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Lantos Tells VOA He Hopes U.S. and Iran Will Have 'Positive and Normal Relations'

Congressman appeared on 'Roundtable With You' TV program

Washington, D.C., July 16, 2007 - In an exclusive interview with the Voice of America's Persian News Network, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos (D-CA) said that he wished for better relations with Iran, a dialogue between the American government and Iranian government and Iran's right to peaceful, civilian nuclear power. He also expressed his readiness to travel to Iran.

"I look forward to the day when the U.S. and Iran will have positive and normal relations," Lantos said. He added that "Iran is the only government on the planet" that will not allow members of the U.S. government, including members of Congress, to meet with their Iranian counterparts. "If the Iranian government issued me a visa, I would be on the next plane to Iran."

Appearing on the VOA network's television program Roundtable With You, Lantos said his proposed legislation for an international nuclear fuel bank, which would allow for the establishment of an international regime to supply nuclear fuel for peaceful means and help Iran develop nuclear power for civilian use. "We have to make civilian nuclear energy available to Iran," he said.

Roundtable With You is a 60-minute Persian TV call-in show that airs nightly in Iran and features interviews with newsmakers and personalities in the news. VOA broadcasts six hours of Persian TV each day, and has the largest combined radio and television audience of all international broadcasters in Iran, with one in four adult Iranians tuning into a VOA program at least once a week.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 115 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.

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