(WOMENSENEWS)–Reaction to the nuclear deal reached yesterday, July 14, by Iran and six major world powers after 20 months of arduous negotiation has been mixed. U.S. President Barack Obama hailed it as a step toward a "more hopeful world" and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said it proved that "constructive engagement works," Reuters reported. But Israel pledged to do what it could to halt what it called an "historic surrender."
The agreement will now be debated in the U.S. Congress, but Obama said he would veto any measure to block it. The essence of the deal is that in exchange for limits on its nuclear activities, Iran would get relief from sanctions while being allowed to continue its atomic program for peaceful purposes.
Here, five Iranian women with special insights on the issue share their reactions.
Negar Mortazavi is an Iranian-American journalist and media analyst in New York who focuses on Iran’s nuclear negotiations.
"I am very happy like almost any other Iranian that I know," she said in phone interview. "I think both sides–President Rouhani and President Obama–were very committed to resolving the issue and reaching an agreement. It is a process and it took a while. It took them almost two years. It is like a miracle . . . The deal is beneficial for Iran from an economic perspective because the Iranian economy has suffered from sanctions. But politically, and from a security and peace perspective, I think everyone in the negotiations is benefiting, especially the U.S . . . If these negotiations had failed, there was a threat of war or a military intervention and that would have to be mainly on the side of the U.S."
Follow Mortazavi on Twitter @NegarMortazavi.
Golnaz Esfandiari is a D.C.-based correspondent for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
"This is a historic agreement that I hope will pave the way for a better future for millions of Iranians who have been suffering from sanctions and isolation," she said in an email interview. "Iranians have never had a say regarding the nuclear program but they have suffered from the consequences of the decisions made by their leaders. This deal could decrease tensions between the United States and Iran. But there are still many issues between the two countries so I don’t think the two countries will become friends or allies as a result of the deal. Also, I don’t think Iranian hardliners and Supreme Leader [Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei want to see a normalization of ties with the United States, they’re concerned that any opening up of the atmosphere will threaten their power and authority."
Leila Mouri is an Iranian and women’s rights advocate living in New York.
"I feel happy, mostly relieved," she said in an email interview. "Happy for the Iranian people who suffered crippling sanctions and economic hardships during the last decade and relieved because the shadow of a war is over. I’m happy for the winning of the peace . . . After 30 years of a hostile relationship between two countries, Iranian and American foreign ministers sat around the same table, talked with each other and shook each other’s hands, something that my generation (who were born and raised after the 1979 Revolution) never had witnessed and never could imagine. So, if this could happen, the normalization could happen too . . . The sanctions had a catastrophic impact on ordinary Iranians. Women suffered immensely. Lack of medicines and skyrocketing prices of essential goods limited their abilities to manage their families and women suffer from poverty more than others. So, I believe Iranians will benefit economically and financially from the sanctions relief. Human rights and women’s rights still remain a legitimate concern for me, as a women’s rights advocate. Does the U.S.-Iran normal relationship improve Iranian’s human rights? I don’t have an answer for it. This one needs more effort from within Iran and so far, we haven’t witnessed any significant shift by the Iranian government in this area."
Follow Mouri on Twitter @femiran.
Sussan Tahmasebi is co-founder of the International Civil Society Action Network, or ICAN.
"I am very happy about the deal," she said in a phone interview from Washington, D.C. "For Iranians, especially for civil society activists, the issue of sanctions has been a huge obstacle that they have spoken out against for some time and for impacting negatively mostly the Iranian population: women, vulnerable groups, the middle-class. I think for my part–and the part of many of my colleagues that I am in touch with inside of the country–we are very happy and eager to have the sanctions end. I think it is a first step for many things. One is a possible normalization of relations between Iran and the West. But I would like to emphasize more that it is a first step for the civil society to become active inside of Iran. The sanctions impacted very negatively the civil society because they impacted negatively the economic situation so many of the activists inside the country who work on a volunteer basis were unable to engage in civil society . . . I think it is a win-win situation. It is always a win-win situation when you resolve conflicts through diplomacy. We need to have stability in the Middle East and the region and I think this deal will help with that stability."
Tahmasebi is also a founding member of the One Million Signatures Campaign, a grassroots effort which promotes broad awareness on women’s rights and collects signatures of Iranians who support an end to gender-biased laws.
Follow her on Twitter @sussantweets.
Holly Dagres is an Iranian-American analyst and commentator currently based in Egypt.
"As an Iranian-American woman, I’m proud that two sides with severed ties and no trust were able to come to a historical agreement and choose peace through diplomacy instead of a escalations of hostilities, possibly leading to war," she said in an email interview. "After 35 years of animosity and distrust, this is a step forward in U.S.-Iran relations. Once trust can be established, this is a confidence building step that if maintained, can lead to a warming of relations. Not only will both countries benefit from the de-escalation of tensions, but the world, as it creates barriers to the potential of a nuclear-armed Iran. Ultimately, Iran will benefit more as it lays the groundwork to open up the country’s economy to the world. The international community can look at this as an example of how diplomacy is possible."
Follow Dagres on Twitter @hdagres.
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