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Basketball-American to coach Iran national squad

TEHRAN, June 27 (Reuters) - Iran has selected a U.S. citizen to coach its basketball squad, 20 years after the two countries broke off relations in the wake of the American embassy takeover.

Gary Lemoine has been chosen as national coach by Iran 's Olympic committee, Assadollah Kabir, secretary of the basketball federation, said on Tuesday.

Lemoine has previously coached French, Saudi and Qatari basketball teams, Kabir said.

Iran 's clerical rulers have demonised the United States as the "Great Satan" over the past two decades, but signs of change have been seen recently under moderate President Mohammad Khatami.

Khatami, while admitting the existance of a "high wall of mistrust" between the two countries, has called for more "people-to-people" exchanges.


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