Iranians’ View of the Nuclear Deal: Optimistic, With Significant Caveats

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Iranians’ View of the Nuclear Deal: Optimistic, With Significant Caveats

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, centre, Head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi, left, and Hossein Fereydoon, brother and close aide to President Hassan Rouhani, meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Vienna, Austria, Friday July 3, 2015. (Photo: Carlos Barria/AP)

U.S. media coverage of the Iran deal is, as usual, overwhelmingly focused on American and Israeli voices, with the hard-liner fanatics in each country issuing apocalyptic decrees, insisting that the deal is far too lenient on Iran and provides it with far too many benefits. Though largely excluded from U.S. media discussions, there is also substantial debate among Iranians about the virtues of the deal, with most viewing it positively due to the economic benefits it is expected to provide, but with many holding the view that it unfairly impinges on Iranian sovereignty in exchange for very few legitimate concessions.

The optimistic Iranian view is grounded in the expectation that the deal will usher in a normalization of relations between Iran and the west, lifting both the sanctions regime and the threat of war. That view was expressed by the ringing endorsement from National Iranian American Council President Trita Parsi, who proclaimed that “diplomacy has triumphed and war is off the table. The United States and Iran have turned the tide on decades of enmity and instead have secured a nuclear deal that promises a better and brighter future.” He added that “we now know that the U.S. and Iran need not remain hostile enemies, but can interact with each other to achieve shared interests.”

But much Iranian public opinion, while positive, is more nuanced and guarded. Hooshang Amirahmadi, an Iranian-American professor of international relations at Rutgers University (who was one of the individuals targeted for NSA spying), has devoted most of his career to advocating for a normalization of U.S./Iran relations and the lifting of the sanctions regime. To the extent this deal accomplishes that, he said today in an interview with The Intercept, he supports it, though if it ends up confined only to nuclear issues, “then it will be very bad for both countries.” Amirahmadi added that the mood in Tehran is, in general, “very happy.” Ordinary Iranians, he said, “obviously like what has happened” primarily because “they expect money to arrive, which will help the economy and create jobs.”

But he noted several critical caveats. To begin with, expectations among ordinary Iranians are very high: they expect substantial economic improvement, and if that fails to materialize, Amirahmadi sees a likelihood of serious political instability which “could go in a terrible direction for Iran.”

Read the rest of the piece at The Intercept.

Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, constitutional lawyer, commentator, author of three New York Times best-selling books on politics and law, and a staff writer and editor at First Look media. His fifth and latest book is, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, about the U.S. surveillance state and his experiences reporting on the Snowden documents around the world. Prior to his collaboration with Pierre Omidyar, Glenn’s column was featured at Guardian US and Salon.  His previous books include: With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the PowerfulGreat American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican PoliticsA Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency, and How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values from a President Run Amok. He is the recipient of the first annual I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism, a George Polk Award, and was on The Guardian team that won the Pulitzer Prize for public interest journalism in 2014.

Murtaza Hussain, The Intercept

Murtaza Hussain is a journalist and political commentator now working for First Look Media. His work focuses on human rights, foreign policy and cultural affairs. Murtaza’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, Salon and elsewhere. Twitter at @mazmhussain.

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