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Obama's July 4 Invites To Iranian Diplomats Rescinded

06/24/09 07:54 PM ET   AP

Obama

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has rescinded an offer for Iranian envoys to attend U.S. embassy Fourth of July parties as the violent crackdown in Tehran continues.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday notified diplomats and other department employees overseas that her earlier invitations had been withdrawn.

"Unfortunately, circumstances have changed and participation by Iranian diplomats would not be appropriate in light of the unjust actions that the president and I have condemned," she said in her message sent overseas. "For invitations which have been extended, posts should make clear that Iranian participation is no longer appropriate in the current circumstances. For invitations which have not been extended, no further action is needed."

Clinton had authorized U.S. envoys abroad some weeks ago to invite Iranian diplomats to attend the annual celebration. Her authorization was required because Washington has no formal diplomatic relations with Iran, department spokesman Ian Kelly said.

Presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs noted earlier in the day that the invitations were withdrawn.

"Given the events of the past many days, those invitations will no longer be extended," Gibbs said.

Postelection protests and violence have rocked Iran since the contested re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The past 10 days in Iran have posed the strongest challenge to that nation's clerical rule since the system was established in the 1979 Islamic revolution.

President Barack Obama condemned the violence against protesters Tuesday and lent his strongest support yet to their accusations the hardline victory was a fraud.

No Iranian diplomat had accepted an invitation from U.S. diplomatic posts abroad to attend embassy Fourth of July parties, according to the State Department.

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Filed by Hanna Ingber Win  |