Iranian hard-liners mixed on nuclear agreement

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While most Reformist media and administration officials have touted the latest nuclear agreement between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) as a “win-win,” the Iranian hard-line media has had a mixed response, with Kayhan newspaper, whose editor is chosen by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, taking perhaps the harshest stance.

Kayhan‘s top story today was headlined, “America was not trustworthy: Geneva agreement lasted one hour.” The op-ed read that US Secretary of State John Kerry’s comments that the P5+1 does “not recognize Iran’s right to enrich” contrasted with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s comments that Iran’s right to enrich was recognized in the latest deal. The article continued, “Once again, this reality has been confirmed that America is not trustworthy and that we should not be deceived by the deceptive smiles of American diplomats and officials.”

Hard-line Raja News interviewed US affairs analyst Fouad Izadi, who is often interviewed by hard-line websites for perspectives on US foreign policy. He said that the interim deal, in which Iran reduces some nuclear activity in return for partial sanctions relief, presents many problems.

“The experience we have with the foreigners is that whenever we have a discussion about a temporary offer,” Izadi said, “is that the opposing side expects it to become continuous.”

While Izadi conceded that the agreement has positive points, it is those points and not the negative ones that are discussed publicly. One of the positives, according to Izadi, was that “Saudi Arabia’s real face” was shown through its “pact” with Israel in opposition to Iran, and this weakens Saudi Arabia’s claim to lead the Muslim world.

Izadi said that in comparing the concessions by each side, Iran’s were “not small,” and one of the weak points of the agreement was that the banking and oil sanctions, which he described as “our main problem,” remained in place. Izadi added that even if President Barack Obama waived specific sanctions, the US Congress needs to play a role in the removal of more severe sanctions and that given “the Israel lobby in the US Congress, this does not seem to be realized.” Izadi suggested that the Iranians begin a lobby in the United States in order to counter the influence of the Israeli one.

Many conservative and hard-line newspapers and websites, however, either welcomed the deal or presented a pros-and-cons account of the deal without taking sides. Conservative newspaper Ettelaat‘s top story was headlined, “The world officially recognized Iran’s nuclear rights.” An op-ed in Resaalat read, “Ten years of Iranian resistance against world bullies and those who seek too much has given answers.”

Hard-line Jahan published a piece in a series by nuclear scientist Alireza Zakani that covered “the reasons for the success of the nuclear agreements.” Javan featured the parliamentary National Security Council secretary’s recent statements, in which he said, “In truth, the agreement that took place was a big victory for our country.” While he said that the specific sanctions relief for Iran during this interim deal was “not significant,” the agreement resulted in “Iran’s nuclear rights being accepted.”