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Iran names street after American activist

Tehran's municipal council has named a street after an American activist who was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer in the Gaza Strip in 2003, local newspaper reported on Thursday.

The report in Hamshahri, a daily affiliated with Tehran municipality, said the council decided to name the street Rachel Aliene Corrie. It said the street would be in central Tehran, but did not specify when the sign bearing the new name would be hung.

Corrie, a pro-Palestinian activist from Washington state, was trying to prevent what she and other activists believed was an Israeli military push to demolish nearby Palestinian homes. She was 23 at the time of her death.

Iran does not recognize Israel and supports the Palestinians.

The decision marked the first time that an Iranian street has been named after a U.S. national since 1979 Islamic revolution that ousted pro-west Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

Before the revolution, at least three main Tehran streets were named after former U.S. presidents; Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Franklin Roosevelt.

Iran and the United States have not had diplomatic ties since militant students overran the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, holding American diplomats hostage for 444 days.

Currently there are a few streets in Tehran named after Western nationals, including Bobby Sands, a member of Irish Republican Army who died on hunger strike in a British prison in 1981 and Edward Brown, a British orientalist known for his work on Iranian history.

Washington and its allies say Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, and have imposed sanctions on the country. But Tehran maintains its controversial nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.