Stress and Hope In Tehran

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Life savings evaporating overnight. International banks no longer accepting transfers, from companies or individuals. Google no longer available.

Any one of these developments would be considered a calamity in a Western country, but all three happened in Iran as the Obama administration increased sanctions after 2010, to pressure Tehran to curb its nuclear program.

Representatives for Iran, the United States and other world powers are currently scrambling to reach at least a framework for a deal by the end of this month that would place controls on Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions. As the deadline approaches on Tuesday, Iranians from all walks of life are watching, many hoping for a new start.

A number of them, young and highly educated, say they want simply to rejoin the world, and look forward to leading a more “normal” life. Many insist that their government should retain its right under international law to enrich nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes. But just about everyone, it seems, is ready to move on.

“Iranian youths have international mind-sets. From computer gadgets to smartphone applications — we need to pay in dollars but are paid in local money. It’s so hard to keep up.”

MOHAMMAD, 26, ADVERTISING EXECUTIVE

“My father is losing his eyesight. His medicine from the U.S. is not under sanctions, but importers can’t purchase it because of sanctions on international banking against us. Will he be able to see in the future?”

MITRA HAJJAR, 38, ACTRESS

“At least I hope that the banking sanctions will be lifted. People have no money. You will not believe the number of bounced checks I have to deal with.”

REZA, 59, PAPER IMPORTER

“Sanctions haven’t hurt me at all. The problem we have is not because of sanctions. It is mismanagement.”

MAYSAM, 35, STEEL TRADER

“I’m hopeful for the future. Iranians have become much smarter and more understanding. We know what is going on in the world.”

VAHID, 24, POET

“My salary is around the equivalent of $200. My monthly rent is $170. Don’t forget: We don’t make dollars, but rials, which have lost 300 percent in value. I’m waiting for a miracle.”

EHSAN, 28, CASHIER

“My son lives abroad. Every month I try to send him dollars, which have become three times more expensive. My dream is for all of this to end.”

SHAHAZ, 58, HOUSEWIFE

“During the past eight years, I lost my job three times because we had almost no customers at the travel agencies where I worked. Going abroad is now three times more expensive.”

ARTIKAS, 47, TRAVEL AGENT

“I’m just a doorman. Nothing will change for me, deal or no deal; my salary has always been low. Still, I hope people will have some peace of mind.”

ALI REZA CHESMI, 60, DOORMAN

Via NYTimes http://goo.gl/C1xhWw

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