Iranians drive under a huge billboard bearing a group picture of Iran's National football team on a highway cutting through the capital Tehran on June 4, 2014. (AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE)
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After years of tough sanctions over Iran's nuclear program, many in the country now say they want the government to make compromises that could satisfy world powers and allow a semblance of prosperity to return.Mirzai, like millions of Iranians who bore the brunt of the sanctions, voted last year for pragmatist Rouhani after he promised to improve the flagging economy in part by striking a deal with the outside world.After several rounds of talks last year, a preliminary deal was penned in Geneva in November, including a limited easing of sanctions in exchange for Iran halting some nuclear activities.As the deadline fast approaches, the lifting of some sanctions has given Iranians a taste of how things might improve.If a lifting of sanctions is important to many Iranians, it is vital for the political hopes of Rouhani, a self-proclaimed moderate who has pledged to boost the economy.Backing away from atomic defiance could be politically tricky for Khamenei, who has supported hard-line positions on the nuclear file in the past.But, for now, he appears to fear the economic problems caused by sanctions could weaken his position and he has cautiously backed the talks, calling for "heroic flexibility" but still expressing pessimism about the outcome.
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