Iranians hail `smiling` FM as hero of nuclear deal

Iranians hopeful that a nuclear deal with world powers will ease their economic woes found a hero in Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, showering him with thanks on the Internet.

Tehran: Iranians hopeful that a nuclear deal with world powers will ease their economic woes found a hero in Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, showering him with thanks on the Internet.

Many had stayed up all night, glued to satellite channels and computer screens for updates on exhaustive negotiations in Geneva that stretched into a fifth day in the early hours of Sunday.

When news broke out -- at around 05:30 am local time -- that an historic agreement had been clinched by Iran and six world powers, joyful messages flooded the Internet.

"Thank you negotiators! Thank you Mr Zarif," Tehran student Ahmad tweeted. "God bless you smiling man," read a message on Zarif`s Facebook page, referring to his customary expression. "Your smile has made a nation happy."

Top diplomats from the P5+1 group -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany -- had converged on the Swiss city yesterday as the talks entered a critical stage without a guarantee of success.

Today, they emerged with an interim accord to defuse tensions and buy time for diplomacy, with Iran agreeing to limit uranium enrichment in return for relief on punitive sanctions over its controversial nuclear programme.

The rollercoaster ride in Geneva was followed each step of the way by Iranians back home, to see if Zarif could break a nuclear impasse which has affected their lives for the past decade.

Hamed Mohammadi, a private sector employee, said he hoped the deal would translate into a strengthening of Iran`s currency, the rial.
"If the rial bounces back, goods will gradually become less expensive," he said, with the currency having lost more than two thirds of its value against the dollar since late 2011 when oil and banking sanctions were imposed.
Those sanctions are not affected by the Geneva deal but many Iranians are now optimistic of a change in dealings with the outside world.

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