It's true that Mohammed Khatami, as President of Iran, failed to live up to his early promise as a reformer. (And let's face it, that was always going to be a tough gig.) But to call him a "terrorist," as Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney is noisily doing, seems a touch histrionic.
Governor Mitt Romney declared yesterday he would not allow any state resources to be used to protect a former Iranian president during his visit to the Boston area this weekend, and he sharply criticized Harvard University for inviting Mohammed Khatami to speak on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"There are people in this state who have suffered from terrorism, and taking even a dollar of their money to support a terrorist is unacceptable," Romney, a potential candidate for the Republican Party's 2008 presidential nomination, said in a telephone interview yesterday.
Khatami will give a lecture titled "Ethics of Tolerance in the Age of Violence," which, yes, is ironic given his country's unimpressive record on the former and prolific contributions to the latter. But of course Romney wants to be president, so we should get used this kind of winking demagoguery, and not only from him. (Sigh.) Meanwhile, how the anti-terrorist cause will be served by Khatami's getting popped in Harvard Yard remains unclear.