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Khatami’s visit
Posted by: McQ on Monday, September 11, 2006

Publius Pundit is a bit upset, as are many on the right, that former Iranian president Khatami is being allowed in the country to speak:
From the beginning, I noticed that there were two sides to this protest. The first is outrage that Khatami is in the United States and speaking about tolerance and a dialogue of civilizations when there is no dialogue of any kind within his own civilization. The other is that Harvard is giving him the venue to do so. That’s why mixed in with all of the aforementioned slogans, you will see things like “Harvard — Useful Idiot” in there as well.
While it may be satisfying to call Harvard a "useful idiot", Khatami's visit was approved at the highest level. Paul Gigot, who interviewed George Bush on Airforce One breaks the news:
Intriguingly, the president broke a little news on the subject of Iran, acknowledging that he personally signed off on the U.S. visit this week by former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami. The trip has angered many conservatives because Mr. Khatami presided over the nuclear weapons development and cheating that Mr. Bush has pledged to stop. Why let him visit?

"I was interested to hear what he had to say," Mr. Bush responds without hesitation. "I'm interested in learning more about the Iranian government, how they think, what people think within the government. My hope is that diplomacy will work in convincing the Iranians to give up their nuclear weapons ambitions. And in order for diplomacy to work, it's important to hear voices other than [current President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad's."
He's precisely right. Whether or not we want to hear what Khatami says, we need to hear it. If diplomacy is to work, we need more information and a better understanding of the Iranian position. And we need to take advantage of every opportunity to hear and study that position. Khatami presents just such an opportunity.

So good for Bush. We need to listen carefully and assess what Khatami says and incorporate the salient points in our diplomatic effort. Of course Bush signing off on his visit goes against his image as some sort of stormtroooper, but I thought it was important that it at least be noted that Mohammad Khatami was in the US and speaking freely because the president of the US thought it was important to hear what he had to say.

We need all the information we can get from every source concerning Iran. So remember that when Khatami and Jimmy Carter meet and eventually stand together and say everything is "Bush's fault".

UPDATE: An even better reason to let Khatami visit:
When Iran's ex-president was having his picture taken with admirers at a gala dinner sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations in northern Virginia, he received an unexpected message from some of his former countrymen. It was a summons to appear at the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York in Manhattan.

On Thursday, lawyers representing seven Iranian Jewish families living in Los Angeles filed a lawsuit demanding that Mohammed Khatemi pay compensation for the disappearance of 12 of their relatives, who were detained, imprisoned, and in some cases tortured as they tried to leave Iran for Pakistan between 1994 and 1997. Mr. Khatemi became president of Iran in 1997.


A lawyer for the seven families, Pooya Dayanim, said the two former police officers who served Mr. Khatemi with the writs at the Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Va., reported that the turbaned cleric expressed surprise upon receiving the court document. The complaint says the depredations the plaintiffs' kin suffered were "part of a pattern and practice of systematic human rights violations that was designed, ordered, implemented, and directed by the Defendant."

"It is a win-win situation," Mr. Dayanim said. "If he does not defend himself, then we will get a default judgment. If the State Department has to come in, they will embarrass themselves. It puts the administration in a bad position of defending him in federal court against victims of torture."
And, of course, that means they most likely won't defend him.

What better way to say "welcome to America"?
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Previous Comments to this Post 

We need all the information we can get from every source concerning Iran. So remember that when he and Jimmy Carter eventually stand together and say "it’s Bush’s fault".
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Yeah, you’re right ... it’s not clear. Edited.
Written By: McQ
I disagree with the president on this one. I am all for a deaper understanding of moderate Iran but we need to make better choices on who represents moderate Iran and invite them to the lecture.

Just as I don’t listen to Jesse Jackson to get the pulse of current American thoughts on race.

As for UVA whats next in the rotunda lecture series Ken Lay on ethics in business? OJ Simpson on victims rights? Hugo Chavez on how to form a true democracy?
Written By: coaster1
URL: http://
Bush is doing everything he can to show he’s using all available diplomacy on the Iran issue, because he’s going to be pointing to this once we take action against them.

Written By: shark
URL: http://
As for UVA whats next in the rotunda lecture series Ken Lay on ethics in business?
No doubt the lecture would be sponsored by the School of Medicine’s reanimation project.
Written By: Steverino
Name above selcted for notoriaty not actual availability.
Written By: coaster1
URL: http://
Call it genuine wisdom or a smart paper trail, either way it was the right call.

Even more important than the intelligence value is the following argument:

Choice #1: cultivating Khatami and allowing him in

benefits: no guarantees, but could boost strength of moderates in internal debates

costs: ....... ??

Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
I think the cost is more wasted valuable time. Look how many deals we cut with arafat? He became richer the situation became worse. By courting the status quo I believe we actually make the Iranian moderates weaker.

I think he was doing the cultivating why else UVA?
Written By: coaster1
URL: http://
Coaster: It’s only wasting time if it slows down action. I see no reason why it would, offhand.

Anyway, I’m wondering how long it is until some crazy starts claiming "Bush only let him visit to please his Zionist overlords who wanted to serve him a lawsuit!"

Bets, anyone?
Written By: Sigivald
URL: http://
I guess the reason that Americans find themselves in deep trouble in many places is that most wallow too much in their own fart, most are insular and know nothing about the world. Harvard university gave you guys a forum to listen but instead your airwaves have been full of neoconservative propaganda. I bet most of you still hate the French because they told you the truth about going into Iraq. Half still believe the bogus WMD claim of Bush, etc.
Written By: James
URL: http://
I wonder how many of people above have read Khatami’s complete interviews with for example CNN, etc., rather than reading some nonsense one-liners that neconservative liars have attributed to him ?! They duped you into the Iraq war and they are duping you again because you have no brain.
Written By: peter
URL: http://
On the Entertainment of Tyrants and Terrorists
Written By: WPB
URL: http:/
We should spare no cost to come into contact with Iranian moderates...I would guess that Ollie North agrees completely.
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
The real issue wasn’t Iraq. It was/is Iran.
The US military action is actually a way to paralyze Iran and annex its surrounding.
Iran is now surrounded by Western forces.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is the real threat and people like Khatami, Ahmadi Nejad & friends are the true terrorists. They’ve been terrorizing their own people since 1979, and they are now a universal threat to civilization.

The greedy Mullahs are way more dangerous than uneducated Talibans or Bin Ladens.
Written By: looking Guest
URL: http://

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