Wednesday, July 15, 2015

15-Jul-15: Victory for resistance, a new chapter of hope, united against terror etc

Iran's Zarif [Image Source]
From the sublime to the ridiculous to the pollyannish, here's our brief overview of the spectrum of reactions to yesterday's announcement of an understanding between Iran and six world powers.

The BBC, reporting from Iran, provides a window into the jubilation there after yesterday's announcement:
There is a sense of pride on Iran's rolling news channels IRINN and Press TV, with patriotic music videos adding colour to rolling coverage of the build-up to Tuesday's announcement. State-owned Channel One is more reserved, presumably not to overexcite the audience over the agreement. But even Channel One is appreciative of the negotiators, while stressing that the deal came through the "resistance" of Iranians. In their morning editions, before the deal was formally announced, Iran's moderate and reformist papers celebrated the upcoming agreement, hailing Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as a hero of near-epic proportions. The Qanoon newspaper carried a front-page report depicting Mr Zarif as Arash, a heroic archer figure from Iranian folklore... ["Iran nuclear deal shakes Middle East media", BBC, July 14, 2015]
Widely varying Iranian understandings of what to hope for [Image Source]
Reuters sees four paradigmatic views to this (all direct quotes):
  • U.S. President Barack Obama hailed a step towards a "more hopeful world" 
  • Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said it proved that "constructive engagement works"
  • Israel pledged to do what it could to halt what it called an "historic surrender"...
  • Delighted Iranians danced in the streets of Tehran, while motorists sounded car horns and flashed victory signs in celebration... [Reuters, today]
Elsewhere Reuters quotes these insider assessments:
  • Iran's foreign minister Zarif: "[W]e are starting a new chapter of hope"...
  • US foreign minister (secretary of state) John Kerry: "This is the good deal we have sought."
  • European Union foreign minister ("foreign policy chief") Federica Mogherini: "I think this is a sign of hope for the entire world."
Other voices:
Under Iran's reputedly 'moderate' Rouhani, significant ongoing advances in
diminishing the number of foes of the regime [Image Source]
  • All the quoted Republican presidential candidates are critical and opposed [source: Reuters]. Most of them raise meaningful objections that are not contradicted by anything their president has said to the public. This is not exactly a moment for a full and frank exchange of American views.
  • Syrian despot Assad, addressing Rouhani in Iran, looks forward to 'momentum' in the 'constructive role' played by Iran in supporting 'the rights of people' [Ynet today]
  • The leader of one of the Syrian rebel groups (the Asala and Tanmieh Front) fighting the Assad forces in northern Syria fears "an increase in Iranian influence in the region and this is what is making Assad happy". Iyad Shamse says he worries that "US pressure would not be enough to stop Tehran from entering" the war. "We are worried," he is quoted saying [Reuters yesterday]
  • "The lifting of international sanctions will allow Iran to consistently expand its oil and gas market,.. The deal will open new trade opportunities for Turkey, in particular in the energy field." [Anadolu Agency - Turkey, today] Turkey's imports from Iran were $10 billion in 2014; exports were around $4 billion [Hurriyet Daily, today].
  • Iraq's prime minister Haider al-Abadi sees the "agreement signed Tuesday between Iran and world powers in Vienna" [note: in reality nothing was signed] as "a catalyst for regional stability... an important step" that "will lead to better unity in the fight against terrorism." [Alalam Iran, yesterday]
  • Associated Press, reporting from Dubai today, says the deal "met with a profound wariness in the Arab world, where concerns are widespread that the easing of its international isolation could tip the already bloody contest for power in the region toward Shiite-led Tehran." [AP, today]
  • Egypt's foreign ministry "expressed hope" that yesterday's deal "prevents an arms race in the Middle East as well as ensuring the region is free of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons"... [Masress Arab News Agency, Egypt, today]
  • "Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his US counterpart John Kerry could be possible candidates for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize over Iran's nuclear accord..." [Iran's PressTV news agency, last night]
So much hope. So much unfounded optimism. So little historical awareness.

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