If the U.S. reaches a nuclear deal with Iran in the coming days, don’t expect Iranians to be dancing in the streets and honking car horns late into the night.
Iran’s interior ministry announced Monday that it has preemptively banned massive public celebrations like those surrounding April’s preliminary agreement.
Americans often see the ongoing discussions with Iran as a dangerous concession of freedom to the Islamic Republic. But while ordinary Iranians welcomed a step toward normal relations with the U.S., their government is doing everything it can to keep the Great Satan in its place. (RELATED: Iranians Welcome Obama To Official TV With Selfies)
As Iranian diplomats meet with their international counterparts in Vienna, back home the country is in a state of ceremonial mourning. Wednesday is the annual holiday marking the martyrdom of Ali, Muhammad’s son-in-law who is one of the a major figure in Shiite Islam. Consequently, public dancing and music are forbidden by public law, according to Germany’s DPA press agency.
Iranian-born Israeli political analyst Meir Javedanfar suggested online Tuesday that the Iranian regime might have some other reasons for preemptively forbidding public celebrations. (RELATED: With A Week Left On Nuke Deal, US And Iran Still Disagree On Basics)
First of all, Javedanfar writes, for all its dependence on sanctions relief from the United States, Iran still sees the U.S. as its biggest international enemy. If diplomats finalize a nuclear deal this week, public celebrations would “improve the image” of the U.S. in ordinary Iranians’ eyes.
The Iranian government has also insisted that compromising “revolutionary ideals” (that is, anti-Americanism) has been the audacious initiative of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei himself, not the result of pressure from ordinary Iranians suffering under international sanctions. And some reports suggest that Iran might make some unexpected concessions in a final deal, including a slower, more U.S.-friendly schedule and mechanism for sanctions relief.
Allowing citizens to celebrate a deal with America, according to Javedanfar, “goes against [the false] regime narrative” that negotiating with the U.S. was unpopular with the people. (RELATED: Just Who Are Those Iranian ‘Hardliners’ We Keep Hearing About?)
The U.S. and its international partners, comprising France, China, Russia, the U.K. and Germany, have already set the deadline for talks with Iran back a week, following the initial cutoff date of June 30. Reports from Vienna indicate that negotiations might go a few days beyond the new deadline of midnight Tuesday.
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