US invites Iran to 4 July events

For the first time since 1980, the US has authorised its embassies around the world to invite Iranian diplomats to Independence Day receptions.

The move is part of a new policy of engagement with Iran under President Barack Obama's administration.

The decision to invite Iranian diplomats to an American reception is a symbolic gesture but it puts an end to almost 30 years of a US policy discouraging even informal contacts with Iranian officials.

It is not yet known whether Iranians from Tehran's interest section in Washington will be invited to the 4 July reception at the State Department.

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