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This week Federica Mogherini stood up for the Iran nuclear deal. The Italian politician, who serves as Brussels' equivalent to a foreign minister, had played an instrumental role in negotiating the 2015 agreement that lifted sanctions on Tehran. So she spoke out as Donald Trump reimposed sanctions and started to scuttle the deal, writes Mehreen Khan in a weekend profile. Ms Mogherini urged companies small enough to avoid the US to stay the course and increase their business with Iran. 

The confrontation is the latest in a series of tough issues faced by the EU's high representative for foreign affairs — including Russia's invasion of Ukraine and western intervention in Syria. Colleagues say she has remained stoic throughout, relaxed and impervious to personal insults.

Tim Harford ponders our addiction to smartphones, prompted by a visit to Venice where he was the only one looking at the sights. He explores the best ways to disengage.

Jacob Heilbrunn takes on the decision this week by Apple and Facebook — but not Twitter — to remove content from Infowars' Alex Jones, who promulgates right wing conspiracy theories. This is a mistake and undermines the liberal values that Mr Jones' critics claim to stand for, Jacob argues, drawing on decades of US history.

Andrew Jack writes about the resurgence of the anti-vaccine movement. The Italian Senate this week passed legislation to repeal the country's mandatory immunisation laws and discredited researcher Andrew Wakefield, who purported to link childhood jabs to autism, recently resurfaced as a companion to supermodel Elle Macpherson.

Best of the week

Retirees are not the only ones who need a break— Sarah O'Connor

China and Russia’s dangerous liaison— Jamil Anderlini

Nasa’s mission to ‘touch the Sun’ and understand how stars work— Anjana Ahuja

Why Nafta’s losers will always drown out the winners— John Authers

Forget Brexit, Britain is failing to tackle its ‘burning injustices’— Sebastian Payne

There is no need to panic: ‘fake news’ will ultimately lose— Gideon Rachman

Billionaires have franchised the modern art museum— John Gapper

The devastating cost of central banks’ caution— Martin Sandbu

What you've been saying

Belt and Road Initiative is no selfless venture
letter from Sean Kenji Starrs, City University of Hong Kong, in response to “ China has no interest in pushing its own Marshall Plan

If the debt-fuelled, infrastructure investment-driven growth model is itself slowing in China — after three decades of the fastest urban, manufacturing and export boom the world has ever seen — then what are the chances of success for this development model in much smaller economies that are far from being the “workshop of the world”?

In response to China and Russia’s dangerous liaison, Iron Knee says:

Australia and Russia have the same size GDP. China uses Australia as their resource supplier, as they increasingly do with Russia. Hardly a partnership of equals, though Eternal President Putin can't tell his pensioner base that.

If the UK stays in the EIB, both will be winners
letter from Prof Stephany Griffith-Jones, New York, NY, US

If the UK leaves the European Investment Bank, there will be a clear gap, especially in long-term finance for private investment. As the UK already has the lowest ratio of investment to gross domestic product among the Group of Seven countries, this would be very problematic.

Today's opinion

Social media should sit out the panic over the alt-right
Alex Jones inhabits an internet cesspool but attempts to silence him will fail

Person in the News: Federica Mogherini, Europe’s diplomat taking on Donald Trump
Foreign policy chief is a relaxed Italian who told companies to increase Iran deals

Opinion today: A Moscow-Beijing alliance?
It is both wrong and dangerous to think that Russia and China can never be friends

Ingram Pinn’s illustration of the week: Seeing Red
Saudi Arabia’s fury at Canadian criticism

Undercover Economist: How we can resist the seduction of the mobile phone
We are responsible for managing our own attention — and there is plenty we can do

FT Alphaville: Sorry Tim, the humanity is not being drained out of music

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