Monday, January 18, 2016

Iran vice-president hails new era after removal of sanctions

Saeed Kamali Dehghan,

Masoumeh Ebtekar tells the Guardian that success of nuclear talks raises hopes for peaceful resolution to Syria conflict, but warns of rival forces stoking ‘Iranophobia’

Ebtekar image from article
The lifting of sanctions on Iran on Saturday marks a new era in bilateral relations between Tehran and Washington, one of the country’s vice-presidents has said, adding that further rapprochement is contingent on how the US goes about fulfilling its commitments under last summer’s nuclear accord. ...
Ebtekar, who is also the head of Iran’s environmental protection organisation, played a high-profile role during the 1979 Islamic revolution by serving as the spokeswoman for the Iranian students who stormed the US embassy in Tehran and took 52 diplomats hostage for 444 days. Six years spent in Philadelphia before the revolution accounts for her fluent, American-accented English.
Ebtekar, a prominent reformist figure, became Iran’s first woman vice-president when she previously served in the same office from 1997 to 2005. Many of the revolutionary students who were involved in the infamous hostage crisis then became prominent reformist figures, advocating better relations with the west. Some, including the architect of the attack Ebrahim Asgharzadeh, have spent time in jail for their views. ...
Asked about the prospects of having a US secretary of state visiting Tehran for the first time since the revolution, Ebtekar said: “I think it’s very important to see how the US moves ahead in terms of implementing the agreement in different aspects and dimensions.
“There is a lot of enthusiasm on the part of American companies and private sector, looking forward to working with Iran. I also think there is a lot of enthusiasm on the part of the academics and private sectors [in Iran]. I think there will be a lot of public diplomacy, but perhaps also a lot of tourists coming and going.”
There are deep suspicions in the Iranian establishment over how the US is committed to improve relations. ...

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