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Shoes and praise over Iran-US phone call

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Shoes and praise over Iran-US phone call
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In Iran, President Hassan Rohani was greeted with shoes, eggs and smiles, as well as chants of ‘death to America’ and ‘thank you’ in response to his historic phone call with US President Barack Obama.

The press itself was largely positive about the 15-minute call which was the first contact between the presidents of the two countries since 1979.

One man in Tehran hoped it would ring in some changes: “I am very happy that the talks happened. I hope that after these talks the economic problems of Iranians are eased”.

Though some feel it is a step towards lifting crippling economic sanctions, conservative political analyst Amir Mohebbian warns of a backlash.

“Some radicals in Iran have started to react negatively. Their power depends on the way the US will behave. The more demands by the US, the more unlikely resolving the issue will become, the stronger radical voices will get in Iran, and they will pressure the government (to abandon reaching out to US).”

The beginnings of radical reactions were on show as Rohani returned from the US. Protesters hurled shoes and insults as the president greeted well-wishers at the airport. His detractors see the prospect of a detente with Washington as contrary to the country’s Islamic principles.

“We know that the US has never cared about us. As our Supreme Guide has already repeated several times, we have resisted international imperialism for the past 34 years and we have to keep resisting,” said one man at the protest.

The 100 or so hardline protesters were still largely outnumbered by supporters. They are happy that Rohani is seeking an end to the country’s international isolation.