With Iran on the military offensive, its ex-president is scheduled to address a U.N. conference next week as part of a charm offensive that may extend to Washington – if the White House lets him have a visa.

Mohammed Khatemi is scheduled to speak September 5 and 6 as part of the United Nations’s Alliance of Civilizations project. But the preparations for his visit come amid a round of military exercises in Iran. Yesterday, an Iranian naval commander announced the successful test of a new submarine-to-surface missile, and on Saturday, President Ahmadinejad attended the opening of a heavy-water uranium enrichment facility.

In addition to the Turtle Bay conference, hosted by the socialist government of Spain and the Islamist government of Turkey, Mr. Khatemi has been invited to speak September 7 at the Washington National Cathedral’s Center for Global Justice and Reconciliation. The Council on American-Islamic Relations also has asked him to speak at its annual convention September 8. . .

A spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Ibrahim Hooper, said his organization invited Mr. Khatemi to speak in an effort to reduce tensions between Iran and America. “Given the tensions that seem to be growing between Iran and the United States, it is vital the lines of communications are open between the two nations, and this is one way to keep them open,” he said.


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