Larry Kaplow

The U.S. marks the opening of its embassy to Israel in Jerusalem with a large ceremony Monday. In physical terms, it's just a move of the ambassador and some staff from Tel Aviv to a large consular building that already exists.

But it carries political significance that's reverberating around an already-tense Middle East: After decades of U.S. policy saying the status of the disputed city should be settled in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, the Trump administration is now saying the city is Israel's capital.

President Trump has called it the "one of the worst deals" he has ever seen — but for now, he is keeping the U.S. in the nuclear deal with Iran.

The president decided Friday to continue waiving — that is, easing — some economic sanctions against Iran. That is part of the U.S. commitment in the 2015 nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Under the deal, Iran allows strict limits on its nuclear program in return for easing of economic sanctions.

President Trump's Iran address creates uncertainty about the long-term survival of the two-year-old nuclear deal. It opens the door to Congress to find ways out of it, even as he threatened — yet again — to use his power as president to break the deal himself.

But for now, the deal stands — with the administration itself acknowledging it's better to have it than to break it.

In 2015, world powers agreed to give Iran relief from some economic sanctions in return for inspections and limits on its nuclear program. Since the nuclear deal — formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — took effect in January 2016, Iran has allowed inspections and is seeing some economic payoff.

The Syrian civil war could be on the verge of its worst bloodshed yet — the wholesale destruction of the eastern side of Aleppo, one of the country's most important cities.

This is the warning the United Nations envoy, Staffan de Mistura, sounded in desperation this past week about Aleppo. Since the collapse of a ceasefire last month, the Syrian government and its Russian allies have stepped up attacks on the eastern side of the city, which is held by rebels.

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