* Why is this genocidal lunatic allowed to enter Australia?
Daniel Flitton/The Age
IRAN’s former president, Mohammad Khatami, has rejected claims that the Islamic republic is secretly developing nuclear weapons.
Speaking in Melbourne yesterday, Dr Khatami said neighbouring countries with atomic arsenal pose a far greater threat to Middle East stability.
“If there is a real concern about proliferation, we have to tackle the problem of these countries right now having nuclear arms in the region, not putting pressure on a country that doesn’t have such intention and there is no strategy of having nuclear weapons,” he said.
Dr Khatami did not name countries, however Israel is the only Middle Eastern country said to posses nuclear weapons â€” a program Tel Aviv has never officially acknowledged.
* Talking change
Iran’s South Asian neighbour, Pakistan, has also developed a nuclear program.
In an interview with The Age, Dr Khatami also dismissed as “baseless” claims that Iran is a supporter of terrorism.
He also challenged Australia to play a welcome role in resolving conflicts in the Middle East. “Australia enjoys a very unique advantage, a Western country living in the East,” he said.
Dr Khatami said Australia carried no colonial baggage with the countries of the Middle Eastern region, while those shepherding negotiations were seen to be taking one side against the other.
He will give a public lecture at La Trobe University this evening on the need for greater dialogue between Western and Islamic countries as the path to peace.
Dr Khatami dismissed claims he is not genuine in calls for greater dialogue and that he regards Israel and the Jewish people with hostility.
“Dialogue among cultures and civilisations is a real aim and goal for us.
“We would like to change the paradigm that was dominant so far, (that) resulted in wars and conflicts and discrimination.”
Victorian Premier John Brumby declined to meet with Dr Khatami.
Former premier Steve Bracks will meet him this morning in his new role as head of the board of advisers to the La Trobe University’s Centre for Dialogue.
* Here you can apply (if you’re Muslim)
Dr Khatami has withdrawn as a candidate ahead of the upcoming presidential elections in June.