Iran-China partnership; Canada halts AstaZeneca vaccines; Air France bailout deal

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Today on The Leaders' Brief -

  • China has signed a 25-year cooperation agreement with Iran, as both countries continue to face US trade sanctions on several fronts. The decision comes at a time Beijing received almost 27 million barrels of cheap Iranian oil, passed off as crude from other origins. Both countries have found a common enemy in form of the USA and the partnership is likely to complicate US President Joe Biden’s desire to bring Iran to the table for talks over re-establishing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action popularly called the Iran Nuclear Deal.

  • Canada has decided to stop the use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine for people aged below 55, due to concerns over reports of blood clots among recipients in Europe. Provincial health authorities in the country, including in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, and Alberta, halted the AstraZeneca shots last week after Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended the pause. The decision comes as a major setback both for Canada and the Anglo-Swedish firm responsible for manufacturing the easy-to-store cheaper vaccine.

  • French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire confirmed reports that Paris and the European Union are close to a bailout deal for Air France. ”It is a matter of days,” according to the French minister before the carrier that registered a net loss of over $8.4 billion last year could see a bailout package that may include major concessions. Among EU countries, France and the Netherlands, each of which owns a 14% stake in Air France-KLM, had previously provided the company with a combined bailout package of over $12.2 billion in loans and credit guarantees.

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