Iranian citizens deserve some credit for the Iranian nuclear deal

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This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

Audio Transcript:

Marco Werman: Negar Mortazavi is a freelance journalist based in Washington. She's from Iran and she closely observes the Iranian social media scene. If we use the social media as the gauge, Negar, and it's younger people generally who use social media, what's been the reaction?

Negar Mortazavi: I would say the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive and there's just a lot of joy and feeling of hope that's coming out of people and social media. I would say that this would be maybe the main real step that's been taken by the new government that would have an effect on the everyday lives in Iran. I was just speaking to a journalist in Iran actually and who told me it's not just the youth. You see a cab driver, you see workers happy, just like laborers and even housewives, specifically the people who voted in the 2013 presidential election are very happy and proud right now.

Werman: So what is the thought among all these people how this deal might affect their daily lives?

Mortazavi: I think the most important thing that's going to play out ont he ground is the sanctions. It's just even though they're step by step and slowly and gradually, it's just the feeling of relief from sanctions, these assets that have been blocked that are going to be playing. I mean of all these that are going to play out in every day lives of Iranians who are, who I would say are suffering a lot uh because of the economic sanctions, and it's just become unbearable for them, so it's a very important step. It's an international step as far as Iran like a foreign policy, but the feeling of change is very domestic and at home with people.

Werman: I mean given how far here in Washington, how far you are away from Tehran, what was your own personal reaction when you heard the news?

Mortazavi: I personally, I was very happy. I voted in the 2013 elections, so and a lot of people were not even sure about whether their votes are going to be counted in this election after four years of what happened in 2009. So I would say this was a seal of approval to those who took to the ballots again in the June election that it is again, another way of trying to influence power, trying to influence policy. And people pretty much I think by electing President Rouhani, send out a message that we don't want dispute with the world anymore and we want agreements. We want relationships. And that's what the government has been doing. I mean it's only been 100 days since they're in power and I think they've been pretty well performing as far as what the people want of them.

Werman: After the news in Geneva was announced on Saturday night, I noticed that your Facebook page had a pretty lively interaction, but it was all written in Farsi, so tell me what young Iranians are saying to each other.

Mortazavi: I would say the gist of it would be mostly hope and happiness. A lot of people were talking about voting in the election, how this was an approval...because there were some kind of discussions and even disagreements among some of the youth whether to vote again in 2013 and to not. So a lot of people who are voting who didn't even know if their votes were gonna be counted or not, were sort of saying that they're proud that they voted. They're very happy, this is a seal of approval. It's just the sense of joy and I would say happiness for some kind of agreement instead of a dispute with the world, which I would say is what the Iranian society wants right now.

Werman: Negar, another bit of news that is not political, but which you and a number of people were tweeting about this weekend was the defeat of the US in volleyball by Iran at a championship series in Japan. That was just hours before the news of this deal happened.

Mortazavi: Yeah, that was amazing. I had mixed feelings about that being an Iranian American. I kinda wanted both sides to win, but it was strong enough for the Iranians just, I could feel how happiness and joy would explode on social media if they won. And they won by a close margin. It was a very interesting coincidence that Iran and the US played, and it was a close tight margin. It was just something that Iranians were following simultaneously as they were staying up all night to follow the negotiations.

Werman: Negar Mortazavi, a freelance journalist based in Washington, thanks very much.

Mortazavi: Thank you.