Dubai: The nuclear deal with world powers is a political victory for Iran, President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday, adding that the agreement meant Tehran would no longer be regarded as an international threat.
“No one can say Iran surrendered,” Rouhani told a cabinet meeting broadcast on state television. “The deal is a legal, technical and political victory for Iran. It’s an achievement that Iran won’t be called a world threat any more.” Iran and six world powers reached a deal on Tuesday, capping more than a decade of negotiations with an agreement that could transform the Middle East.
“No deal is perfect. There should be always compromise,” Rouhani said in his remarks to cabinet ministers.
“It was really difficult to preserve some of our red lines.
Drivers honked their horns and dozens of Iranians cheered in a main square and boulevard of the capital Tehran on Tuesday, welcoming their country’s landmark nuclear deal with world powers, which they hope will mean an end to isolation and sanctions that have crippled the economy.
The burst of celebrations underscored the hopes that many Iranians have pinned on the drawn-out talks. That public yearning for economic relief was crucial for winning moderate President Hassan Rouhani the breathing room to negotiate with Iran’s nemesis the United States over imposing limits on the nuclear programme.
“I’m very happy,” gushed Azizieh Habibi,a 46-year-old housewife with two college-age children, who was among those celebrating on Tehran’s Vali-e Asr Avenue. Some waved flags, some had painted their faces in the flag’s red, white and green colours, chanting thanks to Rouhani and his top negotiator, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
“My children will have a better future since there is no threat of sanctions and restrictions anymore,” said Habibi. “They may even go to the US for more education.”
A key question now will be whether powerful hard-liners, including the elite Revolutionary Guard, who have spoken staunchly against concessions on Iran’s nuclear ambitions, will acquiesce to the accord. They were largely silent on Tuesday after the deal’s announcement, most likely waiting to see the stance of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who holds the final word on all state matters in Iran.
Khamenei met with Rouhani on Tuesday night and expressed his “appreciation and thanks for the honest and diligent efforts” by the negotiating team, according to state TV.
The brief statement was in line with how Khamenei has played his cards close to his chest throughout the negotiations, allowing them to continue while rarely weighing in directly beyond sometimes expressing scepticism.
Many were glued to television coverage of the deal’s announcement, including President Barack Obama’s address — only the second time Iranian state TV has aired him live. The first was his speech when an interim deal was reached earlier this year, paving the way for the new agreement.
At one Tehran electronics shop, men who had gathered around TV screens at the store clapped as Rouhani addressed the nation after Obama’s appearance. Among them was shopkeeper Ali Hussaini, 29, who watched both leaders’ speeches live.
“I am proud that my country has resolved this critical issue through talks not war,” he said.
Saudi Arabian media attacked Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers on Wednesday, with cartoonists depicting it as an assault on Arab interests and columnists decrying the focus on Tehran’s atomic plans instead of its backing for regional militias.
Riyadh’s official reaction to the deal was a terse statement that welcomed any agreement that would ensure Iran could not develop a nuclear arsenal, but stressed the importance of tough inspections and the ability to reimpose sanctions quickly.
A cartoon in Asharq Al Awsat, a pan-Arab daily close to King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud’s branch of the ruling family, showed a trampled body marked “Middle East”, with a placard saying “nuclear deal” sticking from its head.
The top-hatted and turbaned silhouettes of America’s Uncle Sam and an Iranian cleric ran across the body hand in hand, portraying a widely voiced concern that Washington’s quest for a deal means it has realigned with Tehran at Arab expense.
In Al Jazirah daily, columnist Jasser Al Jasser wrote an article headlined “A terrorist Iran instead of a nuclear Iran”, alluding to his fear that the deal would simply allow Tehran to back Shiite militias and militants.
The Iranian press meanwhile hailed a new era free of Western sanctions, although sceptical conservative newspapers warned implementation would be the test.
“The World Changed,” headlined reformist daily Etemad, calling Tuesday’s agreement between Iran and the six world powers the “Diplomatic Revolution of July 14, 2015”.
The Financial Asia carried the single word “Deal” beneath its masthead.
Financial daily Donyaye Eqtesad said Iran had “entered the post-sanctions age.”
“Iran Siege Broken,” headlined the moderate daily Ghanoon.
Another reformist daily, Ebtekar, lionised the deal’s architect, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, with a front-page montage likening him to national hero Mohammad Mossadegh.
A democratically elected prime minister who nationalised Iran’s oil industry, Mossadegh was overthrown in a 1953 coup engineered by London and Washington that ushered in decades of autocracy.
The Israeli regime’s nuclear affairs minister said his country was like the boy in the fairy tale who pointed out the emperor had no clothes, heaping scorn on the Iran nuclear deal on Wednesday and emphasising Israel’s right to unilateral self-defence.
“Israel is like the little child that is pointing its finger and saying, ‘the king is naked, this agreement is naked,’” Yuval Steinitz, who is responsible for nuclear affairs in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet, told reporters.
Despite months of trying to stall or derail the agreement — including Netanyahu denouncing it before a joint session of the US Congress in March — Israel has failed to exert influence on the United States, its closest ally, and is feeling exasperated.
Netanyahu spoke to Obama on Tuesday evening and issued a lengthy statement afterwards that sought to explain that his poor personal relationship with the US president had had no bearing on the outcome of the negotiations in Vienna.
“The claim heard from political elements to the effect that the personal relationship between myself and President Obama affected the nuclear agreement is absurd,” he said.