Iran's Radical Moderate - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Iran’s Radical Moderate

I’ve always been struck by the tendency of U.S. newspapers to describe Middle Eastern leaders as “moderate” just because they aren’t as radical as the most extreme elements within the country. I was reminded of this tendency today when reading a NY Times article on the possible comeback of former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami, which refers to him as a “moderate” in the first paragraph. (In the print edition, he’s described that way in the headline too, but headline was changed for the web version) However, even this Iranian blogger notes that Khatami’s rhetoric toward Israel was also quite inflamatory. For instance, in 1998, the Jordan Times reported Khatami describing Israel as a “plague” and “the greatest enemy of Islam and humanity.” In 2000, his government stood in opposition to Arafat because he was negotiating with Israel, and the NY Times itself reported that he declared Israel a “terrorist racist Zionist regime” and he “urged ‘resolute action’ to punish it.” In America, these views aren’t considered “moderate” — they would rightfully be described as radical. The only way it is acceptable to apply the term moderate to Khatami is as part of the phrase a “moderate by Iranian standards.”

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