Monday, February 9, 2009

Ahmadinejad vs. Khatami

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be facing off against his predecessor Mohammed Khatami in this June's election. Khatami served as Iran's President between 1997 and 2005.

There is no doubt that the Obama Administration is rooting for Khatami to win. If he does then there will be surely be a one on one meeting between Obama and Khatami. The international community views Khatami as a "moderate" and Obama can say, "See, the Iranian people booted out that extremist Ahmadinejad."

It is true that Khatami doesn't go around in public saying Israel should be destroyed or the Holocaust never happened. But make no mistake. The mullahs call the shots and mullahs decide who runs for President. If Khatami was truly a threat to their power let alone to the continuation of the Islamic Republic then Khatami would not see the light of day.

Should Khatami get elected there might be a loosening of social mores as a gesture of good will to the West. But those changes will be little more than cosmetic ones. In June 2005, I wrote an article about Nazar Afisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran. (

Afisi did not think a great deal of either Khatami or his predecessor Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and their so called liberalism. She wrote, "Those who took his reforms seriously paid a heavy price, sometimes with their lives, while their captors went free and unpunished."

Let's also remember that Khatami came to America in the fall of 2006 to sing the praises of Hezbollah.

Frankly, it doesn't matter who the President of Iran is. The Islamic Republic of Iran will not surrender its nuclear ambitions, waiver in its desire to destroy Israel or relent on spreading the influence of Shi'a Islam. Khatami might present a friendlier face but he carries a sword underneath his robe just the same.

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