August 17, 2015


Iranians Dare to Hope (HOOMAN MAJDAUG. 17, 2015, NY Times)

What Iranians were celebrating on the evening of July 14 was their version (and perhaps as significant for them) of the storming of the Bastille -- a potential break with an order that included sanctions, isolation, vilification of their country, and, more importantly, their own 36 years of struggle for normalcy. From the congratulatory text messages that Iranians sent to each other, and the anxious wall-to-wall television, radio, Internet and newspaper coverage of the nuclear deal reached in Vienna, to the spontaneous street celebrations in big cities that evening, Iranians were breathing a sigh of relief that maybe, just maybe, things can get better for them economically, socially and politically.

Another friend, a successful businessman whose affairs suffered progressively as sanctions tightened over the past six years, said to me numerous times since negotiations began that he and fellow Iranians were being driven crazy by the false starts, the alternating good and bad news coming out of various locations in Switzerland, Vienna, New York or Oman, and that despite the fact that the talks hadn't ever broken down, they were hostages to watching a horror movie but not knowing if it will, like in the movies, end well. Knowing that I had attended almost all the sessions as a reporter, he didn't call the day the deal was announced (as he usually did during the talks). On my phone, though, there was a simple message from him: tabreek -- congratulations -- with no exclamation point. None needed.

Few Iranians were ever on the side of the delvapassan -- the self-proclaimed and self-named "worried" group, who made it known in ads and public statements that the country was about to give away the farm to hegemonic enemies. Not only did most Iranians not believe that, they also realized that if the status quo continued for very much longer, there might not be much of a farm left for them to give away.

The excitement with which most Iranians greeted the nuclear agreement was not an anti-revolutionary cry, nor a verdict on the deal itself. It was merely an expression of hope -- sorely lacking among so many Iranians who could see none -- that the Revolution with a capital R might finally be permitted its maturity. The deal was simply good news for them after years of bad, even if the promised results would not, most knew, be realized overnight.

Posted by at August 17, 2015 1:56 PM

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