Tags: Iran | iran | us embassy | nuclear talks | tehran

Ex-Iranian Leader: US May Reopen Its Embassy If Talks Go Well

By    |   Wednesday, 08 Jul 2015 02:04 PM

If the U.S. and Iran can agree on the terms of a nuclear deal, the American embassy — where 52 American diplomats and citizens were held hostage for 444 days between 1979 and 1981 — may one day reopen in Tehran, former Iranian President Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani told The Guardian during a rare interview.

A U.S. embassy in Iran is "not impossible," he said, "but that depends on the behavior of both sides."

The 80-year-old was a close confidante of Ayatollah Khomeini, as well as a "highly influential supporter" of Iran’s current president, Hassan Rouhani, according to The Guardian, which notes that Rouhani’s 2013 election "paved the way for nuclear talks."

Rafsanjani, who is considered a "pragmatic moderate," lauded the Islamic Republic’s decision to negotiate directly with Washington.

"Having face-to-face negotiations is better than talking at long distance through the media," he said. "Iran is dead serious. If the other parties are as serious we will have an agreement for sure. That Iran is talking directly to the U.S. is a good move. We have broken a taboo."

On Tuesday, the P5+1 nations — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the U.S. — and Iran agreed to extend the deadline for negotiations to Friday after missing two earlier ones, the most recent on Tuesday.

The Guardian interviewed Rafsanjani before the announcement of the deadline extension.

Al Jazeera reported that the parties are in dispute over "UN sanctions on Iran's ballistic missile programme, as well as a broader arms embargo."

In April, a framework deal was reached that called for Iran to limit stockpiles of enriched uranium for 15 years and not build any new enrichment facilities or heavy water reactors during that time period, according to The New York Times.

Tehran will also limit its enrichment capacity and research and development for 10 years.
"Inspections and transparency measures will remain in place for longer than that," the Times reports.

Rafsanjani told The Guardian that the decades of tensions between Iran and the U.S. is the result of "U.S. hostility" toward Tehran. The onus, he said, is on America to change the tone.

"Before the [1979] revolution the U.S. was the main supporter of the Shah’s regime and after the revolution, in the imposed war [with Iraq], it was against us too," he said. "Now in the nuclear talks, if we see a different U.S., it will have a positive impact on the Iranian public."

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If the U.S. and Iran can agree on the terms of a nuclear deal, the American embassy - where 52 American diplomats and citizens were held hostage for 444 days between 1979 and 1981 - may one day reopen in Tehran, a former Iranian president told The Guardian.
iran, us embassy, nuclear talks, tehran
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2015-04-08
Wednesday, 08 Jul 2015 02:04 PM
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