Lucy Nicholson / Reuters A Farsi newspaper is seen on a rack in Westwood, Los Angeles, California, United States July 14, 2015.

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How the Iranian Media Reports on the Nuclear Deal

On July 15, the day after Iran reached an agreement with P5+1 negotiators over its nuclear program, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei congratulated President Hassan Rouhani on the significant achievement, but warned that the text of the deal should be scrutinized carefully. Although Khamenei's words have been generally perceived as supportive, they also provided an opening for future criticism.

The Iranian media coverage of any issue is usually as complex, contentious, and varied as Iranian politics itself. For the nuclear deal, though, things have been surprisingly bland: criticism of the deal has been limited. Most discussions, in both moderate and conservative media, have been positive if somewhat tepid.

Iranians celebrate on the streets following a nuclear deal with major powers, in Tehran July 14, 2015.

In the pro-reform papers, statements appeared just after talks ended in Vienna. The well-known daily Etemaad claimed that “the world has changed,” describing July 14 as the day of the “revolution of diplomacy.” Likewise, following Rouhani’s televised speech on July 14, reformist papers such as Roozan, Hamkari Melli,and Hamshahri announced the beginning of an era of cooperation that could “bring down the wall of mistrust” and improve Iran’s relations with the West. Across the board, the deal has been described as a potential victory of diplomacy over confrontation that could herald a new season of hope. 

Both pro-reform and conservative media found two specific aspects of the Vienna agreement to like. First, they portrayed the deal as an explicit recognition of Iran as an international nuclear power, not least of which because it does not entirely prevent Iran from enriching uranium. This is a major source of pride for the media and public. Conservative newspapers such as Javan, Resalat, and Jomhouri Islami emphasized that “the resistance of the nation” against Western sanctions was crucial for this “victory without war.” The well-known pro-reform daily Ebtekar went even further by quoting former President Hashemi Rafsanjani’s comparison between the nuclear deal and the Liberation of Khorramshahr. The powerful reference

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