WASHINGTON (AP) — More than three decades after the bricks-and-mortar U.S. embassy in Tehran was shuttered and diplomatic relations with Iran were severed following the Islamic revolution and hostage crisis, the Obama administration has opened a virtual embassy for Iran to encourage dialogue with the Iranian people.
The web-based "embassy" went online Tuesday with versions in English and Farsi explaining why the administration has chosen a virtual diplomatic mission to further expand its effort to reach out to Iranians even as President Barack Obama's attempts to engage the government in Tehran over its nuclear program have yet to succeed.
Earlier this year, the State Department launched a Farsi-language Twitter account and Facebook page aimed at providing news to Iranians about U.S. government policies and encouraging feedback. The virtual embassy is intended to compliment the social media sites.
"This website is not a formal diplomatic mission, nor does it represent or describe a real U.S. embassy accredited to the Iranian government," the State Department said in an introductory note. "But, in the absence of direct contact, it can work as a bridge between the American and Iranian people."