary detentions and the stifling of protests and civil society. The effort comes amid growing international criticism and preparations for the UN climate conference Egypt will host in November. This In Brief looks at the international scrutiny on Egypt ahead of the climate conference.
Sub-Saharan Africa

Investigation Finds Mounting Allegations of Sex Abuse at UN-Run Camp in South SudanReports of sexual abuse committed by aid workers at a camp in Malakal have increased since they were first reported in 2015, an investigation by the New Humanitarian and Al Jazeera found. The United Nations estimates that as many as five thousand displaced people could be headed toward the camp soon. E

thiopia/Kenya/Somalia: A drought in the Horn of Africa has left 3.6 million children in the three countries at risk of dropping out (The Guardian) of school, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). 
EuropeRussia, Ukraine Swap Hundreds of PrisonersUkraine freed (Reuters) the leader of a banned pro-Russia party and fifty-five Russians, while Russia released more than two hundred Ukrainians, including fighters who had been captured in Mariupol earlier this year. CFR’s Thomas Graham discusses how Russia’s latest moves could signal a new phase in the warUnited Kingdom: The country lifted a ban on fracking (Politico), citing energy strains prompted by the war in Ukraine.

Head of U.S. Navy Bribery Scheme Arrested in VenezuelaFormer military contractor Leonard Francis had escaped house arrest (CNN) in San Diego earlier this month. In 2015, Francis pleaded guilty to bribery and fraud charges related to the U.S. Navy’s largest-ever corruption scandal.

Americas: The Associated Press obtained a report alleging that Inter-American Development Bank President Marcelo Claver-Carone had a romantic relationship with a longtime aide while giving her pay raises.
United States

New York Attorney General Sues Trump for FraudThe civil lawsuit claims that former President Donald Trump and three of his children misled authorities (CNN) by inflating the value of Trump’s properties in a scheme lasting more than a decade. 
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