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After Rare Visit, Ex-U.S. Lawmaker Says Iran Yearns For Respect

A former U.S. congressman who made a rare visit to Iran in December says President Hassan Rohani and his inner circle are "deeply committed" to improving Tehran's relationship with the United States.

Jim Slattery, a Kansas Democrat who served in the House of Representatives from 1983 to 1995, said he believes that if those efforts fail, "we are likely to see the return of a much more hard-line government in Iran."

Slattery spoke at the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington on February 9.

He said his visit followed the first invitation extended to a sitting or former U.S. lawmaker since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Slattery said, "The Iranians are deeply concerned about respect," calling it "the one thing they yearn for."

Slattery told RFE/RL in January that he was guardedly optimistic about the prospects for a deal to resolve the standoff over Iran's nuclear program, which Western governments fear could lead to nuclear weapons.

Based on reporting by The Guardian and AFP