‘US virtual embassy plan for Iran will fail’

The US and Iran have not had diplomatic relations since 1979, when few Islamic students took US diplomats hostage.

Last Updated: Oct 27, 2011, 21:22 PM IST

Tehran: US plans to launch a "virtual
embassy" for Iran will fail, the speaker of Iran`s parliament
said on Thursday, according to the website of the state broadcaster
IRIB.

"If the Americans believe they can do something in Iran
with a virtual (embassy), they are mistaken. These
declarations shouldn`t be taken seriously because they`re a
sign of political shortcomings" on the part of the United
States, Ali Larijani was quoted as saying.

The remark was a dismissal of an announcement made
yesterday by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an
interview to BBC Farsi.

Clinton said that, in the next two months, the United
States would open a "virtual embassy": an online site that
would respond to questions about US visa and study options,
and that would address the Iranian population directly.

"We`re trying to reach out to the Iranian people, and
we`ve tried to reach out to the government, just not very
successfully," Clinton said.

The United States and Iran have not had diplomatic
relations since 1979, when a group of Islamic students took
American diplomats hostage in the US embassy in Tehran
following Iran`s revolution.

Currently, Iranians wanting to travel to the United
States have to ask for visas in the United Arab Emirates or in
Turkey.

Iran blocks Internet access to websites of the US
government websites and to media, including BBC Farsi
broadcasts.

Larijani also lashed out at comments by Clinton
encouraging the Iranian people to appeal for international
support if they again made protests similar to ones in 2009
that followed the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad.

Larijani also lashed out at comments by Clinton
encouraging the Iranian people to appeal for international
support if they again made protests similar to ones in 2009
that followed the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad.

"If she is hoping for a protest movement inside Iran, she
has to know that the protest movements in the region (ie. the
Arab spring), are the result of the Islamic revolution in Iran
... This sort of comment only reinforces the national unity of
Iranians," Larijani said.

PTI