- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Khatami defends Ahmadinejad, Iran’s nuke plans
Former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami yesterday defended his country’s nuclear program and rejected suggestions that freedom and human rights in Iran had deteriorated under his hard-line successor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Mr. Khatami, who is considered a moderate in Iran’s political spectrum, told reporters at the Washington National Cathedral shortly before delivering a speech on “dialogue of civilizations” that Iran’s nuclear effort is peaceful and that the world should focus on the atomic arsenals of Israel and other states before criticizing Iran.
At the press conference, Mr. Khatami said Iran could discuss suspending its nuclear program once talks with the West had begun. After meeting with reporters he addressed an audience of about 1,200 people at the cathedral.
That also was a paraphrase of the official Iranian position that there should be talks without preconditions.
Mr. Khatami appeared to be warning the United States against using force against Iran, saying this would never resolve the standoff over Iran’s suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Iran would not give up its nuclear program in the face of outside pressure, he said. “We must eliminate the language for the dialogue to be successful.”
Dressed in a full-length black robe and black turban, Mr. Khatami said Iran’s political system should not be judged by the standards of established Western democracies because the United States’ own human rights record is not perfect.
“Iran has its problems, but they are not greater than the violations of human rights we saw at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo,” he said.
As Mr. Khatami spoke, a crowd of about 50 demonstrators gathered across the street from the cathedral, waving U.S. and Iranian flags and demanding freedom for the Iranian people.
In Berlin, meanwhile, the United States and five other countries remained deadlocked in negotiations over whether to punish Iran for continuing its nuclear program in defiance of the U.N. Security Council.
Mr. Khatami acknowledged that his two-week American tour had been criticized by religious hard-liners in Iran, but he said he did not think that Iran had regressed under Mr. Ahmadinejad.
“I don’t think things have reversed,” he said. “Of course their interpretation may be different than mine, but on women and youth, the new president has said things that are very hopeful.”
Mr. Ahmadinejad has enforced dress codes requiring that women be dressed in black or dark blue Islamic garb from head to toe and has begun a campaign to purge liberal and secular professors from the nation’s universities. Mr. Khatami’s successor has also called for Israel’s destruction.
Mr. Khatami spoke in Farsi, the official language of Iran, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter. He began with a short statement, in which he praised Jesus and Muhammad as great prophets. He then took questions from reporters who packed the southeast section of the cathedral nave.
He spoke against the backdrop of a banner proclaiming “My house shall be called the house of prayer for all people.” (Isaiah 56:7)
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Vietnam says it may have found door of missing Malaysian jet as intel look into stolen passports
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- EDITORIAL: Senate rejects Adegbile for Justice post
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
- U.S. deploys 12 F-16 fighter jets to Poland as exercise in response to Ukraine situation
- CPAC 2014 straw poll results
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again