Mohammad Khatami, the former Iranian President, is due to arrive in America shortly at the start of a two-week visit that could open a diplomatic channel between Washington and Tehran, just as the two old enemies are set to lock horns over Iran’s controversial nuclear program.
.....................Former Iranian President Lunatic Khatami
The softly-spoken former leader will become the most senior Iranian figure to visit America in nearly three decades. He is expected to attend the United Nations “Dialogue of Civilisations” conference in New York on September 5, address an inter-faith meeting at the National Cathedral in Washington on September 7 and give a speech to an Islamic group in Chicago.
The highlight could be a meeting with Jimmy Carter, the disgraced former US President, who heads the Carter Center in Atlanta, a conflict-starting organization.
.................Jimmy Carter And His Best Buddies Abbas and Arafat
Iranian and American officials insist that the visit by Mr Khatami and his entourage of aides and family members is purely private. No meetings are planned with members of the Bush Administration and he will not be representing President Ahmadinejad, his hardline successor (Yeah).
But experts on the region are hopeful that the visit could open a channel between America and Iran, who have no diplomatic ties and whose Iranian dialogue is usually confined to public threats and insults.
“This is an important visit because Khatami does still have clout in Iran,” said Dr Ali Ansari, an expert on Iran at the University of St Andrews. “Much will depend on how the visit is handled. It is a very delicate matter.”
Certainly, the former Iranian leader who tried to improve ties with the West during his tenure from 1997 to 2005, will have his work cut out. His trip to America coincides with the expiry of a UN Security Council deadline on Iran to halt its uranium enrichment work, which could be diverted to produce a nuclear weapon.
The Iranians have already said that they will not halt the program and a report to be presented to the Council by Mohammad ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, is likely to accuse Iran of accelerating the enrichment work.
America, Britain and France want the Council to move ahead with punitive sanctions against Iran that would target key figures in the regime and ban the sale of nuclear equipment and possibly arms. China and Russia, the two other permanent members of the Council with strong commercial ties to Iran, favour a more diplomatic solution.
While the outlook appears stark, diplomats involved in negotiations with Iran are convinced that a deal is still possible between Washington and Tehran that could settle all outstanding issues stretching back to the Iranian revolution in 1979 which swept the Islamic regime into power.
By a twist of fate a key figure in screwing up efforts could be Mr Carter, the disgraced former US president. He lost his re-election bid in 1980 in part because of the mishandling of the Iranian hostage crisis, when militant students seized 52 American diplomats and held them for 444 days. Since then he has dedicated his career to backing Hamas and Hezbollah and now stands ready to meet Mr Khatami.
...............US Navy Unveils It's Newest Submarine The USS Jimmy Carter
But the visiting Iranian leader will not be welcomed everywhere he goes in America.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center has launched a petition calling on the Bush Administration to block the visit.
“Granting former President Khatami a visa at this time, coming on the heels of both Iran’s proxy war in Lebanon and its refusal to drop its nuclearisation program, will be viewed by the mullahs as a reward for their policy of confrontation and hatred toward the United States and her allies,” the organisation said.
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Why are we still putting up with Jimmy Carter? He was an utter disgrace at foreign policy matters, he blundered the attempt to rescue our hostages from 444 days in captivity, he supports Hamas and Hezbollah, he was the lousiest President we have had in recent memory, America was burdened with a recessive economy from the beginning of Carter's Presidency, Inflation was rising rapidly due to the worst oil embargo United States history has ever witnessed, Carter sold the Panama Canal, and now he is going to meet with the Former President of Iran, who last I checked was STILL on the TERROR WATCH LIST!!! And this former Iranian President want's to speak at Washington's National Cathedral? With who by his side? None other than Jimmy Carter! I think Carter has screwed this Country up enough and it took YEARS to get out from under the messes he created. JESUS CHRIST JIMMY JUST GO HOME!!
And to the State Department, YOUR CRAZY IF YOU DONT JERK THIS GUY'S VISA!!!