can’t see the forest

Khatami Brands US Mideast Policy “A Great Joke”

Former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami, perhaps that nation’s most reformist leader of recent times until his replacement in 2005 by current hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, says that the US policy of exporting American-style democracy to the Middle East is only increasing violence and support for extremist terror in the region.

Recently interviewed by the BBC, Mr. Khatami has said he is committed to fighting extremism around the world. He has also stated that he is determined to help break down religious and cultural barriers between East and West.

Mohammed Khatami“It’s a great joke—the greatest joke that Mr. Bush said, that he would like to export democracy to the Middle East. Democracy is not something to get exported.”

Mr. Khatami called on the US and the UK to begin the withdrawal process from Iraq as soon as possible, stating that their presence was much more of a boon to insurgents than a threat to them. He said that the near neighbors of Iraq and Afghanistan, presumably including Iran, should take more active roles in developing the war-torn nations’ security policies from now on, but that they cannot do so as long as the West maintains a virtual monopoly on local policy.

“This has been a terrible idea. You know, the Americans are suffering, and you will see the result of this mistake in the upcoming polls in the United States,” Khatami said.

Mr. Khatami, speaking at London’s Clarence House, apparently did not speak to the United States’ economic motives for heavy involvement and military presence in the Persian Gulf region. He is the highest-level Iranian leader to visit the UK since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

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