Iranian reporters have revealed that they were told by the government to avoid raising public expectations about the outcome of the nuclear talks in Vienna.
Iran International television reported that in a 4-page directive, the ministry of culture and Islamic guidance also reportedly ordered the press not to publish Persian translations of foreign media reports about the negotiations.
In the directive, the ministry said that it does not expect quick progress in the talks. Similar directives were issued to the press during the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when hardliners were put in charge of nuclear negotiations.
Commenting on the red lines set by the culture ministry some social media users said, "A lot of foreign reporters and foreign news agencies also cover the negotiations. Will they also obey such directives?" Meanwhile, an Iranian reporter working abroad characterized the directive as Iranian officials' " childish understanding of the way media work."
Meanwhile, as several reports said that the Iranian delegation consisted of 40 members, Akram Sharifi an Iranian reporter well familiar with the Foreign Ministry pointed out in a tweet on Sunday that "Most of the team of 40 are translators and interpreters." She explained that most of the members of the Iranian nuclear negotiation team in Vienna do not speak English."
There were more debates on social media about the number of Iranian team members. Prominent hardline lawmaker Nezamoddin Mousavi quoted a member of the former negotiating teamas "Braging about having negotiated with a delegation of four individuals while the new negotiating team consists of 40 people!"
The lawmaker added, "I wish they went for negotiations with 400 rather than four people and instead, did not "bluff about lifting all the sanctions," and did not say later that they did not know that the JCPOA called for suspending rather than lifting the sanctions."
In comments under the post, one social media user said, "Calm down brother! The number is not important. What is important is the result," while another one suggested: "You go with 4,000 people and try to return with the same 'suspension' if you can."
In another development, while Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian was adamant that an agreement was "feasible and within reach," Foreign Policy Commentator Diako Hosseini wrote in a tweet that "When Iran's declared positions in the talks are about effectively lifting the sanctions and the United States declared objective is controlling Iran's nuclear program and preventing the development of nuclear weapons, threatening Iran with leaving the talks is neither an effective leverage, nor a deterring tactic" for Washington.
At the same time in another tweet Hosseini said: "Although the United States has other options in case the talks fail, Iran has no way other than reaching an agreement in order to accomplish its declared target."
In another reference to the size of the Iranian negotiating team, some Iranian reporters abroad said that even if they have booked 20 rooms at the Palais Cuborg hotel where the talks take place, that would cost Iran 20,000 euros per night. Iranian reporters working in Iran who were probably prompted by the Foreign Ministry to respond, quickly replied that the cost of accommodation for the Iranian team is far less as they stay at a cheaper hotel in Vienna.
In the meantime, one of the interesting comments about the "indirect talks" between Iran and the United States was made by former reformist lawmaker Mahmoud Sadeghi who wrote in a tweet that regardless of their claims, Iranian hardliners know that the United States is the world's leader, and they lack the self-confidence to sit face to face with it."