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U.S. Reaching Out To Iranians

Despite serious problems with the Iranian government, the United States is determined to reach out to the Iranian people. U.S. State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said the U.S. is trying to make connections with Iranians in a number of ways:

“We have had various exchanges. We have made offers of disaster assistance teams. We’ve had an Iranian disaster assistance team visit here. We’ve had Iranian artists here.”

Mr. McCormack noted that this year Iran's Olympic basketball team was invited by the National Basketball Association to come to the U.S. to play in its summer leagues. And in the State Department itself, said Mr. McCormack, more and more people are being trained in Farsi.

“We are devoting time, resources, and energy to trying to connect directly with the Iranian people,” he said:

“It’s a great people, it’s a great civilization, and by a lot of reports that you hear, the Iranian people want contact with Americans. Unfortunately, they have a government that has taken them farther and farther away from that goal, in terms of the world stage.”

President George Bush has asked the Iranian people not to believe slogans that say Americans don’t like them, “Because we do, and we respect you,” said Mr. Bush. “We have differences with the [Iranian] government, but we honor the people and we want the people to live in a free society.”