Tag Archives: Khatami

Republicans Concerned About Iran

In 2001, American forces swept into Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11 attacks to the cheers of the nation and those of Republicans in Congress. President Bush promised he would ensure that democracy came to the people of Afghanistan and among the initial steps was creation of an Afghan army. In 2004 debates with his Democratic opponent, John Kerry, George Bush told the American people the US was in the process of creating a 100,000 man army in Afghanistan. The assumption presented by the Bush administration was a powerful Afghan army was emerging that would balance that of Iran. During the fall of 2001, reform President Khatami of Iran reached out to President Bush and offered to negotiate any problems between the countries. Bush responded with his infamous “axis of evil” speech. For some reason, I do not recall any Republican Congressional concern about our relations with Iran nor questioning of the Bush foreign policy toward that nation.

Republican Rep. Trent Franks deplored the fact that Iran’s “radical ideology”is not being addressed by the Obama administration. Where the hell were Republicans during the EIGHT YEARS UNDER BUSH WHEN NOTHING WAS DONE ABOUT IRAN? Why is it when Democrats inherit Republican messes, it is Democrats who are blamed for inaction, but never the perpetrators of the problem?

Iranian Revolution Devours Its Children

Among the ironies of the current situation in Iran is the fate of many who were leaders in the 1970s in the Islamic revolution which overthrew the Shah of Iran. In their youth, these men fought for freedom and assumed once they were in power, the people of Iran finally would enjoy the benefits of life in a democratic society. During the initial decade, these men went along with the ever increasing power of Islamic clergy who simply wanted to transform the revolution into one in which clerics had power, not the people. Mohammad Khatami was among those who fought for freedom and eventually became president of Iran. He endeavored to foster a more democratic society. but it was too late since clerics now had the power to decide who could or could not serve in government.

Over the weekend, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khatami, father of the former president had his grave defaced because his son is currently challenging the clerical establishment. To those who seek freedom, beware, the freedom you obtain may well be the freedom that eventually robs you of your rights.

Truth Is A Stranger in Iran

Mohammad Khatami, a former president who was linked to the reform movement denounced show trials in Tehran as merely reflecting an attempt by President Ahmadinejad to smear those who oppose him by concocting a series of false confessions. “These kinds of comments are invalid,” said Khatami, “these claims are utter lies and hold no truth. It is better for officials to prevent such illegal and counter-religious acts, as they will hurt the Islamic republic’s regime.” The prosecution is attempting to prove that demonstrators who went into the street to protest the fraudulent election of Ahmadinejad were merely agents of outside nations who endeavored to destabilize the nation’s leadership.

The only way Ahmadinejad can present himself as legitimate is to prove the opposition is illegitimate. Therefore, the show trials in which decent people who have been brutalized and drugged stand up and confess to things they never did. The world is learning that Ahmadinejad has lost the support of his people. What next for Iran?

Iran Presidential Candidates Clash

The Iranian presidential campaign is producing anger and charges and counter charges as reformers claim President Ahmadinejad is out of touch with reality. In return, Ahmadinejad, insists that former reform president Khatami sold out his nation in 2003 for voluntarily agreeing to suspend nuclear development to avoid United Nations sanctions. His decision was termed by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as a “wise”one. But, Ahmadinejad who is under attack for a laggard economy has gone on the offense in an effort to cast his opponents as enemies of their nation and willing to sell out Iran in order to placate the West. Khatami has demanded an apology from the president, but it is doubtful if any will be forthcoming.

A key issue is the state of the Iranian economy. If Ahmadinejad can twist the campaign into a fight over nuclear power he will appeal to emotions and some will forget there is high unemployment and the economy is a mess

Iran Reformer Withdraws From Presidential Race

Iran’s moderate candidate for president, Mohammad Khatami, suddenly withdrew his name for the presidential campaign that will occur this spring. He was expected to be a strong challenger to the incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. However, Kahatami said he would support another moderate candidate whose name is yet unknown. The June election will be important because many moderates were hoping Khatami would be receptive to discussions with President Obama and would be receptive to possible changes to accomodate Western requests about its nuclear program.

It appears Khatami decided to withdraw because he feared there would be two reform candidates and they would split the vote which would ensure victory for Ahmadinejad. There are reports the other moderate will be former prime minister Mirhossein Mousavi. Many reform supporters are concerned because they do not believe Mousavi has the strength to gain a majority of the votes.

In the end, the most important vote is that of religious leader Khamenei.

New Configuration In Middle East?

The recent Israel invasion of Gaza and continued rocket attacks have played into the hand of Benjamin Netanyahu, the ultra nationalist leader who may well become head of Israel and move that nation in the direction of no compromise. The election of Barack Obama indicates there might be a shift in American policy of supporting Israel regardless of what it does or says, and the possible entry of Khatami into the race for president of Iran raises hopes for more flexibility in the region. The end result could be the replacement of an ultra hard liner in Iran while an ultra hardliner takes power in Israel and a new American leadership seeks to attain flexibility. Obama would be more comfortable with Khatami but not as comfortable with Netanyahu.

The old mess could be replaced by a new mess only this time Israel might be the nation on the outside which will lose complete support from the United States. From the American self interest perspective, the Arab League proposal of recognizing Israel in exchange for return to the 1967 borders is an excellent solution even though it will anger right wing Israeli fundamentalists who do not wish to surrender their homes on the West Bank whose construction was an illegal act. Is it time for new fun and games in the Middle East?

Wither Iran-Reform Or Reaction?

Among the most important foreign policy decisions confronting newly elected Barack Obama will be developing lines of communication with the government of Iran. In 2001, then reform President Mohammed Khatami, cooperated with the Bush administration in its invasion of Afghanistan only to be rewarded with insults and anger which most probably helped lead to the election of Ahmadinejad. Khatami informed reform groups in Iran that either he or Mir-Hossein Mousavi would run as candidates for the presidency this year. “I will tell the reformists and those who may not belong to the reformist(camp) but would like to see a change in the current situation, and with respect for all who have announced or will announce their candidacies that, God willing, (either I) or Mr. Mousavi will be the reform candidate.”

A reform leader in Iran would greatly assist Obama to create the basis of a genuine dialogue for peace in the Middle East. It will also be necessary for Obama to reign in hotheads in Israel who are bent are creating another crisis with talk of attacking Iran.

Wither Reform In Iran?

The Bush administration has consistently focused on portraying Iran as the focal point of terrorism in the Middle East and has ignored opportunities to foster reform in that nation. Former president Mohammad Khatami, who assisted the United States invasion of Afghanistan and was rewarded with hate and anger by Bush, is being urged to run for the presidency of his nation in 2009. Khatami has responded by raising questions as to what is the best strategy for reformers to accomplish their aims– in the political arena or elsewhere? “The reason that I have so far not reached a decision on contesting the election is that I believe that first, certain major questions should be answered. It should be determined whether one can institutionalize reforms n society and the country without being in power.”

Khatami raised issues as to whether the cause of reform is best served by working through the infrastructure of society such as in the clergy, among intellectuals or in social groups. These undoubtedly are important questions, but Iran could benefit by having Khatami or someone like him in the presidency. Ahmadinejad’s wild comments only damage the fight for reform in Iran.

Stop Pressuring Iran Says Moderate Iranian Leader

Former Prime Minister Mohammad Khatami whose tenure in that office was marked by efforts to reduce the power of extremist religious figures, urged the world to stop trying to halt his nation from engaging in peaceful uses of atomic energy. He noted the IAEA reported “contained positive points and I believe that the Iranians and the International Atomic Energy Agency have developed cooperation in a logical manner and achieved the desired results. However,” he admitted, “the report also included some negative points and ambiguities which can provide a path for those who are seeking a pretext to prevent a diplomatic settlement of the nuclear issue.” Khatami insisted that Iran only wants to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and raised the issue as to why Israel is allowed possession of nuclear weapons.

There is no doubt the world has reason to be suspicious of an Iranian government headed by a man like Ahmadinejad. But, men like Khatami who reached out to western nations, including the United States, in an effort to establish peaceful relations, were rejected. The United States now lives with the consequences of a Bush policy that focused on warlike rhetoric rather than supporting forces of moderation in Iran.