This is a framework that can be defended in Tehran

Farideh Farhi writes: What a day it was and on sizdeh bedar no less, the thirteenth and last day of the Nowruz holidays! It is without a doubt the most joyous of the country’s new year celebrations, when almost all Iranian families go outside their homes presumably to reconnect with nature (in reality, thanks to their cosmopolitan consumerism, they do a lot of damage to it). Most Iranians I know, even in the diaspora, try to go for an outing and make a wish for the coming year.

So, whether planned or not, for the “government of hope and prudence,” the name used to distinguish Rouhani’s government from the Islamic Republic’s previous administrations, it was an especially auspicious day to announce an agreed framework. After eight grueling days, which, unlike in the United States, was covered in detail and monitored intently inside Iran, a framework was produced that I think can be defended and sold inside Iran.

No doubt, as in the United States, naysayers abound. The editor of the hard-line Kayhan daily, the grumpy Hossein Shariatmadari — who, like New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, has an annoying fondness for cute and thoroughly slighting one-liners — has already announced that Iran gave away “an all saddled-up horse in exchange for a torn bridle.” The two differing fact sheets—with the US one emphasizing limitation and the Iranian one emphasizing sanctions relief—will give opponents enough ammunition to continue their mutually reinforcing barrage of criticism.

But by acknowledging Iran’s significant compromises in concrete terms (e.g., reduction of the number of working centrifuges in spite of previously stated red lines) and yet maintaining and even potentially expanding Iran’s peaceful nuclear program in other areas, the framework opens the way for a final agreement that a good part of the Iranian population will support as decent and respectable. [Continue reading…]

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