As Iranians celebrated the “historic agreement” between Iran and world leaders, one hardliner offered a unique analogy: fans celebrating a false victory in Iran’s premier football league.

In May, Iran’s football season ended in controversy after Tabriz team Tractor Sazi fans believed their team had done enough to win the premier league title. But, amid the celebrations, it emerged that Tractor Sazi had not won, and that Sepahan had actually won the championship. Some media outlets reported that Tractor Sazi were announced as the winners in a bid to control the public’s reaction, with authorities knowing full well that if the Tabriz team lost, it could end in chaos.

Taqi Dejakam, a member of the hardliner Kayhan newspaper’s editorial team, said on Google+ that the joy Iranians were expressing reminded him of the football controversy, and the uproar that followed. His comments suggested that the Iranian public had been misled, and that street parties to celebrate the deal in Vienna were unwarranted.

The analogy gained popularity, with Raja News reposting a short film about the Tractor Sazi debacle on its website.

Earlier in the day, the website had said that if the nuclear deal was based upon the Lausanne agreement, the US would be the winner, not Iran. Raja News was among hardliner media outlets that urged the Iranian public not to participate in any nuclear celebrations.

The Nuclear Iran web site, run by Mehdi Mohammadi, who sat on former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s nuclear negotiations team under chief negotiator Saeed Jalili, wrote: “Reliable information suggests that the final text of the deal is quite different from what was studied last week in Tehran.”

Not satisfied with the analogy of the failed football ambitions of Tractor Sazi, Taqi Dejakam also referred to a poem about a Sufi who lost the only belongings he had in the world — a donkey — during an all-night celebration.

From the start, hardliners have been openly critical of nuclear negotiations, often lashing out at Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif and President Rouhani directly. These and other comments offer firm evidence that a tide of criticism is still to come as details of the deal emerge in full.

Responding to the criticism, Rouhani attempted to outline some of the key points of the final Vienna deal. But soon after his speech, opponents took to Twitter and Google+, outlining what they saw as the contradictions apparent in the agreement.

At the same time, Rouhani and his cabinet have been invited to see the Supreme Leader this evening, joining him in Iftar, or the breaking of the Ramadan fast. In the coming days, Ali Khamenei’s remarks on the historic meeting will command considerable media attention, both within Iran and around the world.

 

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