Iranians Welcome Nuclear Deal, Hard-Liners Oppose

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -

Iran’s reformers and moderate conservatives welcomed an agreement Monday between Iran and six world powers on how to implement a nuclear deal struck in November, saying it will shore up Iran’s sanctions-hit economy. Hard-liners however inside the Islamic Republic remain opposed.

The six-nation group — the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany — and Iran agreed to start implementing the terms of the historic interim deal from Jan. 20. That will start a six-month clock for a final deal to be struck over Tehran’s contested nuclear program.

Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said that enforcing the deal opens new windows for Iran and paves the way for expanding its economic dealings with the outside world.

“By enforcing the deal, there will be some openings for Iran’s economy and restrictions will be eased,” said Boroujerdi, a moderate conservative. “Economic sanctions will reduce and the way will be paved for expansion of economic activities.”

Iran’s hard-liners have called the deal a “poisoned chalice,” challenging moderate President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif with the task of trying to convince skeptics that they are not compromising on key issues of national sovereignty.

Speaking in Beirut, Zarif said that the issue has more to do with a lack of trust inside Iran than the nuclear program itself.

“There is a very serious confidence deficit vis-a-vis the west in Iran. Our people believe that our peaceful nuclear program has been dealt with in a totally unfounded way,” Zarif said. “Hopefully once we resolve this issue we can move forward with better confidence.”

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters, has supported Iran’s nuclear negotiating team, calling them “sons of the revolution” and “our own children.”

Prominent political analyst Sadeq Zibakalam said the accord has boosted Iran’s regional might.

“By implementing the deal, tensions between Iran and the West will be eased and the Islamic Republic’s regional stance will be boosted,” he said.