Best Way to Start a Conversation? Congrats! Sanctions Are Gone.
“This (photo above) is how I’ll go out tomorrow morning,” tweeted Iranian comedian and TV star, Siamak Ansari, after the implementation of the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers was endorsed by an IAEA report verifying that Iran had been committed to its obligations under the landmark agreement dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The largely anticipated announcement had millions of Iranians in Iran and abroad stuck to their online devices, looking for the latest updates from Vienna. Thousands took to Twitter for real-time reflection and self-expression. The first tweet wave came in the evening when an hour-long delay before the IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano’s report had worried some and started to wear off interest in others. Though a “cherry on the cake” was diverting attentions, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif soon discovered the need for some news feed on the day’s main story from Iran’s standpoint. “We're getting to Implementation Day. Nothing serious. Diplomacy requires patience, but we all know that it sure beats the alternatives,” he tweeted. The tweet came minutes after Iranian media started to reveal bit by bit a prisoner swap between Iran and the United State as a “humanitarian gesture” before sealing the deal. By the time Zarif was tweeting, The Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, among the prisoners released in Iran, had already become a global trend on the online social media.
However, with more than 400 retweets, Zarif’s call for patience provoked an array of reactions. “I say isn’t it better we climb up an embassy wall in protest????” a tweet said. “Zarif says diplomacy requires patience, alright; but we should go to work early in the morning too, come on,” another read, noting that many people in Iran were wide-awake following the event. Others were delighted with the surprising news and stressed out for the lack of the anticipated piece. While a third group was using it as a pretext to demand the freedom of other political prisoners, mainly former presidential candidates Mehdi Karroubi, MirHossein Mousavi, and the latter’s wife who are under house arrest after controversial incidents following the 2009 election, some found solace in humor. Many hailed the release of prisoners but found in it a rather funny irony. “One interesting thing about the release of the prisoners is that on both sides the people freed are Iranian,” tweeted an Iranian user. Some even ironically assumed it offensive that the US was freeing more prisoners and sought equity but some added a darker note. “The fifth Iranian-American released was a bonus added to the four, it was buy four, get one free,” another Persian tweet explained.
Other users were losing patience. Some said Sec. Kerry was waiting for Rezaian’s arrival in the US to have him checked to make sure he was not hurt and then lift the sanctions. Another suggested Kerry and Zarif were stuck in a level of Candy Crush Saga. A more mockingly stressful tweet gave its own account of the story; Zarif is asking Kerry to sign before an embassy or something is on fire and it is messed up, it said. “One of the achievements of the Rouhani administration is sleeplessness, and it all started on the vote-counting night. I should have been asleep by now. Waiting for JCPOA,” a Persian tweet read.
Soon after EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif read their joint statement, Hassan Rouhani’s Twitter page was updated. “Implementation Day--I thank God for this blessing & bow to the greatness of the patient nation of Iran. Congrats on this glorious victory!”, it said. The immediate response to the tweet however seemed far from what President Rouhani would think. “Well, the country’s president congratulates people on JCPOA through the blocked Twitter. Bravo!”
“In a few minutes, Iran’s official time goes back to 12 years ago,” an instantly popular tweet said when the removal of sanction was finalized. “Did they lift the sanctions. So why I don’t feel anything?” wrote an Iranian. “How good my skin feels just a few minutes since the sanctions were fully removed,” tweeted a probably female user. While many in the early fourth decade of their life pointed out in their commentaries they cannot return to their youth, a user account named Ansar said it was included in Amano’s statement that there is a plan for you to return to your 20-year-old days. Some users were also making fun of other limitations for Iranians as one wrote, “Does that mean we aren’t receiving “This isn’t available in your country” error messages?”
Record-high unemployment rates are also among favorite subject matters for Iranians. “Slapped the boss in the face twice. Sure the sanctions are removed?” asks a tweet.
Last but not least, the tweet below probably best explains the situation for Iranians and their foreign policy leaders “I didn’t know how to start the conversation, I texted “Congrats! Sanctions are gone ^.^”