Mobile phones in Tehran started beeping and buzzing well before Iran’s nuclear agreement with the West was finalised on 14 July in Vienna. They carried an important sentiment that couldn’t wait for the niggling details to be ironed out in the talks between Iran, on one side, and China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK, and the US on the other. “Congratulations, the agreement is almost signed! Come dine with us for less,” read the text from a local pizzeria. Discounts and specials celebrating the coming end of the sanctions pinged around the capital. In the offices of Takhfifan, Iran’s answer to Groupon, staffers interrupted their weekly meeting every 10 minutes to refresh the news on their laptops. “We’re all counting the seconds,” said Nazanin Daneshvar, the site’s founder, hoping “that we’ll get back to a better place after such a long, difficult time.” Daneshvar’s marketing platform is thriving: It boasts a million subscribers who grab daily deals on everything from concert tickets to swimming pool passes. An Iran reopened for global business could eventually bring in Western companies and investors, which might finally mean economic growth of a different scale. A normal scale. Even normality—the most modest expectation—would be vastly different from the Tehran of 2009, before that summer’s Green Movement uprising. Since the protests—which were violently suppressed—the city has laboured through six years of diminished hopes and sullenness, brought on by global economic ostracism.
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