The Iranian basketball Federation illustrated the softening of relations between Iran and the United States on Wednesday when they announced they were to appoint American Gary Lemon to coach the national team.
"Lemon has been the coach at Dubai up to now, but will arrive in Tehran on Thursday to sign an eight-month deal worth 5,000 dollars a month," Federation official Daryouche Nabavi told AFP.
"His contract could be renewed if the results are good," the agency quoted Daryouche.
The agency added that, “the announcement was met with criticism from the conservative press who are battling against the success of the moderates in this year's general elections spearheaded by reformist President Mohammad Khatami.
Conservative daily Kayhan slammed the appointment saying it would have been more favorable to appoint an eastern European.
After two decades of poor relations, the Americans in the form of tourists, athletes, students and businessmen have returned to Iran and in particular since the election in May 1997 of Khatami.
Diplomatic relations reached an all-time low in 1980 when over 50 Americans were taken hostage at their embassy the day after the Islamic revolution which swept the Shah into exile and Ayatollah Khomeini into power – Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )