Iran General NewsIran says US embassy not for sale

Iran says US embassy not for sale

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AFP: Iran has dismissed claims that the US embassy in Tehran will be sold to pay for damages awarded to an Iranian over his capture 15 years ago by US agents, the media reported on Monday.
TEHRAN, April 16, 2007 (AFP) – Iran has dismissed claims that the US embassy in Tehran will be sold to pay for damages awarded to an Iranian over his capture 15 years ago by US agents, the media reported on Monday.

Cyprus-based Hossein Alikhani was awarded 550 million dollars (406 million euros) by a Tehran court in 2003, and said last week the massive compound had been seized to pay his compensation.

“Based on the international laws, embassies cannot be sold or confiscated,” Reza Jafari, deputy Tehran prosecutor, was quoted as saying in the centrist Kargozaran newspaper.

“The court can only confiscate property such as cars, bank accounts, buildings and firms, and cannot pass a verdict on confiscating embassies as this is contrary to international law,” he said.

The site of the seizure of embassy staff by revolutionary militants in 1979, the embassy is now in the possession of the elite Revolutionary Guards who use it for training and as a “spy” museum against US “crimes.”

The United States cut diplomatic relations with Iran in the wake of the hostage crisis and ties have remained frozen ever since.

“The selling of embassies would not be good for the country’s image,” said Jafari, noting that no such action was taken with Baghdad’s embassy when Iraq invaded Iran in 1980.

Alikhani said that in 1992 undercover US customs agents lured him to the Bahamas after he was suspected of breaking US sanctions against Libya, and that he was then held in detention for 130 days.

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