Accessibility links

Persian Letters

Wednesday 18 October 2017

October 2017
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31 1 2 3 4
Iranians pour into the streets of Tehran to celebrate the historic nuclear deal agreed with world powers in Vienna in July 2015.

Many Iranians have taken to social media to criticize U.S. President Donald Trump for taking a harder line on the Islamic republic and decertifying the 2015 landmark nuclear agreement with Iran, which is believed to enjoy significant support in the country.

Many Iranians have taken to social media to criticize U.S. President Donald Trump for taking a harder line on the Islamic republic and refusing to certify the 2015 landmark nuclear agreement with Iran, which is believed to enjoy significant support in the country.

In his comments, Trump called Iran a "rogue" and "fanatical" regime and said that the country had failed to live up to the "spirit" of the nuclear deal, under which Iran agreed to limit its controversial nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

Many Iranians expressed support for the deal and the removal of sanctions by taking to the streets when it was signed and celebrating.

Trump's decision to decertify the deal and his outreach effort to Iranians was met with anger.

"We hope that these new measures directed at the Iranian dictatorship will compel the government to reevaluate its pursuit of terror at the expense of its people," Trump said in his speech, which expressed solidarity with the Iranians.

"Trump's outreach to Iranian public is a joke, Iranians know well how unreasonable and unfounded his policy to Iran is. They reject Trump," women's rights activist Sussan Tahmasebi tweeted.

"Trump's comments were not only against Iran, they were against a diplomatic move to resolve a global issue," said former Iranian lawmaker Jamileh Kadivar, who lives outside the country.

Mostafa Tajzadeh, a reformist politician critical of the Islamic establishment who was jailed in Iran for several years, was among those criticizing Trump's speech.

"One nation, one message: No to #Trump. We're all in this together," wrote Tajzadeh on Twitter a day after Trump announced his Iran strategy.

"The [nuclear deal] had brought us some peace of mind. This Trump's move brings us concern. Why is playing with the future of our children," wrote a woman on Facebook.

"Trump: #Iran blah blah blah... sorry I couldn't derail this deal, dear Senators do this for me if you can," tweeted Tehran-based journalist Sadegh Ghorbani, who works for hard-line news outlets.

Some were using hashtags that said #nevertrustUSA and #IranKeepspromises in their reactions to Trump's speech, in which he announced his new Iran strategy that includes new sanctions against Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

"The irony is that a country that has a record of attacking other countries and launching coups has a terrorist scale in hand," Leila Samani tweeted.

"While the international community says Iran is abiding by the deal, the U.S. says otherwise. Never trust a bully," Farid Sobhani tweeted.

"Trump says Iran's government attacked the U.S. in a way as if it was Iran that destroyed a U.S. plane with 290 passengers," a Twitter user said in a reference to the downing of an Iran Air flight that was shot down by the U.S. Navy in July 1988, killing all passengers on board.

However, some expressed support for Trump's strategy.

"America should sanction Iranian [leaders] and whoever works with them," a reader commented on the website of RFE/RL's Radio Farda. "The Iranian regime does not have public support," the reader added.

Other users said the new move by the Treasury Department to sanction the IRGC as a terrorist organization was a good thing.​

"We agree with the designation of Iran Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization," tweeted user Parinaz Etesam with the #hashtag #IRGCByeBye.

"Viva President Trump," another reader said. "He sanctioned the IRGC, the murderers of hundreds of young Iranians, the number one enemy of freedom in Iran," the reader added.

"I'm glad Trump differentiated between the people and the [Iranian] regime," a comment on Radio Farda website said.

'Arabian Gulf'

Many Iranians on social media were up in arms over Trump's use of the term "Arabian Gulf" to refer to the body of water known historically as the Persian Gulf. Iranians insist that it be referred to as the Persian Gulf, taking Arabian Gulf as an insult.

"It always was Persian and it always stays Persian," a tweet said with a map saying "Persian Gulf."

"Someone teach @RealDonaldTrump geography lessons!," another user said while adding: "It's #PersianGulf."

Iranian users took to Trump's Instagram page to voice their protest. Around two hours after the post went online, it had received 400,000 comments, most of which regarding the Arabian/Persian Gulf issue.

Ahmad Mehrchian and his wife, Zohreh Barati, decided to launch their protest after a concert by the veteran traditional musician Shahrem Nazeri (far left) and his son was canceled by authorities at short notice.

A family of four in Iran has launched a symbolic protest against the cancellation of concerts around the country on religious grounds.

A family of four in Iran has launched a symbolic protest against the cancellation of concerts around the country on religious grounds.

In recent years, dozens of concerts and cultural performances have been abruptly called off in Iran following pressure and intimidation by hard-liners who claim such events undermine Islamic values.

The closures of the officially sanctioned concerts have been a direct challenge to Iranian President Hassan Rohani, a relative moderate, who has promised to ease state restrictions and give Iranians more rights and freedom.

The family -- Ahmad Mehrchian, his wife, Zohreh Barati, and their 6-year-old daughter Baran and 4-year-old son Kourosh -- have been walking around the country since July 30 to protest the trend of concerts being canceled.

They plan to continue their protest until the start of the school year in Iran on September 23.

The family, which during its protest meets with local musicians affected by the cancellations, holds signs that say: "We have the right to listen to the songs of our country in our city."

The four hail from Mashhad, where religious conservatives, including the city's ultra-hard-line Friday Prayers leader Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda, staunchly oppose concerts.

"We love local and traditional music and also the songs of our country and our cities and we oppose the cancellations of concerts, particularly in our city, Mashhad," Mehrchian told the semiofficial Mehr news agency.

'Very Bad Atmosphere'

Barati, a doctor, said in an interview with the House of Music website that the couple decided to launch their protest after the cancellation of a concert by prominent Iranian tenor Shahram Nazeri and his son, Hafez Nazeri.

"We were very happy when we heard the news about Nazeri's concerts in Guchan," Barati said. "We immediately bought tickets and traveled more than 150 kilometers to get to Guchan [in the northeastern province of Khorasan Razavi] on the day of Shahram Nazeri's concert. But unfortunately, there was a very bad atmosphere," she said.

The concert, due to take place on July 28, was canceled following an order by the city's prosecutor, Ramazan Ali Azari, who claimed the concert was called off because its venue was "unsuitable" and that "the dignity of artists and the people of Guchan" had not been taken into account.

"We returned to Mashhad late at night and we decided to let others hear about this cultural problem," Barati added.

Last month, a group of musicians and other members of Iran's music industry called on Rohani to expose and prosecute those working to prevent concerts from taking place in the country.

Their letter reminded Rohani of his promise to uphold citizens' rights and asked if the cancellation of officially approved concerts was a violation of the musicians' rights.

Before the cancellation of Nazeri's concert, 500 members of the music community called on the Culture Ministry to act against those cancelling concerts.

"Preventing musical performances with a license is a clear example of breaking the law and a disruption in the country's affairs and it's obvious that the perpetrators, in any position, must be prosecuted," they said in a letter.

Load more

About This Blog

Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.