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Via the WSJ:
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration continued to harden its stance toward Iran Wednesday, rescinding a diplomatic overture to Iranian envoys overseas at the same time as it moved to build closer ties with Tehran’s closest strategic ally, Syria.
The White House said it was withdrawing invitations to Iranian diplomats for U.S. embassy Fourth of July parties around the world. The small but symbolic reversal signaled the administration was gradually continuing to pull back from its policy of engagement with Tehran. The U.S. had extended the invitations earlier this year as part of the administration’s outreach.
“July Fourth allows us to celebrate the freedom and the liberty we enjoy,” said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs. “Given the events of the past many days, those invitations will no longer be extended.”
The administration also said it would be sending a new ambassador to Damascus, four years after the Bush administration recalled its envoy following accusations of Syria’s involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Syria has denied any role in Mr. Hariri’s killing.
U.S. officials said the move culminates months of growing diplomatic engagement between the U.S. and Syria. President Barack Obama has expressed his desire to woo Syria away from its traditional alliance with Iran and gain Damascus’s support in stabilizing Lebanon, Iran and the Palestinian territories. The U.S. also wants to help broker peace talks between Israel and Syria.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had authorized the July Fourth invitations several weeks ago despite the lack of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Iran, but no Iranians had accepted, according to State Department spokesman Ian Kelly.
Has Hillary Clinton done anything right at the State helm yet?