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National Security Brief: Pressure Continues On Iran

— The Obama administration announced yesterday that it would exempt even major importers of Iranian oil — but not China — from American sanctions because the countries had “significantly reduced” their oil purchases from Iran.

— Reuters reports that Turkey, the world’s fifth-largest buyer of Iranian oil in 2011, “steeply reduced” its imports of Iranian crude last month. Meanwhile, Indian state-owned refiners will halt planned oil imports of 173,000 barrels per day from Iran when European sanctions take effect in July.

— The Global Peace Index found that the world became a more peaceful place in the last year, despite the escalating conflict in Syria. For the first time, sub-Saharan Africa was no longer the world’s least peaceful region, losing that dubious distinction to the Middle East and North Africa in the aftermath of the “Arab Spring.”

— The U.N. today accused Syrian troops of using children as “human shields,” and branded the Syrian government as one of the worst offenders on its annual “list of shame” of conflict countries.

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— The Los Angeles Times reports that a “movement to boycott this week’s runoff presidential election is gaining momentum, threatening Egypt’s restive transition to democracy and revealing a sharpening disdain by voters over the choice between a conservative Islamist and a holdover from the old guard.”