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HomeMiddle EastIran Celebrates Nuclear Deal, Tempered by Cynicism and Hard-Liner Warnings

Iran Celebrates Nuclear Deal, Tempered by Cynicism and Hard-Liner Warnings

Video | Iranians Celebrate Nuclear Deal Iranians took to the streets on Tuesday night to celebrate the nuclear accord between the United States and Iran.
By THOMAS ERDBRINK
July 14, 2015

TEHRAN — Weary of sanctions and isolation, many ordinary Iranians rejoiced on Tuesday over a historic nuclear agreement with world powers led by the United States, the main enemy for nearly four decades.

But their excitement was tempered by an accumulated cynicism over false hope and by warnings from hard-liners that public celebrations would undermine Iran’s position.

“The West will take advantage of the people’s happiness,” a conservative analyst, Mehdi Fazaeli, told Fars, a news agency that is associated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. “It shows us as if we are desperate for a deal.”

The agreement announced in Vienna will lift the onerous economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for verifiable guarantees that its nuclear activities are peaceful.

Interactive Feature | Reactions in Tehran On Twitter, The Times’s Thomas Erdbrink is sharing reactions to the Iran nuclear deal from around Tehran.

While there were pockets of celebrants out on the streets of Tehran, the capital, in the late evening, the turnout was not enormous.

In Vanak Square, families and youths showed up holding balloons and waving flags, some shouting “Iran!” as if the country had won the World Cup. But police officers soon showed up and the party ended.

The police were also deployed at Vali-Asr Square and Parkway Square, other meeting places where relatively modest celebrations came together.

Some citizens held aloft signs calling for the release of the opposition leaders Mir Hussein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi, who have been under house arrest for years.

On social media, many Iranians started a virtual party, extolling Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as a hero. Some said Mr. Zarif, a career diplomat educated in the United States, deserved the Nobel Peace Prize.

Others created digital banners, posting them on the country’s Persian-language Telegram messaging app, calling for everybody to come out and celebrate in the streets of Tehran after the day’s summer heat dissipated.

“Nuclear party!” one read, showing a picture of Mr. Zarif smiling. “History will stand up to salute you.”

Others lauded President Hassan Rouhani, whose popularity declined over a failure — at least so far in his two years in office — to make good on a promise to change laws and provide people with more personal freedoms.

Many here joke of the key that was his election symbol, representing a way to unlock a solution to Iran’s problems. “Oh Hassan, they said your key was lost, but it was found in Vienna,” Bahram Ahmadi, a poet, wrote on a Telegram app posting. “Goodbye falafel, hello McDonald’s,” she added.

The news of a nuclear deal surprised many Iranians, some having grown suspicious after false hope over the years, from their own leaders as well as those from the West.

“The structures of our system are not changing,” said Mostafa Zeidabadi, a zinc importer. “If sanctions are lifted in four months or so, where will that money go? To us? I don’t think so.”

“I don’t know whether I’m angry or happy,” he said. “Have I been told lies for the past 12 years?”

Graphic | The Iran Nuclear Deal – A Simple Guide A guide to help you navigate the talks between global powers and Tehran.

Some recalled how over the past decade Iran’s leaders had mocked the sanctions as meaningless. “I never cared about nuclear energy but was told that we gave so much for this,” said Vahidreza Haqparast, 38, an English teacher.

Mr. Haqparast said he expected many problems to remain because of mismanagement and corruption in Iran. “They need improvement, our politicians and managers.”

Others were even more fatalistic. “Who are we but a toy in the hands of world powers,” said Ahmad Razavipour, a pensioner.

Iran’s influential hard-liners, who have criticized Mr. Rouhani in much the same way that President Obama has been denounced by Republicans in the United States, signaled their intent to undercut the agreement.

Graphic | Who Got What They Wanted in the Iran Nuclear Deal Here is a look at what Iran and the United States wanted, and what they got.

Some hard-liners were saying that even a first glance at the document showed what they called breaches of the “red lines” laid down by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader.

“I don’t want to comment on the record now,” said one influential hard-line politician, “but it seems our negotiators have gone too far with some of their promises, especially on the level of inspections. And the system for the lifting of sanctions is also not clear,” he said by telephone.

Members of Parliament said they would scrutinize the document, asserting that the red lines decreed by the ayatollah were the only criterion, most notably the lifting of all sanctions.

“We would not accept that the other party gives us promises for the future while they ask us for immediate implementation of our commitments,” Hossein Naghavi Hosseini, an influential member of Parliament, was quoted as saying by Tasnim, a leading Iranian news agency. “People expect the Parliament to follow up removing all of the sanctions.”

Graphic | What Key Players Are Saying About the Iran Nuclear Deal A guide to international reaction to the historic accord.