Engaging Iran: Visitors to Pittsburgh bring message worth noting

The World Affairs Council was able to attract to Pittsburgh on Tuesday two senior experts on U.S.-Iranian relations, Jessica Tuchman Mathews, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Thomas R. Pickering, former undersecretary of state for political affairs, to engage Pittsburghers on the most important foreign policy issue of this fall, and perhaps of the years of Barack Obama’s presidency.

After years of constructive cooperation between the United States and Iran, now a nation of 78 million, one of the largest in the Middle East, relations crashed and burned when, in the wake of the overthrow of the shah by Islamist extremists in 1979, Iranian students invaded the American Embassy in Tehran and held 52 American diplomats captive for 444 days.

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