Relocation of Interests Section in US Explained

Relocation of Interests Section in US Explained   Relocation of Interests Section in US Explained

The caretaker of Iran's Interests Section in the United States said the decision to relocate the diplomatic office in Washington was made in view of its heavy workload so that the mission will be able to better serve the Iranian expatriates in the United States.  

The remarks came in an interview with IRNA on Friday evening, in response to a report published by the Washington Post that claimed a possible link between the relocation of the Iranian mission with the ongoing talks between Iran and the major powers over Tehran's nuclear activities.

"The request to relocate the office was submitted to the US government through the Pakistan Embassy in Washington (that officially hosts the Iranian Interests Section) a long time ago," Mehdi Atefat said, adding that the current building is too old and small to allow providing services to the Iranians living in the US.

He said the officials at the office have always cared about "preserving the dignity" of Iranian expatriates who mostly belong to the communities of experts and specialists in the US.   

In similar remarks, the head of the press office of the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations, Hamid Babaei, dismissed the Post's report, denying any connection between the relocation of the office and nuclear negotiations.

Babaei said the permission to change the mission's building in Washington was issued last year following correspondence with the Department of State.

In its report on Friday, the Post claimed that the United States is allowing the Iranian Interests Section in Washington to move to new headquarters "in what may be among the first negotiated deals with Iran since relations broke off in 1980."

The report referred to the relocation of the US Interests Section in Tehran, calling the action a swap in line with the policy of reciprocity which is "the hallmark of diplomacy."

The report also cited an unnamed State Department official as saying that "there is no connection that we are aware of between this long-planned relocation and the ongoing . . . negotiations to address the international community's concerns over Iran's nuclear program."

The unnamed official also said, "The Iranian Interests Section requested last year to relocate to a new address, and permission was granted, per standard protocol."