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03/04/2015 | Iran's nuclear deal -The view from Tehran

The Economist Staff

The young and hopeful in Iran are cautiously optimistic.

 

IN IRAN it is said, usually in whispers, that there is a divide between those who back the regime and those who loathe it. The latter speak longingly of the Shah's rule, when they went to nightclubs, drank alcohol in bars and danced with girls in mini-skirts till dawn. They tend to forget, however, about the Savak: the monarch's brutal secret police, formed by the CIA and trained by Mossad agents, who terrorised anyone who spoke out against the ruler. The regular burning of American and Israeli flags at religious street rallies is just one modern day manifestation of Iran's tortured past.

The tentative framework for a nuclear deal announced in Lausanne, Switzerland on April 2nd could, over time, unite a country whose fault lines are never far from the surface. And obstacles to cooperation between the outside world and the Islamic Republic's clerical rulers may at last be subsiding.

On Friday morning, people danced in the streets and car horns blared during hours when the capital has usually fallen silent. Expectations have been raised of new possibilities, especially among a young and highly educated generation that was not even born when the Shah fell in 1979. Amid the crowds of revellers some scepticism could be found concerning the motivations of the Iranian leadership. “They are doing this for themselves, not for us,” said Alireza Yazdi, a taxi driver who looks much older than his 49 years. “Seventy percent of our people are living under the poverty line. How can a nuclear deal change that?” he asked.

In the short term it will not. But most Iranians are more optimistic. A joke circulating in Tehran goes that whenever Mahmoud Ahmedinejad—the conservative president who preceded the current office-holder, Hassan Rohani—appeared on television a new round of sanctions from America, Europe or the United Nations would inevitably follow. Now the existing set of sanctions could be rescinded.

An end to sanctions might initially add about 1 percentage point to Iranian GDP growth, one leading Tehran-based economist predicts. Yet the removal of the sanctions, which currently include an international banking ban and oil embargo, could generate an economic shake-up and a flood of new opportunities. Under Mr Rohani's technocratic government the economy is growing: at 4% in the first six months of the fiscal year according to a presidential statement on February 11th. For ordinary Iranians, whose savings were wiped out by Mr Ahmadinejad's disastrous economic policies and the collapse of the currency—the rial is worth one third what it was three years ago—a deal cannot come soon enough.

The enthusiasm for a new relationship with the West of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, will be harder to assess. The 75-year-old, who has led Iran since the death in 1989 of the Islamic Republic's more charismatic founder, Imam Ruhollah Khomeini, will not be rushing headlong into close ties with America. A man whose every speech can be read in at least two ways, Mr Khamenei is a master at hedging his bets.

But he now has pressing reasons for seeing the nuclear process through. Mr Khamenei is ageing and probably sick: perhaps, the rumours have it, with prostate cancer. He may want to be remembered at home for more than the brutal crackdown, in 2009, on massive street protests in response to a presidential election widely considered to have been rigged. The country has yet to get over the trauma. Though reports of his imminent demise are not new—he was said to be on death's door as long ago as 2006—there is growing acceptance that a successor must be found. “The leader is not dying but he is old,” says one regime insider. “He does not want to leave the next guide with problems and so he wants to close the nuclear file.”

The road ahead is fraught. In the months before the final, June 30 deadline for a comprehensive agreement sceptics in Tehran and Washington, Jerusalem and Riyadh will work relentlessly to sabotage a deal. While questions related to sanctions are unresolved, Mr Khamenei will remain vociferous in his demands.

But as Mr Rohani said when the nuclear talks appeared deadlocked last November: “There is no going back.” The president has faced savage criticism from hardliners for his attempts to seal a pact with “the Great Satan”, but the nuclear framework deal announced in Lausanne has the one endorsement that matters most: that of Mr Khamenei. 

“We can keep our hardliners in check, the question is whether Barack Obama can handle his,” a Tehran-based political analyst says. While that resolve persists, the possibility of a better future for Iran will continue to energise the crowds strolling along the streets of Tehran.


The Economist (Reino Unido)

 



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26/08/2009|
21/08/2009|
19/08/2009|
19/08/2009|
15/08/2009|
15/08/2009|
15/08/2009|
11/08/2009|
11/08/2009|
11/08/2009|
11/08/2009|
19/07/2009|
19/07/2009|
18/07/2009|
18/07/2009|
27/03/2009|
22/03/2009|
22/03/2009|
27/01/2009|
27/01/2009|
27/01/2009|
17/01/2009|
17/01/2009|
17/01/2009|
17/01/2009|
17/01/2009|
17/01/2009|
11/01/2009|
06/12/2008|
06/12/2008|
06/12/2008|
06/12/2008|
23/11/2008|
23/11/2008|
16/11/2008|
16/11/2008|
04/11/2008|
04/11/2008|
03/11/2008|
03/11/2008|
24/10/2008|
24/10/2008|
24/10/2008|
24/10/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
06/09/2008|
06/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
22/08/2008|
22/08/2008|
17/08/2008|
17/08/2008|
16/08/2008|
16/08/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
19/07/2008|
19/07/2008|
24/05/2008|
24/05/2008|
03/05/2008|
03/05/2008|
29/04/2008|
11/02/2008|
05/01/2008|
09/12/2007|
18/11/2007|
10/11/2007|
10/11/2007|
06/11/2007|
06/11/2007|
06/09/2007|
26/08/2007|
25/08/2007|
11/07/2007|
16/06/2007|
16/06/2007|
10/06/2007|
10/06/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
24/04/2007|
24/04/2007|
14/04/2007|
14/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
28/02/2007|
28/02/2007|
05/02/2007|
05/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
20/12/2006|
20/12/2006|
17/11/2006|
30/09/2006|
28/07/2006|
12/04/2006|
12/04/2006|
12/04/2006|
06/03/2006|
21/02/2006|
17/02/2006|
31/01/2006|
10/01/2006|
28/12/2005|
31/10/2005|
26/09/2005|
29/08/2005|
11/08/2005|
08/08/2005|
24/06/2005|
24/06/2005|
24/06/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|

ver + notas
 
Center for the Study of the Presidency
Freedom House