Hard-liners largely silent as Iranians cheer nuclear deal

Tehran , July 15: Back in 2013, when Iran’s nuclear negotiating team reached an interim deal that paved the way for this week’s agreement, hard-line elements within Iran denounced them as traitors.

Now, many largely are silent a day after the landmark nuclear accord with world powers countries led by their foremost foil, the United States.

They offered little more than mild criticism as Iranians took to the streets to celebrate the historic accord. That may be because they don’t want to go against the prevailing mood and they certainly don’t want to be seen as being on the same side of the argument as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has called the deal a mistake of “historic proportions.”

The deal, reached yesterday in Vienna, has the potential to alter Iran’s political landscape for years to come. Many political observers expect it to boost moderate President Hassan Rouhani and perhaps even more reformist-minded candidates ahead of the crucial parliamentary elections scheduled for February.

But that is far from certain. Iranians are hungry for relief from withering economic sanctions, and it is unclear if the timeframe Rouhani’s team has agreed to will live up to expectations.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who holds the final word on all state matters, publicly backs Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his team. That in itself helps temper hard-line opposition.