In Tehran, Optimism and talk of revival after nuclear deal

 TEHRAN — Even after learning about a politically seismic event — a nuclear agreement that could augur an end to the era of sanctions and shouts of “Death to America” — many Iranians appeared reluctant to express happiness or even react to what was, for most people, heartening news.

“We have been disappointed so many times, I can’t really believe there might be an end to this,” said Mohammad Reza, 21.

The streets of Tehran, a city of 12 million, crowded on any regular evening, were largely empty late Thursday night, save for some gatherings at a central square where people honked their car horns in approval.

But that may have been partly because many Iranians were glued to state television, watching President Obama in Washington talking about the details of a framework nuclear accord with Iran. It appeared to be the first time in Iran’s revolutionary history that the official news media broadcast the speech of an American president live and in full.

“This is unbelievable,” said Mohammad Javad Mehreghan, a financial expert. “Soon we will have direct flights between Tehran and New York.”

Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, who won the 2013 election promising tomend the country’s ties with the rest of the world, said on Twitter that he had congratulated his foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and the rest of the negotiating team for their “tireless efforts around the clock.”

There was no immediate reaction from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, or from his office. The ayatollah, who has the final word on the deal, has often stated that he trusts Iran’s negotiators to make decisions, but warned them not to cross “red lines.”

Many in Iran have spent the past week following the news, but also expressing doubt that there would ever be a solution. The sanctions have cut deeply into the lives of ordinary people, contributing to an inflation rate that has exceeded 40 percent, slashing buying power and generally casting a blanket of depression over the nation of 70 million.

As the idea of a future without sanctions started to sink in, some became emotional.

“I was crying with happiness. It is unbelievable,” said Elnaz Karimi, 37, a commercial manager.

The company she worked for had lost business, she said, as international financial transactions became prohibitively expensive.

“Now we can use this money we would spend on trying to do business on investments,” she said.

Analysts and commentators from across the political spectrum welcomed the agreement.

Iranian officials called the agreement a “statement” and a “solution,” in keeping with Mr. Khamenei’s pronouncement that any deal would have to lift all sanctions in one step. The American negotiators had preferred a step-by-step approach, but the Iranians seem to have gotten their way, for the most part.

“The solutions are good for all as they stand,” Mr. Zarif said on Twitter. “There is no need to spin using ‘fact sheets’ so early on.”

Reviving the economy is now the primary issue for most people. Mr. Rouhani has been leading an effort to bring down inflation, while the end of sanctions might mean a return to oil production of more than two million barrels per day, only half what Iran once produced but twice its output in recent years.

“We need to wait for the final deal to be signed in order to see the positive effects on our economy,” said Hamidreza Taraghi, an analyst close to Ayatollah Khamenei. “But all in all, this statement is close to what we have been expecting.”

Nader Karimi Joni, a journalist and former member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, said European companies would come back and invest. He added, “The future looks bright.”

By The New York Times