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In Iran, age mellows some former captors of U.S. hostages

By Parisa Hafezi ANKARA (Reuters) - Three decades after hardline students occupied the U.S. embassy and took diplomats hostage for 444 days, many of the now middle-aged revolutionaries are among the most vocal critics of Iran's conservative establishment, officials and analysts said.

Treasury official: Firms not in new deals with Iran after pact

By Patricia Zengerle WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top U.S. Treasury Department official responsible for sanctions said on Wednesday there is no evidence that any companies are taking advantage of a preliminary nuclear agreement with Iran by reaching new deals in Iran.

West's targeted Russian sanctions ensnare investors

By Jakub Iglewski and Megan Davies WARSAW/MOSCOW (Reuters) - Elektrobudowa, a Polish firm that builds power plants, is interested in buying its partner out of a Russian company they jointly own, but there is a problem: the partner firm is owned by a pro-Moscow Crimean politician on the EU's sanctions list. To buy out the partner would mean Elektrobudowa transferring cash or assets to the owners and that, say lawyers who specialize in sanctions law, could be interpreted as a violation of the EU measures.

Austrian president poised for rare Western visit to Iran

By Michael Shields VIENNA (Reuters) - Austrian President Heinz Fischer has 'in principle' accepted an invitation to visit Iran, his office said on Wednesday, in what would be the first trip for many years by a Western head of state. Under President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate who was elected last year, Iran has started to improve relations with the West by engaging with world powers over its disputed nuclear program.

Lawmakers outraged over Iran U.N. choice, seek change in law

By Patricia Zengerle WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hardline U.S. lawmakers said on Tuesday they were concerned about Iran's selection of a U.N. envoy linked to the 1979-1981 hostage crisis, and called on the Obama administration to do what it can to prevent him from taking up the post in New York. "That really has got to be a serious question, as to whether or not the State Department gives ... a visa to him," Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Reuters.

Iranian rights lawyer summoned by Intelligence Ministry: husband

DUBAI (Reuters) - Human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been summoned by Iran's Intelligence Ministry for questioning, her husband's Facebook page said, days after a video of her voicing support for what she called prisoners of conscience was posted online. Reza Khandan, Sotoudeh's husband, said his wife had ignored the summons, made in a telephone call on Sunday, because she considered it "illegal".

West stumbles as autocratic force trumps economics

By David Rohde (Reuters) - A quarter-century after the fall of the Soviet Union, authoritarian rulers such as Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad are showing they can and will defy international norms, suppress dissent and use military force. American policymakers are struggling with how to respond.

Former U.S. hostages angry about new Iran U.N. envoy appointee

By Louis Charbonneau UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Former U.S. embassy workers held hostage in Iran from 1979 to 1981 are outraged that Tehran has selected a new U.N. envoy who may have played a role in the 444-day crisis and want him barred from U.S. territory, lawyers for the ex-hostages said on Monday.

Surprise snowstorm traps thousands of Iranians

Thousands of travellers, many of them visiting family during the Iranian new year holidays, have been rescued after being trapped by unexpected snowstorms in north Iran, a report said Monday. "Since yesterday (Sunday), teams have rescued around 14,000 travellers caught in the heavy snow," Red Crescent spokesman Hossein Derakhshan told the official IRNA news agency. "Some 32 people were hospitalised while 1,600 people have been settled in emergency shelters," he added. Derakhshan also said food and blankets had been distributed.

Iran plans to replace U.N. ambassador in New York

By Louis Charbonneau UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has selected a new ambassador to represent Tehran at the United Nations, Hamid Abutalebi, a veteran diplomat who has held key European postings in the past, Iranian sources said. Abutalebi, who has served as Iran's ambassador to Italy, Belgium and Australia, was chosen to replace Iran's outgoing ambassador, Mohammad Khazaee, sources said. Khazaee's departure was previously announced.
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