Economic sanctions

Expert Voices

In Tehran, Shinzo Abe tries to play part of U.S.–Iran mediator

Shinzo Abe and Hassan Rouhani shaking hands
Hassan Rouhani and Shinzo Abe in Tehran. Photo: Presidency of Iran / Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe begins two days of meetings with Iranian officials in Tehran on Wednesday — seeking "a frank exchange of views" and following up on a proposal to mediate for the U.S. that President Trump cautiously welcomed in May.

Why it matters: Abe’s visit comes amid Iranian escalation — of both its regional operations and nuclear program — and intensifying U.S. economic pressure. As Iran seeks relief from American sanctions, Abe is likely banking on the U.S.–Japan alliance and his close relationship with Trump to protect Japan’s interests and boost its image.

Expert Voices

EU aims to deter cyberattacks with stricter penalties

European Council building with European flags displayed
The European Council in Brussels, Belgium. Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

The European Council announced last week a new framework to punish perpetrators of cyber crimes, in response to a growing number of politically motivated attacks against EU member states and institutions, non–EU countries and international organizations.

Why it matters: The EU has condemned malicious behavior in cyberspace before, but this is the first time it has instituted a policy to respond to malign behavior, an important milestone given the threats posed by hackers from Russia, China and elsewhere.