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U.S. delays diplomatic ties with Iran

TEHRAN, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- The White House has jettisoned plans to establish a diplomatic presence in Iran amid fears the move could affect the U.S. presidential race, an official said.

Two Bush administration officials said Saturday the decision to send diplomats to Tehran for the first time in three decades has been put on hold, Iran's Press TV reported.

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"There is no desire to inject this into the campaign," one unnamed U.S. official said.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice this year floated the idea of opening a U.S. interests-section office in the Iranian capital, where there would be no ambassador but allow for a U.S. presence in the Islamic republic's capital.

While Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has said he favors direct talks with Iranian leaders without preconditions, Republican John McCain has said that would be naive to do.

Press TV reported that opening the interests-section in Tehran could be interpreted as a Republican president helping the Republican nominee. It could also hurt McCain's position by forcing him to adopt a more hard-line position than that of U.S. President George Bush.

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