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February 9, 2009

Trita Parsi on Khatami’s Announcement

NIAC President Trita Parsi has written an analysis of Khatami’s decision to run for Iranian President on the Huffington Post.
Despite having been elected twice to the Presidency twice, Khatami faces several challenges:

“Khatami’s challenge now is to make sure that he can convince the Iranian populace three things. First, that he will show greater strength and willingness to challenge the political boundaries of the Islamic Republic. During his eight years as President, Khatami disappointed large segments of the population by being too timid and too unwilling to push the envelope to deliver on his promise of greater freedoms and reforms.”

The announcement also has implications for US policymakers:

“His decision to run will intensify temptations in Washington to hold back any effort to initiate diplomacy with Iran until after the election. These temptations should be resisted. The last thing Khatami needs is to be considered America’s candidate in the race. In fact, opponents to Ahmadinejad argue that out they will have an easier time pursuing diplomacy with the US if negotiations are initiated already under Ahmadinejad and the conservatives. It will simply be more difficult for the conservatives to oppose and undermine US-Iran talks if those talks began when a conservative held the presidency.”

The full article contains much more and is well worth a read.

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