Longitude #49

May, 2015


Still a steep climb
by Stefano Stefanini

Should the P5+1 sign the Iran nuclear deal or not? This is the wrong question until we actually know what the deal is. Thus far, certain substantial issues remain in the air. And no one wants to be blamed for a bad deal.


Inside Iran
by Shahram Bahadori

Foreigners reporting on Iran make little effort to understand the situation from within, perpetuating a series of myths in the process. From the Iranians’ point of view, however, there is a degree of diversity that would surprise most Westerners.

1980: a dour Persian New Year
by Lanfranco Vaccari­­

The Islamic Republic of Iran was still in its infancy, Tehran’s disciplinarians were on the lookout for vice, and so was I, along with the other guests dancing to disco music at the Hyatt Hotel’s party. It wasn’t long before the authorities decided to take matters, and this correspondent, into their own hands.

Managing the Middle East’s shifting balance
by Maurizio Melani

With Iran poised to sign a nuclear deal that would lift sanctions, the rest of the major players in the Middle East will feel the need to adjust to what everyone expects will be a more powerful Iranian presence.

Obama’s not-so-rosy Middle East policy
by Emanuele Ottolenghi

There is no disputing that a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear program is preferable to the alternative. But America’s allies in the region fear that the lack of US strategy will not curtail Iran’s power. And the US has not been able to sufficiently reassure them.

Congressional interference, a time-honored tradition
by Christopher Caldwell

As the Obama administration works toward a deal on Iran’s nuclear program, the US Congress is clamoring about its constitutional mandate to approve the treaty – though not loudly enough for some.

Iran's game

Iran’s assets
Map by Marie Joveneau

The sliding euro

The $uper dollar
by Stefano Cingolani

With the US economy’s recovery gaining traction, its currency has grown stronger. The implications are mixed, depending on which end of a transaction you happen to be on, but they are surely significant.

The dance of the fiats
Map by Marie Joveneau
China poaches America’s financial clout
by Alberto Brambilla

With the creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, China has attracted some of America’s closest allies, despite US resistance to the initiative. Yet another sign of an increasingly multipolar financial world.

Pricing euro-dollar parity
by Hermann Simon, Danilo Zatta

With a sharp drop in the euro’s value against the dollar exporters on both sides of the Atlantic are scrambling to find an optimum pricing formula for their products.


by Stash Luczkiw

Europe’s Jews are getting nervous. In the past, political and economic volatility, combined with the perception that Jews wield more power than their numbers warrant, have proven to be a recipe for catastrophe.

The Jewish diaspora
Map by Marie Joveneau
The changing face of migration flows
by Stefano Bertozzi

Immigrants used to come to Europe primarily for economic reasons. But as instability in the region increases, more and more of them are seeking the status of political asylum and need to navigate an array of laws and systems.

Shaky deals
by Dimitri Deliolanes

Everyone in Greece who is suffering from austerity would like to know how the country got into its current mess. But finding those responsible and holding them accountable may not be so easy.


Return to the center
by Massimo Boffa

Russia has long been cast as the villain in international politics. But seen from within, Putin has been carrying out a very coherent strategy of weakening the centrifugal forces that have historically plagued the country. And most Russians approve.


The man who woke a tiny tiger
by Maurizio Stefanini

Lee Kuan Yew led Singapore to independence and turned it into an economic miracle. He was more than just an astute authoritarian leader. He laid the foundations for a renaissance throughout much of Asia.

The Orientalist

A four-way power play
by Maurizio Molinari

In order to get a sense of how events might play out in the Middle East, the Iranian agreement can be seen from the perspectives of four different power blocs vying for increased influence in the Muslim world.

Warming bloopers

The climate change paradox
by Carlo Clini

Carbon emissions lead to more CO2, which plants use to make their food. Studies are now registering more plant life in the world. This might be due
to an increase in carbon emissions. So in effect, the main culprit of global warming might become responsible for a greener planet.