How ‘almost nothing’ in DC turned into something in Tehran

By Rohollah Faghihi, for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.

When Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Governor Valiollah Seif (pictured) got on a plane to the United States, he could not have imagined that his efforts to help facilitate the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) would result in Iranian hard-liners taking advantage of his remarks.

On April 15, Seif visited Washington to attend a summit jointly hosted by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Seizing the opportunity, Seif discussed with US Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew the issue of Iran’s lack of access to the US banking system, and participated at an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He also gave a few interviews to US-based media outlets, including Al-Monitor.

Speaking at the CFR, Seif said, “Let me also give you a snapshot of what has happened over the last three months — the date of implementation of the JCPOA: almost nothing.” He reiterated the same words in another interview with Bloomberg.

“Almost nothing” quickly turned into the hard-liners’ new rallying cry for their attacks on the JCPOA, leading four prominent hard-line dailies to simultaneously question the nuclear deal’s success. In this vein, they all ran the same headline: “Almost nothing.”

Ever since President Hassan Rouhani first took office in August 2013, hard-liners have opposed his foreign policy, including the nuclear negotiations with six world powers that led to the JCPOA.

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