Not Everyone’s Happy: Hardliners in Iran Criticize Geneva Nuclear Deal

While most in Iran celebrated a deal that could signal a warming of ties between Tehran and Washington, the country's hardliners found reason to grumble

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Atta Kenare / AFP / Getty Images

Iranians newspapers headlining the deal made with major powers over Iran's disputed nuclear deal are displayed on the ground outside a kiosk in Tehran on Nov. 25, 2013.

If the initial reaction to Iran‘s signing of an interim deal in Geneva with the P5+1 met with media euphoria and a striking, bi-partisan embrace of the agreement by hardliners and moderates alike, responses on Monday varied more widely, as the country’s political elite absorbed the potentially game-changing nature of the deal.

The reaction in Tehran on Sunday, carefully managed by the government of President Hassan Rouhani to pre-empt any hardline opposition to the agreement, struck an overwhelmingly positive tone. By holding a press conference flanked by the families of assassinated nuclear scientists and writing to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Rouhani presented the nation with an agreement that had the backing of the country’s highest authorities and its most fierce nationalists.

But today, some hardline media outlets seem to be suffering a hangover from Sunday’s national cheer. The news site Alef, affiliated with prominent conservatives, ran pieces questioning the agreement’s technical details (one piece noted discrepancies with what had been published in a White House briefing paper) and lamenting the position of weakness from which Iran had been forced to negotiate. “Why Was Zarif Empty Handed?” the site asked, arguing that “there is no doubt the agreement is oppressive” but that Zarif’s failures must be viewed in the context of the bargaining position he inherited from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government.

(MOREIranians Celebrate Nuclear Deal)

The country’s reformist papers ran special editions on Sunday highlighting the agreement’s success in securing sanctions relief, and kept up the bright coverage on Monday. Photos of Zarif dominated the front pages, with the newspaper Arman-e Emrooz declaring that “We Must Give Zarif a Gold Medal,” the daily Aftab headlining “Smiling Diplomat: We Thank You,” and in the newspaper Ebtekar, “A Historic Dawn in Geneva.”

Hardline reactions on Sunday were largely muted, with three hardline members of parliament noting that what U.S. diplomats were saying about the deal contradicted the assurances of Iranian negotiators. MP Mehrdad Bazrpash demanded clarification and criticized the negotiators for failing to secure the West’s recognition of Iran’s right to enrich uranium. But these views swiftly came up against another faction in parliament who dismissed such a facile reading of diplomats’ public statements. Ahmad Tavakoli, a prominent conservative MP, said the Geneva agreement “will be positive for Iran’s economy,” and that “much of the public positions Western officials were taking were aimed at their own domestic constituencies.”

(MOREThe Iran Deal: Kerry’s Ordeal, Obama’s Challenge)

The question of enrichment emerged on Monday as a point of contention, with some hardline sites like the newspaper Kayhan arguing that nowhere in the agreement had the West conceded Iran’s right to enrich. Much of the criticism raised a day after the agreement centered around its technical and economic aspects, as some conservatives and hardliners sought to present their objections in a substantive rather than partisan light. The website Fars News said it had done the math, and found that “the points gained and the points conceded didn’t add up,” arguing that by failing to secure lasting relief from oil and banking sanctions, Iran would still lose in a month what it had gained in the unleashing of some $4.2 billion of its foreign exchange reserves, previously frozen as a result of international sanctions.

Israel’s loud condemnation of the deal drew major attention in Iran, and actually seemed to disarm some prominent hardliners, who concluded that a deal that Benjamin Netanyahu so derided couldn’t be all bad for Tehran. “That Netanyahu disapproves of the Geneva agreement shows that Iran succeeded in securing what it needed during the negotiations,” said a columnist in Jahan News. The website Alef, close to hardliners, ran an overview of regional reaction under the headline “Reactions to Geneva, Smiles of Friends, Frowns of Enemies” that parsed Netanyahu’s warnings about the deal.

Monday’s reaction, among reformist papers and figures, sounded a more thoughtful note, looking at how the Geneva agreement might herald a new political culture in Iran and a shift in its foreign policy. Sadegh Zibakalam, a prominent university professor, told the reformist daily Bahar News that “the details of the Geneva agreement don’t matter, what’s really key is that Iran has put aside its wrathful view of the West.”

MOREStocks Up, Oil Prices Down After Iran Nuclear Deal

25 comments
itnomatter
itnomatter

A deal that concern the hard-liners on both sides, proves that it  may be a good deal for all. 

And to two of Iran's neighbors, Israel and Saudi Arabia spouting the same rhetoric  is very, very funny. 

Maybe now they will both take care of their own security, instead relying on our kids to protect them. After all, they are very, very good at dodging the bullet, as no Israeli or Saudi soldiers were killed in Iraq or Afghanistan.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

And that is how you know it was a good deal, neither sides hardliners are happy.

dlad1234
dlad1234

Obama is a cut above the rest. 


gorks4yes
gorks4yes

In the US, Christian Conservatives are against it.  In Israel, hardline Jews are against it.  In Iran, the radical right mullahs are against it.

In other words, the religious right in each nation is against diplomacy.  Go figure.

AbrahamYeshuratnam
AbrahamYeshuratnam

What is this 'thaw?' After Chamberlain shook hands with Hitler and after the Munich Pact was signed, England and Europe thought there wouldn't be any war. Iran was behind all terrorist attacks. Iran scuttled all the efforts of the US to maintain a new order in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Palestine. Apart from cold blooded murder of Israeli athletes in the  Olympic Games, Iran was behind all bomb attacks in every part of the world, including Latin America.
Right from the day Obama became president, he has been trying to lure Iran into an alliance. He even offered a video conference with Ahmadinejad.  Obama's ultimate aim is to weaken Israel. Turkey was an ally of Israel. After Obama became president, he became close to Turkey, but Turkey was no more a close friend of Israel.
We have to wait and see how Obama's nuclear deal with Iran will morph the geopolitical situation in the Middle East. I'm not a hardliner. Why does Europe target Israel just to get the applause of Iran and other extremists?

buildcastles
buildcastles

Israel is helping Iran's hardliners to see it as a good deal...as they should.

Rancid
Rancid

When both the Iranian, Israeli and Republican hawks criticize the deal, something is right.....

tkulaga
tkulaga

@gorks4yes Please explain "US Christian Conservatives against Iran deal".

#libtardedamerica
#libtardedamerica

@gorks4yes  

"In other words, the religious right in each nation is against diplomacy.  Go figure."

hate to break it to you, but disagreeing with the deal that was decided on isn't the same as being "against diplomacy." that's like saying that since i don't like breathing polluted air that i'm anti-air. it's a blatantly-incorrect statement. but hey, who cares about being accurate when you have a chance to take a shot at conservatives, right? no, much better to bumble on like an idiot and not pass up that sweet, sweet joke. smfh.


mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@AbrahamYeshuratnam Chamberlain and Hitler? Tell us Abraham what territorial concessions is Iran demanding? How many wars of aggression have they launched in the last 100 years? In your example Israel would be a more likely stand in for Germany, seeing as they still occupy foreign territory, own an illegally acquired nuclear arsenal and have launched numerous wars of aggression.

Sol_
Sol_

@AbrahamYeshuratnam I dont think Pres. Obama wants to weaken Israel. I believe he just doesn't give a rats azz about Israel. However,  We still give Billions in aid so I really could care less what Israel wants or thinks about us my President. On second thought, If they act like Idiots and criticize My president for this, It would just fine by me to completely cut off all aid to Israel and let them fend for themselves.

aphoney2
aphoney2

@Rancid nice to see you base your opinion on fact instead of your gut

keep fooling yourself into thinking that iran will ever surrender to pressure

Curious_Quiche
Curious_Quiche

@#libtardedamerica @gorks4yes That bit with the air, pretty solid analogy right there. Then again, if somebody is just hanging a pine scented air freshener, one of those little cardboard tree things, and you're rolling around on the ground screaming and wheezing like it's g0ddamn phosphene or something, maybe there's something a little mendacious in your philosophy

ricardo_lion
ricardo_lion

@mantisdragon91 @AbrahamYeshuratnam   Iran is at war with Israel via proxis, Muslim terrorist group Hezbollah in Lebanon and Islamic Jihad in Gaza.  Iran (together with Turkey, Syria and Iraq) occupies Kurdistan.  They demand another country for the Arabs (like those they killed half a million of them in Iraq), the #23, the second in Palestine (Jewish name) after Jordan while at the same time deny the Kurds their one and only country.

   "Illegaly acquired nuclear arsenal"?

   Israel, the Jewish (the religion of Jesus), democratic and civilized (no civil war, hanging of gays, women stoning, "honour" killing of girls, cannibalism, etc.) in the region did not declare war on those Muslim Arab bloody dictatorships, medieval kingdoms and jihadi groups, but the other way around and every conflict was started by them.

   Currently Israel is "occupying" part of Judea and Samaria, reconquered from Jordan (and not "Palestine") in a defensive war and the biblical Tribe of Dan, reconquered in a defensive war from the artificial country of Syria, created by France, a hereditary bloody dictatorship.

Soulice
Soulice

@Sol_ which is odd considering he won the jewish vote 2 to 1.

Sol_
Sol_

@aphoney2 Your making the mistake in thinking that all Iranians are the same. Just like in your country, there are Nationalists and Pacifists, Liberals and Conservatives. Some want to remain enemies and will continue to distrust all but their own, while the others could care less about cultural or racial differences. It all depends on who is in power. Right now it seems Pres. Rouhani is the later and I see no reason to believe that the U.S. and Iran can not achieve peace as long as the Nationalists remain out of power.

ricardo_lion
ricardo_lion

@Sol_   Iran is ruled by medieval Muslim clerics awaiting for an anti-Messiah, the "Mahdi".  

tom.litton
tom.litton

@aphoney2 @Sol_ That's why it's temporary.  

I don't see the real harm here.  Why not proceed for the next 6 months and see if something all sides can deal with emerges?

If this deal can't be struck, i don't see how any deal can be struck, and i don't see the American people ever favoring invading yet another Muslim country.  Which means the alternative is learning to live with a nuclear Iran.

aphoney2
aphoney2

@Sol_ if it were up to sane people with no hidden motives then i would be more in favor of it

i agree it has to start somewhere and sometime but i am not sure now is that time

after so many years of conflict with iran on a diplomatic level, i feel we are moving too fast and being a little to enthusiastic, possibly without realizing that iran is not being totally honest about everything it should be.

Sol_
Sol_

@aphoney2 But it has to start somewhere, sometime.

aphoney2
aphoney2

@Sol_ even though i can't totally disagree with you, i prefer to err on the safe side in our own best interests. not all people are honest no matter what their affiliation 

there are always the ones in power that do not reflect the will of their constituents just like here at home in the u.s. (and definitely do not reflect the will of the ones who disagree with them)