What’s at Stake in Nuclear Talks for Ordinary Iranians

By Saideh Jamshidi

Iran’s new round of nuclear negotiations with the United Nations is expected to be completed by March 31, today. But one thing is clear: Leader Ali Khamenei wants to gain as much as he can from this political dilemma. He might be the only one who can end to this political comedy after 37 years. But if he doesn’t, it will be Iranians who suffer.

On a recent weekend, I was having a Persian breakfast– virtually a ritual in my family.

There was a lot to eat at the table. But everybody was paying extra attention to the honey, coated in its delicious honey-wax that my mom brought it from Iran.

“How much did you pay for this maman,” I asked my mom, in Iranian culture are called “maman,” a French word imported during the 1920s.

“About 105,600 Rials,” she said.

“How much is it in the U.S. dollars?” I asked.

“About $3.00,” she replied.

“Oh, it is not too bad,” I said.

“But I paid about $1.00 one and half years ago,” maman said.

Honey is a luxury food in Tehran, and the inflation rate goes up in Iran on a daily basis.

Eggs used to cost 2 cents each. They are about 50 cents now. My mom said that in 2013, a pound of red meat cost $3. She paid $7 for a pound of red meat in Iran late last year.

There is one important thing that the Iranian government, Americans and the world should know: The Iranian people are suffering, and difficulty with putting food on the table is just one of the ways.

Any time Iran is included in the world community, it has acted with more civility.

Currently, we are dealing with the brutality that ISIS imposes on Muslims and non-Muslims in the region. Iraqis and Syrians are dealing with chaotic circumstances.

Iranian people like my mom are acutely aware of the region’s problems.

They understand their government’s propaganda against the West. They have tasted sanctions in every fiber of their stomach. They have observed Iran’s decisions on Syria’s Asad by supporting Asad’s regime in its most brutal sense. They know how the Iranian government is using the Palestinian cause to suppress its own people. They know their own government has come up short in solving domestic problems, let alone its global nuclear ambition.

Ali Khamenei, who makes final decisions on all important matters, understands Iranians’ dissatisfaction over his handling of the domestic and global politics. He knows that people are angry at him for his blunt support of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s presidency. He doesn’t want another Iraq or Syria for his administration. He knows that people have lost their faith in and trust of the clergy. And he knows that people will blame him for his decisions on the nuclear deal. It is in his own best interest to end the circus.

If you ask the Iranian people, they want to see the stream of US green notes in their banking system.

The Iranian people don’t need a war or more sanctions. They need open doors and more relations with the West. For the Iraanian government to back away from key areas of agreement at the last minute is not a political maneuver, it is simply foolish.

Saideh Jamshidi is an Iranian-American journalist, and founder of Goltune, an online digital magazine focusing on Muslim women.

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Related video added by Juan Cole:

Reuters: “Iran nuclear talks in final stretch”

2 Responses

  1. He knows that people are angry at him for his blunt support of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s presidency.

    Then why did Mr. Khamenei equate demonstrations with disobeying the Hidden Imam? It basically made Ahmadinejad’s second election results a non-disobey-able divine decree in Shia belief, and I have not seen any formal “apology” from Khamenei or his minions (let us not get into the farce of how this plays out in terms of their demands for individual rights for their brethren in Bahrain or Saudi Arabia, etc.).

  2. ”For the Iraanian government to back away from key areas of agreement at the last minute is not a political maneuver, it is simply foolish.”

    I’m not sure what this is supposed to mean. The sticking point right now seems to be that Iran is insisting that all UN sanctions be dropped immediately. Surely the author would agree that this is what the Iranian people want? And that any deal which does not involve the complete and immediate ending of sanctions is worthless?

    So why the claim that Khamanei is the one obstructing negotiations? Given the amount Iran has already conceded, to do this for nothing in return seems absurd. I understand why emigre Iranians dislike the clerical regime, but this article seems poorly informed to me.

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