In a new overture to Iran, the Obama administration has authorized US embassies around the world to invite Iranian officials to Independence Day parties they host on or around July 4th.
A State Department cable sent to all US embassies and consulates late last week said that US diplomats could ask their Iranian counterparts to attend the festivities, which generally feature speeches about American values, fireworks, and, of course, hot dogs and hamburgers.
The notice, sent on Friday, said that the posts "may invite representatives from the government of Iran" to the events, a State Department official said Tuesday, quoting from the document. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an internal communication.
It was not immediately clear how many embassies and consulates would actually invite Iranian diplomats to the July 4 parties or whether any Iranians would accept the invitations.
The cable was first reported by The New York Times.
The move comes amid the administration's ongoing efforts to engage Iran in variety of venues, including formal diplomatic meetings over its nuclear program, violence in Iraq and the situation in Afghanistan.
But Iran has given mixed responses to the overtures, which began early in the administration when President Barack Obama recorded a videotaped greeting to the Iranian people and its leaders for their new year.