(Reuters) – The United States plans to open a “virtual embassy” for Iran that will give Iranians online information about visas and student exchange programs despite the lack of formal diplomatic ties, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday.
Clinton, in interviews with the Persian language services of the BBC and Voice of America, defended U.S. sanctions against Iran and said Washington had a strong criminal case linking Tehran to a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington.
Clinton used both interviews to stress that the United States hoped to broaden contacts with regular Iranians despite tensions with the Tehran government, which she said was being transformed into a military dictatorship.
“My goal in speaking to you today is to clearly communicate to the people of Iran, particularly the very large population of young people, that the United States has no argument with you. We want to support your aspirations.
“We would be thrilled if tomorrow the regime in Iran had a change of mind,” she told the Voice of America.
Clinton said the “virtual embassy” web site would be open by the end of the year and it would provide Iranians with information on visas and other programs.
The United States broke formal diplomatic relations with Tehran in 1980 following the Iran hostage crisis, and ties have remained tense amid disputes over Iran’s nuclear program and U.S. charges that Iran is the most active state sponso… >>>