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Maas (L) with Zarif. Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif issued a vague threat today, declaring that the U.S. "cannot expect to stay safe" after starting an “economic war” with Tehran.

Context: Zarif’s remarks came during a visit from his German counterpart, Heiko Maas, who called U.S.-Iran tensions “highly explosive and extremely serious.” Zarif also said Iran would continue to work with Europe to save the 2015 nuclear deal.

  • Iran is furious that economic benefits promised under the deal have been wiped out by U.S. sanctions. Maas said Europe couldn't perform "miracles,” but would do its best. He said the “special purpose vehicle” designed to facilitate transactions would be ready “in the foreseeable future.”
  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, meanwhile, is expected to arrive in Tehran on Wednesday on a tensions-reduction mission that's supported by Trump.
  • Qatar is also attempting to mediate between Washington and Tehran. The Gulf state’s foreign minister called yesterday for “compromises by both parties.”

What to watch: The IAEA nuclear watchdog said today that Iran was increasing its production of enriched uranium. Tehran has said it won't observe restrictions on enrichment after July 7 absent a breakthrough.

Go deeper

21 mins ago - Podcasts

Podcast: After the Biden inaugural

Joe Biden was sworn in today as America's 46th president in an inauguration unlike any other in modern history.

Axios Re:Cap goes deeper into the speech, the atmosphere and what it all tells us about the incoming administration, with Axios political reporters Hans Nichols and Alexi McCammond.

Biden embarks on a consequential presidency

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Donald Trump tried everything to delegitimize the rival who vanquished him. In reality, he's set Joe Biden on course to be a far more consequential U.S. president than he might otherwise have become.

The big picture: President Biden now confronts not just a pandemic, but massive political divisions and an assault on truth — and the aftermath of the assault on the Capitol two weeks ago that threatened democracy itself.

Updated 54 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

U.S. Capitol and stage are lit at sunrise ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden. Photo: Patrick Semansky - Pool/Getty Images

President Biden has delivered his inaugural address at the Capitol, calling for an end to the politics as total war but warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country.

What's next: Representatives from all branches of the military escort the 46th president to the White House.