As world powers crawl toward a potential agreement on the Iran nuclear deal, the question still exists: What does this mean for Iranians themselves?
To help answer that, The Jerusalem Post spoke with Dr. Thamar E. Gindin, a research fellow at the Ezri Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies at the University of Haifa.
She said that Iranians do not see nuclear power as something that would necessarily be a weapon, noting that Iranian civilians see it as a way to create electricity and medicine, and for relatively peaceful purposes.
The ones who do view nuclear power as a means to a weapon, she said, see an Iranian nuclear bomb as a way to intimidate Israel. "Iranians who are pro nuclear power will say 'Now we have the same deterrence power as Israel.'"
According to Dr. Gindin, even if a nuclear bomb was created, the Iranians would not dare use it toward Israel
. "The minute Iran throws a bomb at Israel, Israel throws a bomb back and both countries are over."
From the Israeli perspective, Iranian nuclear power of any sorts puts the world in danger.
"Iran is now becoming a threshold nuclear power and it only takes one more step to have a bomb
, which it can use against us," she said, describing the Israeli mentality.
The deal has a great deal of domestic criticism, even though it would lift years of sanctions on the Islamic Republic. Some Iranians think Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif presents Iran as weak, due to the fact that he made concessions at all.
"Meanwhile, Ayatollah Ali Khameini said ... in a meeting with students that 'we have to continue the struggle against the United States.' He said a nuclear deal doesn't represent anything but a nuclear deal. We'll still be enemies with the West
, we'll still be enemies with Israel."
Dr. Gindin noted that other Iranian officials have emphasized that a nuclear deal would be "just nuclear," without any bearing on the poor human rights record in the country either.
From the perspective of those who oppose the government, Dr. Gindin said that the main criticism of the deal is that the lifting of sanctions will benefit the government only and not the average person. The government would be able to sell its oil and give the money to Syria, Yemen, Hamas and Hezbollah, but not to Iranians themselves.
Overall, she said, the deal will be positive for the Iranian people, who are eagerly looking forward to having sanctions removed. The dollar is currently skyrocketing, she said, adding that a lifting of sanctions would give Iranians freedom to travel without having to go through a long and often unsuccessful process.
"They can't wait for the sanctions to be removed. They want their lives back."