US still interested in Tehran mission

sadeghzadeh20081005181510500.JPGUS Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the White House has not jettisoned plans to establish a diplomatic mission in Tehran.

Rice told reporter on Sunday that the administration would ‘continue to look at the idea’ of opening a diplomatic outpost in Tehran for the first time in three decades.

“We think it’s an interesting idea. We are going to take a look at it in light of what it could do for our relationship with the Iranian people. We are still looking at the idea,” she said.

Rice’s comments came after an Associated Press report that the Bush administration, in its final months in office, had shelved plans to open an interests-section office in Iran.

Two administration officials familiar with the matter said Saturday that the decision would be left to the next US president in order to reduce the impact of the issue on presidential campaigns.

Earlier in August, a senior US official told The Washington Post that the move is aimed at proving US commitment to a diplomatic approach toward Tehran and its nuclear program.

Iran, however, does not see the move as a ‘sincere’ measure taken by Washington with the aim of improving its relations with Tehran.

Iran’s Parliament Speaker and former nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, described the proposal as ‘misleading’. Larijani said if the US were sincere about closer ties with Iran, it would take up Tehran’s two-year proposal for direct flights between the US and Iran.

CS/HGH

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