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These are some of the notable events relating to politics in 2016.
- January 3 – Following the fallout caused by the execution of Nimr al-Nimr, Iran ends its diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia.
- January 16 – The International Atomic Energy Agency announces that Iran has adequately dismantled its nuclear weapons program, allowing the United Nations to lift sanctions immediately.
- February 7 – North Korea launches a long-range rocket into space, violating multiple UN treaties and prompting condemnation from around the world.
- March 21 – The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, visits Cuba, marking the first time a sitting US president has visited the island nation since president Calvin Coolidge visited in 1928.
- June 23 – The United Kingdom votes in a referendum to leave the European Union.
- June 28 – ISIL is suspected to be responsible for attacking Atatürk Airport in Istanbul, killing 45 and injuring around 230.
- July 12 – The Philippines wins the arbitration case they filed at the Permanent Court of Arbitration regarding the legality of China's "Nine-Dash Line" claim over the South China Sea under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
- July 13 – Theresa May is declared Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
- August 31 – The Brazilian Senate votes (61–20) to impeach the President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff. The Vice President of Brazil, Michel Temer, who had assumed the presidential powers and duties as Acting President of Brazil during Rousseff's suspension, takes office for the remainder of her term.
- September 3 – The US and China, together responsible for 40% of the world's carbon emissions, both formally joined the Paris global climate agreement.
- September 9 – The government of North Korea conducts its fifth and reportedly biggest nuclear test. World leaders condemn the act, with South Korea calling it "maniacal recklessness".
- December 19 – Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, is assassinated in Ankara.
- December 23 – The United Nations Security Council adopts Resolution 2334 condemning "Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories occupied since 1967".
- "Agence France-Presse on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2016-01-03.
- "Iran nuclear deal: 'New chapter' for Tehran as sanctions end". BBC. 2016-01-17. Retrieved 2016-01-17.
- "North Korea fires long-range rocket despite warnings". BBC News. 2016-02-07. Retrieved 2016-02-12.
- News, A. B. C. (2016-03-22). "The Last Time an American President Visited Cuba". ABC News. Retrieved 2017-06-24.
- Erlanger, Steven (2016-06-23). "Britain Votes to Leave the European Union". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-06-24.
- "Istanbul Ataturk airport attack: 41 dead and more than 230 hurt". BBC News. 2016-06-29. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
- Phillips, Tom; Holmes, Oliver; Bowcott, Owen (2016-07-12). "Beijing rejects tribunal's ruling in South China Sea case". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-07-13.
- Perlez, Jane (2016-07-12). "Tribunal Rejects Beijing's Claims in South China Sea". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-07-13.
- "Brazil impeachment: Key questions". BBC News. 2016-08-31. Retrieved 2016-09-05.
- "Paris climate deal: US and China announce ratification". BBC News. 2016-09-03. Retrieved 2016-09-03.
- Hunt, Katie; Kwon, K.J.; Hanna, Jason (2016-09-09). "North Korea claims successful test of nuclear warhead". CNN. Retrieved 2016-09-09.
- "The Maldives decides to leave the Commonwealth; commits to continue with its international engagement". Maldivian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2016-10-13. Archived from the original on October 14, 2016. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
- "Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov shot dead in Ankara". BBC news. 2016-12-19.
- "Israeli settlements: UN Security Council calls for an end". BBC News. 2016-12-23. Retrieved 2016-12-27.