US rescinds July 4 invites for Iran diplomats

An offer for Iranian envoys to attend US embassy Fourth of July Independence Day parties has been rescinded as the violent crackdown in Teheran continues, the White House said in a statement Wednesday. "Given the events of the past many days, those invitations will no longer be extended," presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs said. Post-election protests and violence have rocked Iran since the contested election of incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The past 10 days in Iran have posed the strongest challenge to that nation's clerical rule since the system was established 30 years ago in the 1979 Islamic revolution. US President Barack Obama condemned the violence against protesters Tuesday and lent his strongest support yet to their accusations the hard-line victory was a fraud. No Iranian diplomat had accepted an invitation from US diplomatic posts abroad to attend embassy Fourth of July parties, according to the State Department. Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had authorized US envoys abroad some weeks ago to invite Iranian diplomats to attend the annual celebration. Her authorization was required because Washington has no formal diplomatic relations with Iran. Kelly said no Iranians have accepted, and he indicated that the US saw little reason for them to, given the political crisis over their disputed presidential election.