U.S. Withdraws July 4th Invite to Iranian Diplomats
By Glenn Kessler
So much for "hot-dog diplomacy." The White House announced today that it had withdrawn invitations to Iranian diplomats to attend Fourth of July festivities at U.S. embassies around the world.
The United States and Iran have not had diplomatic relations for nearly three decades, but Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton authorized the invitations as a way of reaching out to the Islamic Republic. But U.S. officials said no Iranian diplomats thus far had responded to the invitations.
"July Fourth allows us to celebrate the freedom and the liberty we enjoy," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said. "Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. Freedom to assemble peacefully. Freedom of the press. So I don't think it's surprising that nobody's signed up to come."
Gibbs added: "Given the events of the past many days, those invitations will no longer be extended."
During a news conference on Wednesday, President Obama had indicated the invitations were still being extended. Asked if the July 4th offer still stood, Obama responded: "That's a choice the Iranians are going to have to make."
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