Russia

EU, Russia and China reach payments deal to counter Trump's Iran move

EU representative sitting next to Iran president
Federica Mogherini (L), European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Photo: Alexander Shcherbak\TASS via Getty Images

The U.K., Germany, France, Russia and China have agreed to establish a special payments system to circumvent U.S. sanctions on Iran stemming from President Trump's unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, the Financial Times reports.

The big picture: The payments channel would be an alternative to SWIFT, the backbone of the global financial system that allows Iran to get paid for oil, pay for its imports and finance its activities abroad. The five countries involved in the agreement remain committed to doing business with Iran, which the International Atomic Energy Agency says is still complying with the terms of the nuclear deal. President Trump, meanwhile, has threatened that anyone doing business with Iran will not be able to do business with the U.S.

Russia to supply Syria with S-300 missiles in rebuke of Israel

Putin
Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

One week after a Russian plane was accidentally shot down by Syrian missiles launched at Israeli fighter jets, Russia has announced it will supply the Syrian army with sophisticated S-300 surface-to-air missiles.

Why it matters: Israel has asked the Russians for many years to avoid supplying S-300 missiles to Syria because it could limit the Israeli air force's freedom of operation in Syria. The Russian announcement threatens to break the coordination mechanism between the two countries in Syria and unravel what was thought to be a close relationship between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.