Today, the Iranian people have two governments: one that represents an open and conciliatory face to the outside world and the other that remains uncompromising and unwilling to break from the status quo. The West is eager to find a solution to the nuclear crisis, and Tehran is aware that it stands to gain a lot by introducing reforms, but not necessarily in the interests of ordinary Iranians. While the message of the Islamic Republic may have changed, the medium is still the same.
Minimal impact on Iranians
Yet back home, the effect of Iran’s diplomatic breakthrough is having minimal impact on the lives of Iranians. Over 800 political prisoners still remain behind bars and since the presidential election, at least 150 people have been executed and the numbers are rising. During Friday prayers, crowds are still encouraged to chant “Death to America” and social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, popular with many of Iran’s top officials, are still blocked to the general public. Prominent film maker Mohammad Rasoulof was recently barred from travelling to Germany to attend an award ceremony. And in late September, while President Rowhani joked about access to satellite television, hundreds of satellite dishes were destroyed in the city of Shiraz by members of the Revolutionary Guards. There was also intense speculation that the leaders of the Green Movement, Mir Hussein Moussavi, his wife, Zahra Rahnavard and Mehdi Karroubi would be released from house arrest, but Iran’s judiciary has said for now they will not be pardoned.SHOW MORE