Sunday, February 8, 2009

June election could offer peaceful solution to Iran's diplomatic row with West

From here, it looks like we be happy to hear that former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, who favors detente with the West and more freedom at home, plans to run for president of the Islamic republic. Khatami announced Sunday that he would oppose the fiercely anti-United States and anti-Israel current president, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, in elections scheduled for June, according to the New York Times. Khatami was president from 1997-2005 but faced severe opposition from Iran's conservative religious elite that actually rules the country, the Times said. The Islamic republic celebrates the 30th anniversary of the revolution that toppled a U.S.-backed secular government this week. Khatami made his announcement at a Tehran news conference and said “the Iranian nation’s historical demand is to have freedom, independence and justice, and I will work for that.” Khatami could pose a challenge to Ahmedinejad's re-election, if the country's religious rulers allow him to run. During his presidency, Khatami's allies in Iran's parliament were barred from seeking re-election, many of his supporters were arrested and pro-democracy publications were shut down, the Times said. Ahmedinejad curtailed many of the freedoms allowed by Khatami's government. But Ahmedinejad's popularity has been hurt by the country's intractable economic problems and its deteriorating relations with the West, which has threatened Iran over its nuclear program. If Khatami is the same person that he was in 2005 and his campaign successfully reflects the will of the Iranian people, a new government in Iran could be a peaceful solution to the West's concerns over Iran's aggressive pursuit of nuclear weapons technology.

No comments: