Iran Invites U.S., EU to Hassan Rohani's Inauguration Ceremony

Move could be Iranian president-elect's first step to improve dismal relations between Tehran and West.

Iran's Foreign Ministry has for the first time invited representatives from the United States and the European Union to attend the inauguration ceremony of its new president, the ISNA news agency reported Sunday.

President-elect Hassan Rohani, who won a little more than half the vote in a six-way race on June 14, is to be sworn in on August 4.

Rohani has pledged to follow a "path of moderation" and promised greater openness over the country's nuclear program, which has placed it at odds with the West.

Observers say the move could be the first step on the part of Rohani - a moderate cleric who ran against the isolationist policies of outgoing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - to improve Tehran and the West's dismal relations.

The Foreign Ministry said that an invitation has been extended to all world leaders. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said he would attend the inauguration.

Officials in Israel, which the Islamic Republic does not recognize, would presumably not be included in the inauguration.