Iran may consider opening US interest section, direct flights

July 2nd, 2008 - 7:39 pm ICT by IANS  


New York, July 2 (IANS) Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki Wednesday said his country might consider suggestions of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on opening an US interest section in Tehran, the official IRNA news agency reported. “We believe that restoring relations between the American and Iranian nations would be a positive move,” Mottaki said in New York.

The foreign minister is currently in New York to attend a meeting of Economic and Social Council of the United Nations from June 30 to July 3.

“Contacts between Iranians and the American people will be a useful step for better understanding of the two nations,” Mottaki said referring to last week’s US media reports and official indications that Washington was considering opening a so-called interests section, or unofficial embassy, in Tehran which would also issue visas for Iranian nationals with relatives in the US.

“Last year, we proposed that the Americans launch direct flights between Iran and the US. The two countries could study direct air services and a US interests section in Tehran,” Mottaki said while stressing that flights between the two countries would facilitate family reunions.

Mottaki also told reporters that academics and students of Iran want their American counterparts to visit their country and “by visiting Iran, the American people can acquire the truth about Iran”.

Following the Islamic revolution in 1979, millions of Iranians had emigrated to the US and most of them have in the meantime become US citizens. Most of them, however, have relatives in Iran.

The US broke off its diplomatic ties with Iran in 1979 after the 444-day occupation of the US embassy in Tehran by radical Iranian students.

Since then, the two sides have viewed each other with hostility. Washington branded Tehran part of an ‘axis of evil’, and a supporter of terrorism allegedly trying to develop nuclear weapons.

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