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Middle East

Iranians react to #ImplementationDay

Iranians have mixed feelings today after decades-long sanctions were dropped on Sunday. Social media reactions in the country were largely divided among linguistic lines.

On Saturday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) formally announced that Iran had complied with the demands set out during the negotiations between it and six foreign powers - the US, France, Russia, China, the United Kingdom and Germany - in July 2015. That meant some of the

sanctions

imposed by the United Nations (UN) could be lifted.

When the deal was first announced last summer, Iranians had taken to the streets to show their joy and relief at the end of what had been a ten-year long standoff with much of the rest of the world.

This time, there was no such outpouring of emotion, since the IAEA announcement came after midnight (local time).

But Iranians did take to social media to express strong - but mixed - feelings.

Many comments were directed at the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, who in the summer of 2015 was treated to a hero's welcome upon his return to Iran from international negotiations. That was when the deal was initially announced. On Twitter and Instagram, the hashtag #ThankYouZarif was used repeatedly, with one Iranian business even making the hashtag into a discount code.

However, other users were not as optimistic. Some expressed their concern that the removal of sanctions could take long time to have positive

impact

on the country.

Twitter user "alooche" resented that: "Whenever a new wave of sanctions were implemented, we noticed the change on the very next day. But now that the sanctions are being lifted, we have to wait three years to see the difference."

Some users also expressed their concerns at the possibility that political change in the West, and in the US in particular, could threaten the deal in the long run.

As one Twitter user put it: "No matter which party wins the next American elections, the main attitude towards Iran will be harsh and Iranians will not have any leverage anymore."

In the US, Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates have repeatedly voiced their opposition to this deal. It was spearheaded by President Barack Obama, who insisted that it was

diplomacy

and not war that had brought this decade-long process to an end.

Obama's personal role was not lost on Iranian netizens, and neither was that of their own president, Hassan Rouhani, whose 2013 election campaign included promises of better relations with the West.

One Iranian user retweeted this humorous cartoon, which shows the leaders embracing - Obama saluting his "dearest axis of evil," Rouhani rejoicing at holding on to his "dearest great Satan."

For some Iranians, the last ten years were spent in harsh economic conditions as a result of the foreign sanctions, giving this weekend's outcome a bittersweet taste as a chapter of the country's history comes to a close.

"The sanctions are gone, and our youth with it," this user laments.

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