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Renovation of former U.S. embassy in Teheran

September 12, Teheran (dpa) - The former embassy of the United States in Teheran is being renovated, according to eye-witnesses Tuesday. Several workers were seen cleaning the walls of the embassy which are covered with anti-U.S. slogans and there were also some renovation activities inside the embassy, the eye-witnesses said.

The reported activity follows a meeting between Parliament Speaker Mehdi Karrubi with U.S. congressmen last month and the attendance of President Mohammad Khatami at the U.N. Millennium Summit in New York last week. Workers at the site said that the cleaning was ``routine'' and was carried out every year. The did not say whether they would remove the anti-American slogans.

The former U.S. embassy in northern Teheran has been transformed into a school for revolutionary guards. Abookshop at the eastern gate of the embassy is still selling what Iran calls ``secret CIA documents'' found in the embassy.

The U.S. embassy was stormed in 1979 by students supporting the late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. A number of embassy staff members were detained as hostages and released after 444 days. The incident led to severance of ties between the two states in 1980.

Hostilities eased somewhat after the election of Mohammad Khatami as president in 1997 and his message of goodwill to the American nation in January 1998.

At the Millennium Summit, Khatami reportedly met Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in a brief encounter and both Albright and President Bill Clinton followed his speech before the U.N.

Reformists in Iran are accused by the conservative opposition of supporting a resumption of dialogue with the U.S. which itself is in favour of direct and ``frank'' talks with Iranian leaders.


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