Geopolitics

The World Reacts To Iran Nuclear Deal

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on April 3
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on April 3
Ahmad Shayegan and Patrick Randall

After prolonged talks, the P5+1 group (U.S., Russia, China, U.K., France and Germany) and Iran agreed Thursday on a "historical" framework agreement for Iran's nuclear program.

"Important implementation details are still subject to negotiation, and nothing is agreed until everything is agreed," the White House warns. But the main points of the preliminary deal are clear: preventing Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapon in exchange for lifted international economic sanctions, if Iran "abides by its commitments." In a speech from the White House Thursday, President Barack Obama insisted Iran's nuclear program would be subject to the strictest controls.

Iranian diplomats and President Hassan Rouhani were the first Iranian officials to express their satisfaction on April 2.

— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) April 2, 2015

Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted that the preliminary deal meant an end to "nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions."

— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) April 2, 2015

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry described the deal as a "solid foundation" for the more comprehensive nuclear agreement that is to be reached by 30 June.

— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) April 2, 2015

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on the other hand, strongly condemned the deal.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: A deal based on this framework would threaten the survival of Israel.

— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) April 2, 2015

Prime Minister Netanyahu: Such a deal would not block Iran's path to the bomb. It would pave it.

— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) April 2, 2015

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said this "interim agreement is made up of indisputable, positive developments, but there is still work to do."

— Laurent Fabius (@LaurentFabius) April 2, 2015

The semi-official ISNA agency also reported that Tehran residents, both Iranian and Western, took to the streets to celebrate the deal, including outside the foreign ministry.

— Hadi Nili (@HadiNili) April 2, 2015

A man holds up a U.S. dollar in Tehran after the deal was announced Thursday Photo: Morteza Nikoubazl/ZUMA

An Iranian couple does the victory sign in the streets of Tehran Thursday Photo: Morteza Nikoubazl/ZUMA

Iranian state television's surprising decision to broadcast President Obama's speech on the deal prompted many Iranians to take selfies in front of their screens.

lol, Iranians are taking selfies with Obama after Iran TV aired his speech live for 1st time. RT @pedi سلفی با اوباما pic.twitter.com/UgRS1WQ3Cf

— Arash Karami (@thekarami) April 2, 2015

Friend of mine in #Iran pinching #Obama"s cheek out of sheer joy #IranTalks pic.twitter.com/M68J6yKgQt

— Holly Dagres (@hdagres) April 2, 2015

Hosein from Iran is really happy today! #IranTalksLausanne @JohnKerry pic.twitter.com/Y6yuEb4Kzc

— faren (@farentaghizadeh) April 2, 2015

— hossein (@hossein13722) April 2, 2015

Iranians may not like their government regime but alleviating economic pressures could not just ease the daily lives of millions in Iran, but also open the way for future social and political developments there. Mohammad Damadi, a parliament member for Sari in northern Iran, said "the entire nation" wanted an end to sanctions, and he expressed hope that Iranians could expect "good days."

Masud Nikkhah, an Iranian writing on Twitter, said that a written deal was not as important as the "breaking of the international consensus" against Iran. He warned, however, that very soon Iranians could expect "domestic snakes to start hissing," referring to conservative opponents of talks and of the Rouhani presidency.

Among Iranian politicians, one former deputy foreign minister, conservative Alaeddin Borujerdi, said the deal vindicated Iranian positions and confirmed its importance, striking a cautious tone typical of conservatives when it comes to deals with the West. Parliament member Gholam Ali Jafarzadeh called the deal a defeat for Israel and "extremists inside the U.S.," though he was one of several lawmakers who observed that no final deal was binding until ratified by parliament.

The effects of the deal on Iran's economy will likely reveal themselves in time. Oil prices were reported to have fallen in its immediate aftermath — and Iran depends on oil sales for most of its revenues — but the country has often stated it must diversify its economy. Time will tell whether it will be oil and gas, or investments, cheaper trade and revamped production that will fuel Iranian prosperity in the future.

The global press also reacted to the Iranian nuclear deal on its front pages Friday:

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Society

The Food Truck, A Sign That The White And Wealthy Are Moving In

In San Diego, California, a researcher tracked how in the city's low-income neighborhoods that have traditionally lacked dining options, when interesting eateries arrive the gentrification of white, affluent and college-educated people has begun.

Balboa Park Spring Fling Food Truck festival

San Diego Food Trucks via Facebook
Pascale Joassart-Marcelli

SAN DIEGO — Everybody, it seems, welcomes the arrival of new restaurants, cafés, food trucks and farmers markets.

What could be the downside of fresh veggies, homemade empanadas and a pop-up restaurant specializing in banh mis?

But when they appear in unexpected places – think inner-city areas populated by immigrants – they're often the first salvo in a broader effort to rebrand and remake the community. As a result, these neighborhoods can quickly become unaffordable and unrecognizable to longtime residents.

An appetite for gentrification

I live in San Diego, where I teach courses on urban and food geographies and conduct research on the relationship between food and ethnicity in urban contexts.

In recent years, I started to notice a pattern playing out in the city's low-income neighborhoods that have traditionally lacked food options. More ethnic restaurants, street vendors, community gardens and farmers markets were cropping up. These, in turn, spurred growing numbers of white, affluent and college-educated people to venture into areas they had long avoided.

This observation inspired me to write a book, titled The $16 Taco, about how food – including what's seen as "ethnic," "authentic" or "alternative" – often serves as a spearhead for gentrification.

Take City Heights, a large multi-ethnic San Diego neighborhood where successive waves of refugees from places as far away as Vietnam and Somalia have resettled. In 2016, a dusty vacant lot on the busiest boulevard was converted into an outdoor international marketplace called Fair@44. There, food vendors gather in semi-permanent stalls to sell pupusas, lechon (roasted pig), single-sourced cold-brewed coffee, cupcakes and tamarind raspado (crushed ice) to neighborhood residents, along with tourists and visitors from other parts of the city.

Informal street vendors are casualties.

A public-private partnership called the City Heights Community Development Corporation, together with several nonprofits, launched the initiative to increase "access to healthy and culturally appropriate food" and serve as "a business incubator for local micro-entrepreneurs," including immigrants and refugees who live in the neighborhood.

On paper, this all sounds great.

But just a few blocks outside the gates, informal street vendors – who have long sold goods such as fruit, tamales and ice cream to residents who can't easily access supermarkets – now face heightened harassment. They've become causalities in a citywide crackdown on sidewalk vending spurred by complaints from business owners and residents in more affluent areas.

This isn't just happening in San Diego. The same tensions have been playing out in rapidly gentrifying areas like Los Angeles' Boyle Heights neighborhood, Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood, New York's Queens borough and East Austin, Texas.

In all of these places, because "ethnic," "authentic" and "exotic" foods are seen as cultural assets, they've become magnets for development.

Food vendor at outdoor international marketplace called Fair@44.

Fairat44 via Instagram

A call for food justice

Cities and neighborhoods have long sought to attract educated and affluent residents – people whom sociologist Richard Florida dubbed "the creative class." The thinking goes that these newcomers will spend their dollars and presumably contribute to economic growth and job creation.

Food, it seems, has become the perfect lure.

It's uncontroversial and has broad appeal. It taps into the American Dream and appeals to the multicultural values of many educated, wealthy foodies. Small food businesses, with their relatively low cost of entry, have been a cornerstone of ethnic entrepreneurship in American cities. And initiatives like farmers markets and street fairs don't require much in the way of public investment; instead, they rely on entrepreneurs and community-based organizations to do the heavy lifting.

In City Heights, the Community Development Corporation hosted its first annual City Heights Street Food Festival in 2019 to "get people together around table and food stalls to celebrate another year of community building." Other recent events have included African Restaurant Week, Dia de Los Muertos, New Year Lunar Festival, Soul Food Fest and Brazilian Carnival, all of which rely on food and drink to attract visitors and support local businesses.

Meanwhile, initiatives such as the New Roots Community Farm and the City Heights Farmers' Market have been launched by nonprofits with philanthropic support in the name of "food justice," with the goal of reducing racial disparities in access to healthy food and empowering residents – projects that are particularly appealing to highly educated people who value diversity and democracy.

Upending an existing foodscape

In media coverage of changing foodscapes in low-income neighborhoods like City Heights, you'll rarely find any complaints.

San Diego Magazine's neighborhood guide for City Heights, for example, emphasizes its "claim to authentic international eats, along with live music venues, craft beer, coffee, and outdoor fun." It recommends several ethnic restaurants and warns readers not to be fooled by appearances.

Longtime residents find themselves forced to compete against the "urban food machine"

But that doesn't mean objections don't exist.

Many longtime residents and small-business owners – mostly people of color and immigrants – have, for decades, lived, worked and struggled to feed their families in these neighborhoods. To do so, they've run convenience stores, opened ethnic restaurants, sold food in parks and alleys and created spaces to grow their own food.

All represent strategies to meet community needs in a place mostly ignored by mainstream retailers.

So what happens when new competitors come to town?

Food vendor at outdoor international marketplace called Fair@44.

Fairat44 via Instagram

Starting at a disadvantage

As I document in my book, these ethnic food businesses, because of a lack of financial and technical support, often struggle to compete with new enterprises that feature fresh façades, celebrity chefs, flashy marketing, bogus claims of authenticity and disproportionate media attention. Furthermore, following the arrival of more-affluent residents, existing ones find it increasingly difficult to stay.

My analysis of real estate ads for properties listed in City Heights and other gentrifying San Diego neighborhoods found that access to restaurants, cafés, farmers markets and outdoor dining is a common selling point. The listings I studied from 2019 often enticed potential buyers with lines like "shop at the local farmers' market," "join food truck festivals" and "participate in community food drives!"

San Diego Magazine's home buyer guide for the same year identified City Heights as an "up-and-coming neighborhood," attributing its appeal to its diverse population and eclectic "culinary landscape," including several restaurants and Fair@44.

When I see that City Heights' home prices rose 58% over the past three years, I'm not surprised.

Going up against the urban food machine

Longtime residents find themselves forced to compete against what I call the "urban food machine," a play on sociologist Harvey Molotch's "urban growth machine" – a term he coined more than 50 years ago to explain how cities were being shaped by a loose coalition of powerful elites who sought to profit off urban growth.

I argue that investors and developers use food as a tool for achieving the same ends.

When their work is done, what's left is a rather insipid and tasteless neighborhood, where foodscapes become more of a marketable mishmash of cultures than an ethnic enclave that's evolved organically to meet the needs of residents. The distinctions of time and place start to blur: An "ethnic food district" in San Diego looks no different than one in Chicago or Austin.

Meanwhile, the routines and rhythms of everyday life have changed so much that longtime residents no longer feel like they belong. Their stories and culture reduced to a selling point, they're forced to either recede to the shadows or leave altogether.

It's hard to see how that's a form of inclusion or empowerment.The Conversation

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Pascale Joassart-Marcelli is a Professor of Geography and Director, Urban Studies and Food Studies Programs at San Diego State University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


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