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Study recommends US interests section in Tehran

The successful conclusion of a long-term nuclear agreement with Iran could open the way for the return of US diplomats, but Iran must guarantee their safety.
A woman talks on her mobile phone while passing a mural on a wall of the former U.S. embassy in Tehran November 5, 2008. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl (IRAN) - RTXAA1D

Since the 1979-1981 hostage crisis, there have been no US diplomats stationed in Iran, but the time may be approaching to send Americans back, given recent progress in the nuclear talks and a breakthrough in high-level US-Iran contacts. Officials in the Barack Obama administration say that their priority is finalizing a comprehensive nuclear accord, but broader diplomatic moves could follow.

Ramin Asgard, an Iranian-American who dealt with Iran indirectly for many years as a US Foreign Service officer, argues in a report to be released Feb. 19 that staffing a US interests section in Tehran with Americans — one step shy of full diplomatic relations — would serve US national security in a number of ways.

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