TEHRAN — The Sunday morning front pages in Iran told the story of how the first tentative signs of a thaw in U.S.-Iranian relations are seen in the Islamic republic.
As in the United States, different factions are viewing the developments very differently.
The daily newspaper Shargh (Orient), which is considered aligned to reformist forces, ran a front-page photo of angry students punching the air and beating the window of the car containing President Hassan Rouhani on his return from the United States.
“The extremists disturbed the welcome ceremony,” the newspaper wrote, clearly disapprovingly. “Their blow to negotiation.”
But Kayhan, a newspaper that serves as the mouthpiece of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, expressed deep skepticism about what Rouhani had accomplished in his five-day trip to the United States, where he addressed the United Nations and expressed willingness to reach an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. The U.N. has imposed crippling economic sanctions on Iran, which it is eager to see lifted.
“At the end of a five-day trip, we gave advantage in cash and received promises in credit,” Kayhan wrote on its front page. Then, referring to a phone call between Rouhani and President Obama, which neither side has acknowledged proposing, the newspaper wrote: “If it was a decent act, why does neither side accept the responsibility?”
Other newspapers were more even-handed.
Hamshahri, aligned to Tehran’s municipality, carried a relatively neutral headline: “Different reactions to phone calls and meeting in New York in domestic and foreign media continue.” And, wrote the daily newspaper Arman, which is considered aligned with former President Hashemi Rafsanjani: “Do not hastily judge the results of the trip to New York.”