IAEA inspectors at Natanz nuclear power plant earlier this year

It all seems so simple: Iran’s aggressive expansion of its – officially – civilian nuclear programme has brought it within months of being able to enrich enough uranium to make an atomic bomb. The world has punished the Islamic republic with sanctions and now nobody is happy. So, as per an agreement last November called the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), the world’s big powers (the five members of the UN security council plus Germany, or P5+1) want to reduce Iran’s bomb making potential – the so-called breakout time – in return for sanctions relief.

Briefly put: the P5+1 want Iran’s breakout time to go from under 6 months to at least 12. Iran wants to export its oil and use the world’s banking system. And there the simplicity ends.

Beyond the stated goals is a fiendishly complex jigsaw of negotiating positions, all complicated by questions of transparency and trust. Below is an outline of some of the technical terms that may help to understand what is being discussed. Read more

A breakthrough in the fight against climate change
The US and China surprised the world last week with an outline agreement in which both countries agreed to limit emissions of greenhouse gases. Gideon Rachman is joined by Pilita Clark, FT environment correspondent, and Paul Bledsoe, senior fellow on climate and energy in the German Marshall Fund in Washington, to discuss how big a breakthrough it is.

Gideon Rachman

The announcement of closer Russian-Chinese military co-operation is a striking sign of how geo-political competition is hotting up – as both Russia and China look to push back against a US-dominated world. Read more

 Read more

I never had much time for the Greenham Common women. As a mildly reactionary student of the 1980s, I regarded them – and their protest camp outside a British nuclear-weapons base – as silly and misguided. After all, decades of experience taught that nuclear deterrence worked.

The crew that was dead set against raising consumption tax in Japan will be feeling vindicated. The economy unexpectedly fell back into recession in the third quarter, contracting 0.4 per cent quarter on quarter, or 1.6 per cent on an annualised basis. That makes it highly unlikely that prime minister Shinzo Abe will push ahead with a second round of VAT hikes, from 8 per cent to 10 per cent, after the first increase from 5 per cent in April. At least for now.

Here are seven charts showing the worrying side of Abenomics, and some reasons to be hopeful. Read more

 Read more

Claire Jones

Mario Draghi, European Central Bank president, said earlier this month that central bankers across the eurozone would begin readying preparations for new measures to stave off economic stagnation, should growth and inflation continue to elude the region.

One of the reasons why the bloc’s officials are now teaming up is that there is little left in the European Central Bank’s armoury that does not involve buying government bonds. This is a hugely controversial idea in countries such as Germany, where it is seen as a dodge for high rolling peripheral economies.

Some of the region’s most respected economists are keen to help out. Read more

Moroccan supporters gesture next to a placard reading "Long life to a Morocco without Ebola". Morocco was stripped of hosting the Africa Cup of Nations, and thrown out of the tournament, after saying it wanted to postpone the tournament due to fears over the Ebola epidemic. Getty

It’s been a bad week for international football. Fifa is in disarray over bribery allegations, and now African football is grappling with controversy over its prestigious tournament, the African Cup of Nations. Read more

A handout picture released by Swedish army shows the mystery mini sub

They came, they saw (eventually), and they pledged to conquer if it ever happens again. Read more