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Former Iranian hostages visit St Andrews

Two former United States Ambassadors – both leading figures in the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979 – paid a visit to St Andrews today (Monday 15 October 2007) for a major seminar examining US Iran relations.

Left-right: Ali Ansari, John Limbert, Bruce Laingen, Stephen Magee and Chris Dunnett. (Rhona Rutherford)

Bruce Laingen and John Limbert are expected to offer unique insights into the development of relationships between Iran and America over the past 30 years when they address a seminar arranged by the Institute for Iranian Studies at the University of St Andrews.  Laingen was Charge dAffaires in Tehran and Limbert a Political Officer at the US Embassy when student demonstrators overran the Embassy and took the US staff hostage in a crisis that lasted 444 days.

After their release, Laingen went on to be Ambassador to Malta while his colleague John Limbert served as Ambassador to Mauritania and was President of the American Foreign Service Association. Both are veterans of the US diplomatic service with an invaluable perspective of the the suspicion and mistrust that has punctuated the relationship between the United States and Iran over the last three decades.  Their visit to St Andrews has been arranged by Professor Ali Ansari, Director of St Andrews Institute for Iranian Studies.

During their visit to Scotland, Laingen and Limbert will take part in a seminar with students and a public forum during which they will answer questions on US-Iran relations, past and present.

Professor Ansari said: “We look forward to a highly productive discussion, which I am sure will be enormously beneficial to our students and further our understanbding of the broader problems which plague US-Iran relations – probably the most serious issue confronting the international community today.”

ENDS

Issued by the University of St Andrews.
Contact : Niall Scott, tel 01334 462244, mobile 07711 223062

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