No RSVPs from Iranian diplomats offered a chance to party down on July 4th with U.S. officials at embassies around the world means no more invitations.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
The White House announced Wednesday that it has rescinded the invitations made to Iranian diplomats who may want to barbecue and watch fireworks to celebrate Independence Day.
"As you all know many weeks ago the administration extended an invitation to celebrate the freedom that this country enjoys. not surprisingly based on what we see in Tehran, no one has RSVP'd," said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
"Understand that July 4th allows us to celebrate the freedom and liberty that we enjoy. I don't think it's surprising that no one has signed up to come given the events of the last few days. Those invitations will be no longer extended.
The Iranian government's crackdown on protesters has raised questions about the propriety of opening U.S. doors to Iranians government officials.
President Obama on Tuesday linked the attendance of Iranian diplomats to the potential for warming between the two nations.
The United States and Iran don't have formal diplomatic relations but Obama said that it's up to the Iranian diplomats to decide whether to use an invitation to attend embassy festivities as an opening.
"I think that we have said that if Iran chooses a path that abides by international norms and principles, then we are interested in healing some of the wounds of 30 years in terms of U.S.-Iranian relations. But that is a choice that the Iranians are going to have to make," Obama said during a press conference in the White House briefing room.
Late last month, the State Department first encouraged officials at all U.S. embassies and consulates to ask their Iranian counterparts to attend the July 4 parties, which generally feature speeches about American values, fireworks, hot dogs and hamburgers.
The notice said that the posts "may invite representatives from the government of Iran" to the events.
As of Monday, State Department spokesman Ian Kelley said the invite would stand. Kelly said that no one is going to take back offers for Iranian officials to join the festivities, even as the Islamic Republic's leaders threaten violence against protesters at home demonstrating against allegedly fraudulent presidential election results.