i'm ali velshi, tonight an indepth special report from inside iran. i'll take you to the streets of tehran, where news of an agreement is on everyone's mind. tonight i take you behind the deal. [ ♪♪ ] >> today after two years of negotiations the united states has achieved something that decades of animosity has not. a comprehensive long-term deal with iran that will prevent if
from obtaining a nuclear weapon america and iran, two old enemies in the middle east, just shook hands. over the next hour i'll take you on a journey through the streets of tehran to show you a side of america's old nemesis that you may never have seen before. it's a trip where i'll meet men and women of all stripe from shopkeepers, bunchers, vice presidents, baristas and the nation's youth. it's a rare insiders look at a time in iran when things are changing. i was therein when the negotiators put the final touches on what has become an historical deal on iran and six nations led by the united states. tehran agreed to open the door to inspectors giving them access to sites, that iran used to threaten neighbours and the world. in return, u.s. and the u.n. agreed to lift sanctions that crippled iran's economy. after 20 months of bargain ag, the deal is done.
whether or not you support it, there's a deal agreed upon. the iranian streak is alive with talk of what is to come. to make sense of it, i had to go and talk to the people, understand their history, listen to their stories. you have to go behind the deal. [ ♪♪ ] the first thoughts when i landed were about how everybody who i saw looked different. you didn't have to have their head cover on the plane. as soon as you cotton the plane you needed to put your headdress on, that's what they needed to do to get in the country with reality police in iran. >> when i drove in the first night, when the sun came up, we had a good view of tehran, the city that most came to mind was los angeles.
this is a city, there was some mountains and it was flat and it was spread out. there are freeways everywhere and they are heavily trafficked, high-rises, commercial areas with slum buildings for shopping. we sort of rolled with a team of five. there was our photographer, my producer, our handler, who is a representative of the agency. there are about a handful of agencies who handle you on behalf of the government. mostly they help you. it's a state where you are shooting for tv, you are stopped by various levels of police - all the time. we had little i.d. cards that we carried that they made for us and papers that said we had permission to shoot. but it didn't matter this, is a society where everyone checks papers and ask if it's okay. the handler helps you out. he came with us everywhere we
when, morning to night. there's a few levels of story. there's a story with the cameras on, with the government minder there, with his phone recording the conversation. that is the least story you get. then you get a different story with the camera off, but the government minder there. there's a slightly more casual feel. then you get a different story when the minder stopped recording or maybe walked away with his phone, and the cameras are off, and that story actually resembles ease. it's a conversation. we got used to the fact in iran that everything was watched or recorded. eventually you don't worry about it. one guy we took a shot of his autodealership and he said no. my cameraman asked him you are not doing anything illegal, what are you shared of. he said "this is iran, we are scared of our shadows." iran is weirdly hospitable. when they meet you they try to
tell you you are better than they are and you are constantly building up the other person, taking yourself down a notch. these people are pious and religious. they feel connected to it. religion seemed to be substantially more personal in iran than i expected is to be. i expected is to be state religion. everywhere. iran is the only theocracy in the world. the mosques they have tend to be smaller, and some were just beautiful. they are mined boggling. people don't wear religion on their scenes, they not only worship. i look at that scene in that mosque. and walking nonstop through it. you can't help but be taken by that.
it does give you a different way of looking at the world. that isn't to say there are real problems there, and people see the world differently. basics are the same. >> in the end it was the squeeze of economic sanctions that may have driven iran to the bargaining table. coming up, a first hands looking at how the sanctions may not have brought the government to its knees, but it hurt men and >> i lived that character. >> go one on one with america's movers and shakers. >> we will be able to see change. >> gripping... inspiring... entertaining. no topic off limits. >> 'cause i'm like, "dad, there are hookers in this house". >> exclusive conversations you won't find anywhere else. >> these are very vivid, human stories. >> if you have an agenda with people, you sometimes don't see the truth. >> "talk to al jazeera". only on al jazeera america.
we were talking to these guys who have been in a business that is ancient for persia. you see the rug, but there are weavers, dires, people who create the carpets themselves. these are carpets that everyone in the world would think are beautiful. and before the sanctions, this one little shop that i was in, this one little owner would ship a container full of these carpets to the united states every week. you'd buy them in fancy stores. since the sanctions he sells no carpet to the united states. i said to him, being the economics guy i am, this is a problem for you, because if the sanctions are lifted the demand for your carpets will increase, and increase. >> and he said no, no, the cost will come down. >>
points. >> he said the costs will come down, i will sell more, i will make the same money selling 100 than selling 10. he thought the whole thing through economically, and everybody in iran has done that. they can tell you based on what they buy and sell, what they make what, will happen when sanctions are lifted. this is like the ramadan for sanctions, they see the end of it. they can take what their lives will look like at the end of it. >> economic sanctions have been at the heart of hassan rouhani campaign to end iran's isolation. they've taken a toll. between 2011 and 2014, iranian oil experts plunge 46%. there were 2.6 million barrels a
day all the way down to 4.1 millions. oil makes up 80% of earnings making up 50% of government revenue. after spending two weeks in iran, it's not oil that makes it regular. the meb and women, and their ability to sell on the world market. for them the squeeze is money and how it travels around the globe. for years sanctions on iran over its controversial programme have taken its toll. they've done little to curb nuclear ambitions. it took banking sanctions, booting iran out of the international financial system to get the iranians to the negotiating table.
>> when i came to iran, i had to bring all the cash i need. my credit cards won't work here. in 2012, iran was pulled off the swift system, the society for worldwide interbank transactions, a society of 9,000 banks in most of the world's countries allowing for global trade for the transfer of money. because it's off the swift system, iran, iranian banks and people can't move money electronically around the world. not all trade with iran is prohibited under sanctions. imports of food and drugs are still allowed, but the inability to wire money to pay for them effectively cuts iranians off from medicine. >> for our day to day, there was not major problem. for example, children
who didn't come, who have major problems. >> it's hard to see the effects of sanctions up front. iran's shops and biz areas, shells are full of goods for sale, and business is brisk. it looks the same with the ports. business with the rest of the world has taken a big hit. because iranian companies cannot fa for imports coming in, or receive payments for exports going out. shipping volumes is measured in shipping containers. back in 2010. the biggest in iran handled 2.5 million equivalent. that dropped to 1.8 million, a drop of 28%. the reason for that is sanctions. the pain of sanctions is being felt across iran's major export industry, like auto and oil. it hit con assumers who must contend with liner inflation
that's -- with hyperinflation, devaluing the economy since 2010. >> iranian leaders decided to make a deal. they have decided to more or less close down the nuclear programme - which they spent a lot of money on, people have died for it. sanctions. >> in the end, the forced belt tightening by businesses and workers pushed government negotiators to prioritise lifting sanctions over preserving nuclear capacity. >> as you can see, iran had to choose economic prosperity. coming up, you meet hard-working iranians that cannes wait to get >> the fda isn't testing enough. >> now science is pursuing an organic alternative. >> these companies are trying out new technologies. >> no hormones are ever added into our tanks.
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i wanted to arriving a kid studying engineering, i said do america. >> he said i love american muscle cars, he said he reworked and sold them. they make distinction between america, things and policy. maybe they drink coke because they like the taste of coke. maybe they like iphones. he said only you western journalists would take that to mean we like america. after the deal was sealed, iranians poured into the streets. they have high hopes once the sanctions are lifted. on the trip to iran i met with many people, and you could almost see the dollar signs in his sighs. to them, choosing money over no-brainer. >> we need to have relations
with the world and export what we make and import things not worth creating this is an executive from a car parts factory. he's like many iranians, hesitant to talk politics, but eager to tell us that given a choice between nuclear ambitioning and prosperity, he'd economy. >> translation: in this moment in time iran needs to move away from oil exporting dependency and move to economy. this is part of the oil industry. in terms of reduction outboot. it's the oil and bass industry. the sanctions forced him to make parts, instead of importing them. now that sanctions are to be lifted. he thinks iran exported oil to the world.
they have taken a bike out of the export industry. this man works in a small shop in the carpet bazar. a few years ago he sent a ship load of carpets to the united states every week. that was stopped. >> 20% of our population was involved in the industry. we have colouring workshops. we cannes export product abroad. we have to depend on local demand. it was impossible to rely on to myself. if sanctions are lifted we'll see a boom. >> sanctions imposed on iran are amongst some of the toughest imposed in the country and the effect is rampant population. i have 3 million of the currency unit involved in the notes. this is worth 100. this was worth 250. one way iranians
hedged against inflationway to buy gold. this julie business tends to do well in good and bad times. still, he said the plummeting currencies imposed challenges to doing business. >> 18 carrot gold. we have, for instance, one day. sometimes in one hour we have so many different prices, it causes us many problems. >> despite the problems, hardships pose for most iranians, most entrepreneurs offered opportunities that wouldn't have been there for them. mohammed is a founder of sauber idea. a firm that has taken off with a youtube like product that is a hit with iranians on time. >> it increased cost and development. we also benefitted from the sanctions, because they forced us to develop product and services on our own, targetting
a captive market. still, i think once sanctions are lifted we'll be able to deliver our product with more efficiency. now that a deal is in place. many in iran are hopeful the chances of opportunity and prosperity will grow. >> economic pros pert which can translate to influence, and that is something those like ali are concerned about. he is chairman and chief executive at the group. a private intelligence consultancy that advises government and companies on security risks worldwide. ali cautions that we don't know the potential long-term implications of the deal. >> one of the great things with the obama administration is basically hit iran with double sanctions, with the oil and the financial sanctions. iran can export a million barrel currency. through.
>> exactly. that shrunk, 2013. they shrunk more than 5-6%. that significantly impacted iran. these sanctions any sanctions before. >> remember in 2005. we were sitting and dealing. we walked out. we didn't want to deal with them. that time iran had 64 centrifuges. today, after all the sanctions. we this 19,000 centrifuges. worked against the iranian people. it did not work against the nuclear programme. iran expanded its sanctions, more in damascus. to make the nuclear deal stick, two nation was a history of hostility will have to learn to trust each other. coming up, living prove of why that could be easier said than done.
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tehran is cool, actually, it doesn't have humidity. i was pleased to not have a tie, because it was hot. it felt weird, i do my work in a uniform, as it were. this does not exist in iran. you'll meet in government officers with officials and banks and bank managers - no one has a tie. the ayatollah khamenei after the resolution indicated that dressing like this is the uniform of the west and the shah of iran, he was in power and had a uniform. iran. there was a backlash when the islamic revolution came around in 1979.
they were mostly fit. we didn't see a lot of big people in tehran. it became popular after the revolution, to have these sort of beards that were well kept and very closely shaved. i understand that that was a sign of being one of these people that fought in the revolution or supported the revolution. women would dress a certain way according to what they deem to be a code. what women would do is have a ponytail or a bun. i'm bad to illustrate this. and there would be a head covering. and you see the back of their hair and head. maybe a quarter or an eighth of your room would be covered. they were fully covered head to toe. face was opened. so you could see some variation in the women, even the women lightly covered had a
fashionable sense with them. -- sense about them. >> in america, much of the narrative relies on painting the country as an enemy, and what president obama called a difficult history between america and iran has been marked by conflict. to appreciate the magnitude of this deal, you have to understand the different narratives of hostility between both countries. for skeptics the past is [ chanting ] there's a history of hostility between iran and the united states that spans decades. for americans, that history dated back to 1979. >> there was more chanting and shouting today. that's when radical students fired up by the iran islamic revolution stormed the u.s. embassy in tehran, and took 52 americans hostage. their captivity lasting 444 days.
for iranians, hostilities started a quarter of a century earlier, when the prime minister led an elected government at a time when iran was experimenting with democracy, at the height of the cold war, the u.s. opposed mosadic because of plans to nationalize the oil industry. it was dominated by british interests. u.s. leaders accused mosadic of being >>. >> his crime was he was saying the money that we get from our oil is not really enough. we need a little more at the time iran was only getting 16% of what the british said they were making in profits off yale sails. saudi arabia and venezuela were getting 50%. in 1953 the c.i.a. orchestrated the removal of the democratically elected national prime minister, putting the shah firmly in control. over time hatred for the shah
and the americans who supported him grew deep this some quarters. the c.i.a. occupied the second floor of this, the former embassy, a building the iranians referred to as a den of flies. by 1979 iran was in the throws of an islamic revolution. popular protests led by the senior muslim clerics deposed the shah and denounced the u.s. role in supporting him. up until that point america never faced off against a political force that used islam for motivation. things came to a head when protesters breached the walls of the american embassy, justifying on iranian fears that the u.s. might support another coup and bring the shah back to power. diplomatic relations were
worse. in the 1980s, iran accused the u.s. of backing saddam hussein. in 1988, the u.s.s. "vincenze" shut a passenger jet off the coast, killing 290 people. the u.s. never formally apologised for the attack. despite the bad blood, most iranians we talked to say they liked america, just not their foreign policy. i liked american muscle cars. i don't hate america. so the current people that you see - it's 40 years or younger - they have no memory of the shah's regime. they don't have a memory of americans doing bad things. and now we have the nuclear negotiations.