Iranian voices: Hope over easing of sanctions
- 20 January 2014
- From the section Middle East
The progress in Iran to prove the nation's uranium enrichment has been curtailed will see some US and EU sanctions over the nation removed in reciprocation.
The easing of sanctions clears Iran to restart exporting goods such as petrochemicals, and gold and other precious metals, believed to be worth billions of dollars to the nation's economy.
Speaking to the BBC, Iranians in both the UK and Tehran are confident the progress made under the deal could mean a better understanding between Iran and the international community and a better life in the country.
Narjes, Sheffield and Shiraz
I am currently a British citizen living in England, but I do visit Iran very often, at least once or twice a year. Over the years I have seen the economy of Iran fluctuating.
Around 10 years ago, everything was normal in Iran. Then the new president came in. Everything was going downhill. Prices rose and families were struggling under sanctions.
Every time I visit, the prices of food, clothes, daily necessities, have risen causing more and more stress in people's everyday life. People need to work longer hours just to be able to feed a family which would have been fine a few years ago. Yet with all this everyone always had a smile on their face.
An easing of sanctions will benefit the nation incredibly. It will mostly benefit low-income families as the price of everyday necessities will fall. They will be able to afford trips and family breaks. It will make a happy Iran even happier.
I think the majority of Iranians are supporting negotiations, hoping they will improve relations with the West and hoping to lift sanctions. It could be the first step toward establishing a double-sided trust between the West and Iran. And a better future.
I believe that it is our right to enrich uranium for peaceful means. Also, I believe the US has a double standard in the Middle East - look at Israel and Saudi Arabia, they are sources of unrest but the US has a good relationship with them. We must accept they are going to stop Iran reaching the technology of enrichment. I and the majority of Iranians are ready to compromise this right for a better economic situation and a respectful relationship with the West.
By voting for President Rouhani, Iranians showed they don't want to confront the West. The US must be more intelligent toward Iran. If Rouhani succeeds in improving the relationship with the West and lifting sanctions, then the chance of reformists and moderate parties in the coming parliamentary election will rise. On the other hand, any failure in negotiations means empowering the position of hardliners inside Iran and will draw negotiation many years backward.
My personal experience as a carpenter proves the bad effect of sanctions. I had 10 workers and a 300 sq m workshop, but for five years I have been down and right now I have only two or three workers. The orders have decreased and I am in debt up to my neck.
I want to travel easily to London one day, as well as New York. Iran could be the most stable country in the region and the best ally of the modern world in the Middle East.
There are enormous changes in attitude in Iran. Good humour, music - the Pittsburgh Philharmonic is currently here - the Geneva Accord has its financial side but the real change is confidence in the market.
I hope it lasts. President Rouhani has the upper hand so far but there is formidable opposition in the clergy and ultra-right fundamentalists.
London is on board, which is a good sign.
Change is vital if Iran is to come out of the dark ages - press freedom, right of assembly, women's rights, comprehensive corporate law, a review of the economy, national reconstruction, educational reforms, rent review, etc - with parliament having a supervisory role.
The nation cannot feed, house and maintain 500,000 prelates. We are a tributary of Islam, so why swamp the agenda with absurd insinuations and an imaginary contemplation of what and who we are.
Peace and security are on the agenda but unless Iran institutionalises a civil agenda, it will be back to old habits in a few years' time.
Written by Richard Irvine-Brown