Iran's former President Mohammed Khatami could be found munching seared salmon and Caesar salad last weekend with Harvard professors on the last leg of a five-city U.S. tour.
In speeches, interviews and meetings with foreign policy groups, Khatami offered a moderate take on relations between East and West that focused on nonviolence, discussion and mutual understanding
The other side of the coin can be seen here:
(Hat tip to Bala Ambati . . . one of my mentors during residency and a real life genius/Doogie Howser . . . became an M.D. at age 17. He also blogs some here). This editorial at NRO by a former Iranian (who probably knows a bit more about Iranian life and politics than your average AP writer). IN his editorial "Good Cop, Bad Cop: Don’t be fooled by Khatami" he said:
The U.S. decision to enable former Iranian President Muhammad Khatami to visit Washington to discuss “Civilization and Tolerance” is an unfortunate reflection of the Bush administration’s continuing confusion about Iran.
The Islamic Republic has convinced successive U.S. administrations that there is a dichotomy in Iran between reformers and hardliners and that, if only Washington would engage the former, they might nudge Tehran toward moderation. There is a dichotomy in Iran, but U.S. officials constantly get the sides wrong. The division within Iranian society is not between hardliners and reformers, but rather between regime and the population.
The Islamic Republic is neither democratic nor capable of reform. This fact is inherent in its constitution. Reform can occur only if unelected officials and the Supreme Leader agrees. It is unlikely that he would ever agree to a reduction of his power. So-called moderates may talk about cosmetic changes, but they neither oppose the theocracy nor the export of revolution.
The White House should not be fooled. The visit from Khatami is the latest reflection of the Islamic Republic’s “good cop, bad cop” strategy.The idea is that while President Mahmud Ahmadinejad speaks about “wiping Israel and the United States off of the map”; Washington should seek dialog with more “moderate” former president Khatami. It is meant to buy time. Unfortunately, the State Department has once again taken the bait.
Khatami portrayed himself for eight years as a “reformist.” During this time, he built up the nuclear program that is now threatening global peace. Khatami and his administration are responsible for the murders of opposition leaders and their families, the crushing of the student rebellions, and the disappearance of many journalists.
I encourage you to go and read the whole thing.
So, who's right, the AP writer or the Iranian editorialist? Is Khatami a real moderate? Or is he a "wolve in sheeps clothing" as Romney said? As I'm getting used to concluding . . . Romney's right again.
At the University of Virginia Katami slammed Bush:
Just before heading to Washington, Khatami also took a veiled swipe at President Bush in a speech at the University of Virginia. He didn't name names, but he left little doubt that one of his barbs was aimed at Bush.
"The rationale whereby the world is divided into `us and them,' the justification of `us' is contingent upon the negation of the other and results in statements such as `whomever is not with us is against us,'" Khatami said. "This `us' is a small circle encompassing a few that have the right to arrive at any verdict they please regarding the ones they consider `the other.' They can force this `other' to submit to their whims or even eliminate `the other' altogether."
Fortunately, the Harvard student newspaper the Harvard Crimson gave us some actual details of Khatami's words and themes during his 30 minute speech at the Kennedy School of (BIG) Government. The article was titled "Khatami Slams ‘Imperial’ U.S.: To polite audience, controversial cleric defends execution of homosexuals"
In his 30-minute address under heavy security, the Muslim cleric also defended the militant Lebanese group Hezbollah as a legitimate resistance movement fighting for the “territorial integrity” of Lebanon.
. . .
Khatami did not directly apologize for Iran’s human rights abuses.
. . .
But he condemned America for acquiring “imperialist” and “colonialist” aspirations, saying it must not fall into a sense of “false pride.”
“In all honesty, the West needs spirituality more than ever before in its history,” Khatami said.
Oh, so like maybe we all just need to become jihadists converts? What hypocrisy . . . if only we had the spiritual enlightenment that has made all Islamic nations so peaceful and unagressive. This is a religion founded by one of the most imperialist leaders in history!
Later we hear Khatami answer a question about Islamic (and Iranian) laws calling for execution for those performing acts of homosexuality:
“Homosexuality is a crime in Islam and crimes are punishable,” Khatami said. “And the fact that a crime could be punished by execution is debatable.”
This last statement is the kind of thinking that makes Khatami a "moderate" in the eyes of the liberal MSM . . . that he's willing to debate whether or not homosexual acts should be punishible by death, or just life in prision or deportation. Sound like a "moderate" stance to you?
Another source covering Khatami's speech quoted him as saying that . . .
American politicians, since World War II, have been infatuated with "world domination."
Providing a stark contrast to who these left-wing nut-jobs think the real terrorists are we can thank, again, the Harvard Crimson's reporting. This is what the folks protesting the presence of Dick Cheney at a GOP fundraiser in Boston on Sept 8th, 2006:
“It’s the equivalent of Hitler coming back to life and coming to Boston,” said Nick Giannone of Quincy, Mass. “This guy’s a straight-up fascist. I also find it pretty appalling that someone would pay $2,500 to sit in a room with a war criminal.”
Suren Moodliar of the Greater Boston Stop the Wars Coalition expressed distaste for Cheney’s ability to raise money: “I am appalled that he can go around raising money now that the party and he, in particular, have demonstrated to be so morally bankrupt.”
. . .
the group of approximately 200 hundred gathered a block down from the crimson and white flowerbeds of the club’s entrance. Protestors screamed, “Shame on you!” and “Murderers!” to those making their way to the fundraiser.
. . .
The crowd waved signs calling Cheney a “demon” and chanted, “Cheney, Cheney’s got to go! Send him to Guantanamo!” Three men dressed in jailhouse stripes and wearing Bush, Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld masks mugged for passerby. A group of self-proclaimed ‘Billionaires for Bush and Cheney,’ dressed to the nines, serenaded the crowd: “All we are saying is give greed a chance!”
Something's telling me that these protestors were not the same orderly and respectful crowd that protested Khatami's record/presence at Harvard a couple of days later.
Why does Khatami get respectful consideration while Harvard students in the past have booed conservative speakers and protested President Reagan's plans to speak at Harvard's 350th anniversary? Gotta make ya wonder, eh?