Iran's Nuclear Negotiators Get Heroes' Welcome Home

Monday, 25 Nov 2013 06:44 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Iran's nuclear negotiators got a heroes' welcome in Tehran, where hundreds of jubilant, flag-waving Iranians mobbed the deal makers' convoy, The Christian Science Monitor reported on Monday.

The Monitor reported that despite criticism from hardliners that Iran gave away too much for too little in the six-month agreement brokered in Geneva, most Iranians think the deal could bring about an improved economy and a changed relationship with the outside world.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was praised as an "ambassador of peace" for his part in the talks with world powers. Chants rang out: "No to war, sanctions, surrender, and insult," the newspaper said.

Zarif posed for a few photos at the airport Sunday night, the newspaper reported. In one, he's surrounded by a crowd of young female supporters.

There was also a public exchange of letters between Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the centrist President Hassan Rouhani; in his letter, Rouhani praised the "divine success" under Khamenei's guidance, the newspaper said.

Rouhani said Iran's negotiating team "showed the big powers can be urged to respect the Iranian nation's rights" and "through logical and reasonable presentation [can achieve] respecting all [Iran's] principles and red lines," the newspaper reported, citing a translation by the Fars News Agency.

In return, Khamenei expressed support for his negotiators.

"Achieving what you have written is worth appreciation and praise to the nuclear negotiating team . . . and can be the basis for future smart moves," Fars quoted Khamenei as writing. "God willing, resistance against greediness [of the other side] should always remain as an indicator [of] a correct path."

Most Iranian newspapers covered their front pages Monday with the news, including the reformist Shargh, which showed a large photograph of Zarif clasping hands with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the signing ceremony, both men smiling, and an American flag in the background.

In the past, Iran has called the United States the "Great Satan," and American flags are still routinely burned after Friday prayers, the newspaper noted, while the United States still considers the Islamic Republic the "most active" state sponsor of terrorism.

There was a mostly muted response to the deal in the Arab world, Al Jazeera reported.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohammed ElBaradei, Egypt's pro-democracy leader, welcomed the deal, however. In a tweet on his official account, he wrote, "After decades of failed policies, world better off w/ Iran deal."

The Persian Gulf countries of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates also praised the agreement.

"We welcome this agreement if it will [bring] the end of the fear of any weapons of mass destruction in the region," Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said in Manama, Al Jazeera reported.

In Gaza, Hamas called the deal a sign of Iran's rising power and prominence, the newspaper reported.

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