Iran's foreign minister is making a rare appearance in Washington after being granted a visa by the State Department to visit the Pakistani embassy, which represents Iranian interests with the US government.
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Wednesday the decision to allow the rare visit was made in the last 24 hours, just a day in advance of an important meeting in Geneva between Iran and six world powers seeking to restrict Iran's nuclear program.
Crowley described the Iranian government's request for the visa as a straightforward matter. He said the Iranian minister Manouchehr Mottaki is not meeting with any US officials during his visit.
Iran and the US have not had formal diplomatic relations since 1980. No senior Iranian official has visited the US capital in years.