The United States refuses to confirm reports about the possibility of opening an interests section in Teheran. Fred Hiatt, a columnist with The Washington Post, wrote Monday that "senior officials" at the US State Department were considering a proposal to open such a section. Through this, the US would be able to reach out to youth groups and dissidents, without re-establishing diplomatic relations with Teheran, Hiatt quoted one of the officials as saying. Hiatt further said the idea had been under discussion for almost two years and could be adopted within weeks. A State Department spokesman told The Media Line there was "no confirmation yet" regarding the matter. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also refrained from answering questions regarding the report. However, Rice did say on Monday that the US was determined to reach out to the Iranian people despite quarrels with their government over Teheran's nuclear program. Rice added she wished to see more Iranians visiting the US and that the administration was determined to "find ways to reach out to the Iranian people." According to the US Homeland Security's 2006 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, approximately 2,770 Iranian refugees arrived in the US between 1997 and 2006. Also, in the past few years, around 10,000 Iranians arrived in the US carrying non-immigrant visas (used by tourists, businessmen, etc.).