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Posted by on Sep 8, 2006 in At TMV | 15 comments

Khatami’s US Visit : Hats Off To President Bush

(Click on photo to enlarge)

Whatever be the motives of allowing Iran’s former President Mohammad Khatami to visit five cities of the United States in these unpredictable times – and in the face of opposition from hardliners in both America and Iran – it bodes well for keeping open the door for dialogue/discussion instead of reaching for the trigger in the face of a crisis.

Khatami’s unusual appearance at Washington’s National Cathedral on Thursday evening, urging religious tolerance and political dialogue while protesters chanted and blasted horns outside, was well covered by the mainstream media.

At a news conference in Washington on Thursday afternoon, Mr. Khatami spoke in terms that combined the religious and the temporal, urging a spiritual dialogue among those of different religions even as he criticized what he described as threatening words of their governments, reports The New York Times.

“He repeated his government’s official line that Iran would be prepared to discuss its nuclear program with the world community, but without the precondition of freezing its enrichment of uranium as demanded by a United Nations resolution as well as the United States and its closest allies.

” ‘We are in search of solutions,’ Mr. Khatami said through an interpreter. ‘During the course of negotiations we could even talk about suspensions, the nature of suspensions, the timing of suspensions and the durations of suspensions’.

“He cautioned that ‘the threat of use of force, and language of threat, has never produced a resolution’.

“Mr. Khatami served as President of Iran for two terms, from 1997 to 2005, and is the highest-ranking Iranian to visit Washington since the United States severed relations under President Carter in 1980 after the 1979 revolution and the seizure of American hostages.

” ‘Today no other course is before us but that of recognition of the right of humankind to rule its own destiny, and the manifestation of this right in democratic systems ought not to be limited to liberal democracies,’ Mr. Khatami said in his address.

For dialogue among civilizations to materialize, he said, ‘the East should no longer be the ‘object’ of understanding in the West,’ but should be ‘recognized as a partner in dialogue and communication’.”

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Copyright 2006 The Moderate Voice
  • Holly in Cincinnati

    Mr. Khatami should not have been invited to visit the USA and, once invited, should not have been permitted to enter the USA.

  • Stop playing the victum role, Holly.

  • Tom In Maine

    Just goes to show that BUSHCO and their corporate pals are not the only ones that know how to play the propaganda game.

  • Jim S

    Iran isn’t a “different” form of democracy. It’s a facade of democracy that is really as democratic as China or the old USSR.

  • Kim Ritter

    But we have in the past, always talked to our enemies -not just our friends- and it made the world safer. With isolation of enemies rhetoric and tensions are ramped up-while actual intelligence about the real threat falls victim. Of course, it doesn’t help one bit that the current administration sees a partisan advantage by keeping that threat constantly in the public eye. Since they know national security is their strong point, we must vote out anyone who threatens it.

    Does it not bother anyone here that we are contemplating military action against Iran with intelligence that is the same quality as the intel used to invade Iraq? That we are considering bombing their nuclear sites but have as clear an idea about their location and number as we did about Saddam’s WMD’s?

    To me, our foreign policy is madness. Critical issues that require delicate diplomacy are now handed over to third parties (Iran) or ignored totally (North Korea). The very idea of engaging in diplomacy with our enemies is labelled appeasement. Well, the WWII appeasers did want to keep the peace at any cost. They had been devastated by a world war and a flu epidemic, and their armies were weak or nonexistent. They had little to fight Hitler with, who at the time had the world’s strongest army.

    But we are not in that situation with Iran. Our defense budget is 100 times that of Iran. Any face to face diplomacy should be backed by a very real military threat-not a paper tiger. Nixon went to China, FDR met with Stalin, Reagan went to Moscow. We met the threat with courage and strength- a courage and strength that is lacking now. We are not acting like the world’s sole superpower.

  • CStanley

    I think this is an excellent article about why there shouldn’t be dialogue right now with Iran (or as the author phrases it, why there can’t be a Bush moment similar to the Nixon moment in going to China).

    There is nothing to be gained (and much to be lost) in having a dialogue with someone who doesn’t sincerely want to negotiate.

  • Sattar

    It is sad that most Americans following media lead think that Khatami is a “reformer” Americans basically are unaware of what is happening in Iran. A good reference to catch up on Mullah’s activities might be a book written by Corsi called “Atomic Iran”.
    During Khatami’s 8 year regime more political activists were imprisioned and tortured than during the Shah’s 50 year rule.
    More newspapers were shut down, over 100.
    He has reffered to Hizbollah as the “Sun of Islam.”

    A Canadian-Iranina news reporter (Zahra kazemi) was brutally raped, tortured and murdered under his watch.

    University students opposing him were thrown down from a three story dormitory building and killed in Tehran.

    To call Khatami a reformer and worst to invite him here as a propaganda machine for the Islamic regime is an insult to all Americans.

  • Sattar

    Durin Khatami’s presdiency a prominent photojournalist Zahar Kazemi was arrested (June 2003) as she was photographing a demonstration outside Tehran’s Evin Prison. She was interrogated for more than three days before being transferred to Baghiatollah AlAzam hospital, where she later died. The report finds that available medical evidence directly contradicts official explanations that Kazemi either died of a stroke or became faint and fell, sustaining injuries. Instead, the evidence indicates that Kazemi was tortured, beaten, and raped and sustained multiple blunt head injuries that could not have resulted from a fall.

    It is very difficult to approach such a brutal regime and think that you can have a rational conversation with them.

    When was the last time an American journalist was raped and murdered in the United States for speaking her mind or questioning the autorities?

  • Rudi

    Amir Taheri at Benador had ties to the Shah and his government. He left Iran after the Shah lost power. Benador is a neocon think tank that spread the Bush gospel in Iraq. Taheri has a lot of baggage, he pushed the religion patch lie a few months ago. For an ex-Iranian(Taheri) to spread the patches lie, when he speaks Farsi and could follow Iranian media, dicredits his stories without second sources.

  • Swaraaj

    CStanley writes:
    Kim, I think this is an excellent article about why there shouldn’t be dialogue right now with Iran (or as the author phrases it, why there can’t be a Bush moment similar to the Nixon moment in going to China). There is nothing to be gained (and much to be lost) in having a dialogue with someone who doesn’t sincerely want to negotiate.

    I am surprised at the casual comments that often appear in American blogs that the US should not have any dialogue with a particular country. It is like saying that first invade a country, defeat it and then have a dialogue as a victor.

    This is dangerous thinking/doctrine but has gained ground even among American public ever since the Bush administration has gone in for his adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is shocking that freedom-loving Americans have been brainwashed to speak like this without bothering about the consequences to their own democratic lifetstyle.

    I am tired of repeating myself regarding the need for dialogue/discussion among nations. So here is the cut and paste version of my comment elsewhere in TMV:

    Whatever be the provocation it is extremely short-sighted and dangerous for one country to enter another country saying that “we are invading you because you have terrorists on your soil”.

    If this precedent is set then we have bloody mayhem in the world and any country can then enter any other country on the pretext of chasing “terrorists”. Even if you have the brute force and muscle power and do that, the consequences are there for all of us to see.

    When we live as a member of the comity of nations, we have to abide by the procedures in the international law. Otherwise what is the difference between a terrorist and a President and the Prime Minister of another country.

    Why did Israel withdraw from Lebanon? Because the realisation dawned on Israeli leaders that their troops’ extended stay in Lebanon would demoralise their troops, make the international opinion extremely hostile, and Israel would still not be able to disarm Hezbollah.

    Which means that certain other options, including discussions and negotiations, have to be thought of to solve highly complex problems within the framework of laws laid by the comity of nations.

    Israel has sensibly understood the need for an effective long-term strategy and thus withdrawn from Lebanon. A single nation cannot prevent the spawning of terrorism unless there is a unity among a majority of leaders in the world to prevent this menace.

  • C Stanley

    I was not aware of the religion patch controversy and will read more on it. Regardless of whether or not this discredits Taheri, I still feel that the story I pointed to is a good analysis of the differences between current Iran/US relations and the China/US situation at the time of Nixon’s visit. His argument is based on historical fact that is not subject to his alleged predjudices. If you have anything to refute what he actually stated in that article, that is a different story..but to say that his current biases completely discredit him on all matters is an ad hominem circumstantial argument.

  • Rudi

    Do a Google search and specify sites TMV and Michele Malkin. The patches story was fed to a Canadian paper and the web jumped on it. Evem MM gave a half hearted retraction. I meant no ad hominem attack, I see Taheri as a Iranian version of Chalabi. And the Senate report yesterday was not to kind to Chalabi.

  • C Stanley

    That is fine and I will look into it. I only meant that the story I linked to is about something completely removed and based on observations of historical facts from the time of Nixon/China era. I don’t doubt, based on what you are telling me, that he is biased against dialogue with Iran, but if his argument makes a valid point in contrasting the two situations, then the argument is still reasonable to consider. I don’t know if anyone else has made the comparison of US/Iran with US/China in the 70’s, but I think it is important to note the differences in the situations. In my view, dialogue with regimes that have no regard for the lives of their citizens, is pointless and dangerous.

  • Rudi

    Right now Iran has trumped the US with the letter to Bush and the laughable challege of a debate between the two leaders. IMO Iran doesn’t believe that Bush and DoS is not willing to talk. Irans stradegy is to ask for a dialogue, knowning it won’t happen. Bush could call their bluff and start a dialogue. Isolation is only going to heighten tensions. The average Iranian wants to embrace the Western culture. Why not poison the Iranian Revolution with more Brittney Spears, Mickey Mouse and McDonalds.

  • Kim Ritter

    There are no good options concerning Iran. Unless we have any faith left that pro-democracy forces will overthrow the current regime-but that is extremely unlikely. We consider many repressive leaders as close allies-Musharaf, the Saudi royals, Mubarek of Egypt to name a few.

    We have always negotiated with tyrants and abusers of human rights-its not pretty but we’ve done it because the alternative was worse. In the 70’s and 80’s we proclaimed democratic values at home while supporting right wing dictators in South and Latin America who used death squads to control the “rebels” in their population. Any government, regardless of their record of human rights abuses was held up by Washington-as long as they were anti-communist.

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