Ever since the agreement was announced in mid-July, Iranian hard-liners have fumed over its provisions, which some believe force Tehran into making too many concessions to the international community and cross certain "red lines" laid out earlier by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader. It calls for dramatic curbs on the country's nuclear facilities, including removal of many of its centrifuges as well as its stockpile of enriched uranium.
Others resented the compromises made with world powers, including the United States, whose government is viewed with profound distrust and loathing by many in the Iranian establishment, particularly by the hard-liners.
"If an American official reads your piece, they should realize they got a really good deal and don't push it," Foad Izadi, an outspoken Iranian hard-liner and professor at Tehran University, said in an interview with Daily Telegraph journalist David Blair.
"People realize that Iran has given away a lot of things," Izadi added. "The nuclear program has become a symbol of national pride — and people don't like that the agreement came at a great price."
In the immediate aftermath of the announcement in Vienna, Izadi and other prominent hard-liners held a news conference pointing out flaws in the deal. Like some of the deal's most skeptical critics in Washington, they viewed almost any concession as an act of defeat.
"We quickly realized that what we had feared all the time had become a reality," said Alireza Mataji, one of the hard-liners at the news conference. "If Iran agrees with this, our nuclear industry will be handcuffed for many years to come."
Similar sentiments have been aired by some members of Iran's news media as well as its lawmakers. Among the more outspoken have been young hard-liners belonging to the Basij, a paramilitary organization tethered to the regime.
In a Facebook post, one Basiji lamented the diplomacy carried out by Iran's political leadership, saying that "the Islamic Revolution is now controlled by those who do not even believe in its principles, but are also as Westernized as one can get," according to al-Monitor. Iran's celebrated foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, for example, has a number of degrees from American universities.
"The deal, signed by enemies of the Revolution, is legally too flawed," wrote the Facebook commenter, Seyed Morteza Rashidi. "It seems that Iranian negotiators are either traitors or uneducated individuals."
This animosity presents a kind of mirror to what is transpiring in the United States, where congressional Republicans and GOP presidential candidates have spouted a fair amount of inflammatory rhetoric about the agreement.
On Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani went on live television to argue the case for diplomacy.
"This idea that we have two options before the world, either submit to it or defeat it, is illogical: There is also a third way, of constructive cooperation with the world in a framework of national interests," he said.
Last week, Iranian journalist Rohollah Faghihi wrote an interesting round-up of the current discussion within Tehran, as Rouhani and his political allies attempt to convince a domestic audience of the fruits of their diplomacy.
When Zarif attempted to explain elements of the deal at a session of parliament on July 21, Faghihi reports, "some of the hardliners posed as if they were sleeping."
On Friday, Iranian journalist Sobhan Hassanvand tweeted images of a recent hearing in Iran's Majlis at which officials from Rouhani's administration attempted to explain some of the specifics of the agreement to their peers. This included a scene of Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran's nuclear agency, attempting to illustrate a point using a paper cup and Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi getting impatient with a handful of the interlocutors.
To be sure, the issue isn't as divisive as it is in Washington. Despite airing a fair number of reservations, both Khamenei and the leadership of Iran's influential Revolutionary Guard Corps appear to have accepted the deal.
But they, too, have put up with the cantankerous objections of others. As Faghihi reports, when Ali Akbar Velayati, an adviser to Khamenei, went before a particularly critical news anchor on state television, he reacted with exasperation.
“Whatever I say about the deal won’t convince you," Velayati said. "I don’t want to argue with you."
Now many are watching developments in Washington, where domestic politics may upset an international pact that has the imprimatur of the U.N. Security Council.
Speaking to state television on Saturday, Araghchi urged his colleagues to endorse the deal to heap pressure on the U.S. Congress.
"We should announce our opinion quickly so if the Congress decided to reject the deal, the onus of such rejection and failure of talks would fall on Congress," Araghchi said. If that happens, he added, "we can return to our normal program."
Related on WorldViews