After 20 months of drawn-out talks, Iran and the world powers have struck a final-status nuclear deal. As reports of the agreement (full text here) started streaming in on Tuesday, so did the jubilant reactions from Iran and beyond – and the backlash from those quarters that were less than thrilled with the final outcome of the talks- from former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who said the deal was “not diplomacy – it is appeasement,” to Democratic presidential hopeful Jim Webb, who said Iran has far more to gain from the nuclear accord as it stands than the West. There was also criticism of the critics by US President Barack Obama, as well as this tedious headline, courtesy of Guardian columnist Trevor Timm: “Republicans hate the Iran nuclear deal because it means we won’t bomb Iran.” Ouch!
Analyses of the deal and its repercussions kept pouring in throughout Tuesday and Wednesday, with some outlets putting greater focus on the deal’s financial ramification (from oil prices to the benefits for Russia to reviving America’s Persian carpet trade), and others drawing attention to the human rights issues not covered under its terms, such as the release of Western detainees. Understandably, The Washington Post’s report on the “captives” (to borrow the phrase from The Huffington Post) for whom the deal constitutes “no breakthrough” centered on Jason Rezaian, the paper’s Tehran correspondent, who remains jailed in Iran.
With this in mind, it’s safe to say that not everyone shared in Iran’s jubilation – while some Iranian expats in LA certainly did, other groups were concerned about the deal’s limitations, about which arms control expert Jeffrey Lewis enlightened Vox earlier this week. In the media, as in Congress, the reactions to the deal were mixed. Some highlighted specific negative aspects, like Maryam Rajavi in Forbes suggesting that the deal “feeds the roots of regional terrorism,” Time contributor David Wolpe asserting it was “a win for anti-Semitism,” and HuffPost pointing out that this deal is no triumph for the 4 American captives.
The position of the Arab and Muslim world was likewise difficult to gauge. While Syrian President Bashar Assad hailed the deal as a “great victory” (for whom exactly?), Saudi sources (editor of Asharq Al-Awsat) bashed the deal as opening the gates of evil in the ME. According to the New York Times, alarm was registered in rival power Saudi Arabia as the freshly-forged deal added a “new, unpredictable factor” to an already volatile Middle East – a factor other regional actors are also bound to be impacted by.