Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Washington mulls sending envoys to Iran

WASHINGTON, June 24 (UPI) -- The U.S. government is considering sending envoys to Iran for the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution to boost contact between the two nations.

The U.S. State Department was considering opening a so-called interests section in Tehran to handle such issues as visa processing and other consular services, Financial Times reported Tuesday.

Currently, the United States operates an interests section in Cuba in lieu of an embassy. Iran already has a similar presence in Washington.

Discussions for an interests sections in Iran come amid tensions between Washington and Tehran over Middle Eastern country's nuclear program, and the U.S. government accuses Iran of arming insurgent groups in Iraq.

Some critics have said Washington's inability to get Iran to jettison its nuclear ambitions is partly because there are no formal diplomatic ties between the United States and Iran.

"We're determined to find ways to reach out to the Iranian people," U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said this week when asked about the plans.

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