In recent days, a number of threats, in the form of poetry, have been published on Iranian news sites, while nuclear negotiators have reportedly been sent e-mails warning of "revenge."
The resulting attention led Iran's deputy police commander, Mohammad Reza Radan, to deny on January 29 that there have been any credible threats against the negotiating team. But reports have claimed that the poetic warnings were sent "extensively" via e-mail. It wasn't clear from the reports whether they were sent directly to the nuclear negotiators, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who leads the team.
"If there have been slogans against the nuclear team," Radan was quoted by Iranian news agencies as saying, "it is the result of agitation by some individuals." However, he added that the police would deal with any potential cyberthreats against the negotiators.
Under the deal that came into force on January 20, Iran has committed itself to curb its sensitive nuclear work in exchange for limited sanctions relief.
While many inside Iran, including some citizens, have welcomed the deal, a number of hard-liners have criticized it, saying that the negotiators made too many concessions and that the country's nuclear rights have been trampled on.
One hard-line newspaper went as far as calling the deal a "nuclear Holocaust."
The poetic threats also reflect the hard-liners' discontent over the deal.
"We swear to God, we will seek revenge," reads one of the verses.
"We will take revenge through prayers,
We are going to let go of your blood
We will take revenge [for] the martyrs
Go to the negotiating table
We will take our revenge from you."
Iranian lawmaker Mohammad Reza Mohseni Sani suggested in an interview with the parliament's news agency, ICANA, that Iran's cyberpolice should take action against those behind the threats.
Mohseni Sani said some of the threats come from those opposed to the Islamic republic, adding that some inside the country were also creating problems for the negotiations.
"Unfortunately these groups connected to Western intelligence services and political interests are after causing chaos and disturbances in the country. Although there are also some inside the country who don't believe in the work of the nuclear negotiating team toward resolving [nuclear] issues," he said.
The lawmaker added that Iran's "enemies" have misused the situation.
The popular conservative website Tabnak was also critical of the threatening poetry. It asked, "In reality, which of these poems help advance the national interests of the Iranians? Can a threat be called criticism?"
For now ultra-hard-liners critical of the deal and nuclear negotiators appear to be in the minority. Even their use of poetry, which is highly popular among Iranians, is not likely to change the minds of those of their compatriots who want an end to sanctions and better ties with the West.
Iran's highest authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has also expressed support for the nuclear negotiating team and called the nuclear negotiators "sons of the revolution."
-- Golnaz Esfandiari