Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL
Iran's deputy police chief says no threats have been made against the members of the country's team of nuclear negotiators. Mohammad Reza Radan made the comments on January 29 in response to a question about alleged e-mails threatening the Iranian negotiators with "revenge" over the nuclear deal they reached with Western countries in November 2013.
In recent days, a number of veiled threats, in the form of poetry, have been published on Iranian news sites.
Some reports claimed that the poetic warnings were being sent "extensively" via e-mail. It wasn't clear from the reports whether they had been sent directly to the nuclear negotiators, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who leads the team.
Radan was quoted as saying by Iranian news agencies, "If there have been slogans against the nuclear team, it is the result of agitation of some individuals." However, he added that the police will deal with potential cyberthreats against the negotiators.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (third from left) poses next to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (third from right) and the Iranian delegation in Geneva after a statement early on November 24 announcing the deal on Iran's nuclear program.
It's unclear whether the nuclear negotiatorsactually received the alleged threats.
Under the deal that came into force on January 20, Iran has committed itself to curb its sensitive nuclear work in exchange for limited sanctions relief.
While many inside Iran, including some citizens, have welcomed the deal, a number of hard-liners have criticized it and said the negotiators had made too many concessions, and that the country's nuclear rights have been trampled on.
One hard-line newspaper went as far as calling the deal a "nuclear Holocaust."
The poetic threats also reflect the hard-liners' discontent over the deal.
"We swear to God, we will seek revenge," reads one of the verses.
"We will take revenge through prayers,
We are going to let go of your blood
We will take revenge [for] the martyrs
Go to the negotiating table
We will take our revenge from you."
Iranian lawmaker Mohammad Reza Mohseni Sani suggested in an interview with the parliament's news agency, ICANA, that Iran's cyberpolice should take action against those behind the threats.
Mohseni Sani said some of the threats come from those opposed to the Islamic republic, adding that some inside the country were also creating problems for the negotiations.
"Unfortunately these groups connected to Western intelligence services and political interests are after causing chaos and disturbances in the country. Although there are also some inside the country who don't believe in the work of the nuclear negotiating team toward resolving [nuclear] issues," he said.
The lawmaker added that Iran's "enemies" have misused the situation.
The popular conservative website Tabnak was also critical of the threatening poetry. It asked, "In reality, which of these poems help advance the national interests of the Iranians? Can a threat be called criticism?"
For now ultra-hard-liners critical of the deal and nuclear negotiators appear to be in the minority. Even their use of poetry, which is highly popular among Iranians, is not likely to change the minds of those of their compatriots who want an end to sanctions and better ties with the West.
Iran's highest authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has also expressed support for the nuclear negotiating team and called the nuclear negotiators "sons of the revolution."
Copyright (c) 2014 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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