Obama rescinds July 4th invitation to Iranian diplomats

The Obama administration rescinded its invitation to Iranian diplomats to attend Fourth of July parties at U.S. embassies, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced Wednesday.

"I think as you all know, many weeks ago, the administration extended an invitation to celebrate the freedom that this country enjoys," Gibbs said at the daily press briefing. "Given the events of the past many days, those invitations will no longer be extended."

Gibbs signaled that the rescinded invitations may be moot, since no diplomat had replied to the invitation.

But the invitation -- and its takeback -- are diplomatic signals from the Obama administration as it struggles to more directly engage Iran while trying to walk a tightrope on its reaction to the country's contested presidential election.

Gibbs seemed to take a minor shot at the Iranians, as well, in noting the rescinded invitation.

"July Fourth allows us to celebrate the freedom and the liberty we enjoy: Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to assemble peacefully, freedom of the press," he said. "So I don't think it's surprising that nobody's signed up to come."