Ahmadinejad, Khatami in spat over who got more humiliated by the West
Mohammad Khatami isn’t running for president of Iran, but the former president still seems to be constantly in the headlines these days. President Ahmadinejad recently attacked his predecessor for bringing shame on the country. RFE/RL reports: The president told Iran’s state radio that Khatami’s 2005 visit to France was one of the saddest days ...
Mohammad Khatami isn’t running for president of Iran, but the former president still seems to be constantly in the headlines these days. President Ahmadinejad recently attacked his predecessor for bringing shame on the country. RFE/RL reports:
The president told Iran’s state radio that Khatami’s 2005 visit to France was one of the saddest days of his life, because Khatami “had to climb several flights of stairs” in the Elysee Palace to reach Jacque Chirac, the then French president.
Ahmadinejad said he found it “insulting” to Iranians.
Oh snap! But Khatami wasn’t just going to take that of course:
Khatami fought back, writing in the “Hayate Nou” daily, saying that the real insult was thrown during Ahmadinejad’s trip to Columbia University in New York in 2007, when Ahmadinejad was introduced to the audience as a “cruel and petty dictator.”
As for the Elysee Palace incident, Khatami wrote that actually Chirac had descended a few flights of stairs — breaching official protocol — to greet him.
Between this and last week’s Azeri-gate, it certainly seems as if Ahmadinejad’s supporters are trying their best to keep the focus on Khatami rather than the opposition who’s actually running, Mir Hussein Moussavi. It does make sense that it would be easier to attack Khatami, who is in fact quite popular and well-known in the West, as a sell-out of the Iranian revolution that Moussavi, who was a favorite of Ayatollah Khomeini and in many ways on the conservative end of the Iranian political spectrum.
Khatami certainly has a right to defend himself from Ahmadinejad’s petty attacks, but the best way for him to help the candidate he supports (who does seem to be gaining some momentum) may be to lay low for a bit.
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating
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