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Massachusetts governor orders state agencies not to cooperate with Iranian leader

Massachusetts governor orders state agencies not to cooperate with Iranian leader

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on Tuesday ordered all state agencies to refuse any assistance when the former president of Iran visits the state this weekend.
Romney, a potential candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, said Mohammed Khatami oversaw torture and the murder of dissidents, as well as Iran's secret nuclear program, while in office from 1997 to 2005.
"State taxpayers should not be providing special treatment to an individual who supports violent jihad and the destruction of Israel," Romney said in a statement.
The U.S. State Department will be providing security for Khatami during his visit Sunday to the Boston area, which will include a speech at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. Khatami will be denied an official police escort and other VIP treatment when he is in town.
Khatami was also to speak at the National Cathedral in Washington, and was participating in a United Nations conference Tuesday and Wednesday.
Romney said that by "honoring" Khatami to speak, Harvard had committed "a disgrace to the memory of all Americans who have lost their lives at the hands of extremists, especially on the eve of the five-year anniversary of 9/11."
A Harvard spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
In a statement announcing his decision, Romney cited "a litany of hateful actions" by Khatami, including:
_ Describing the terrorist group Hezbollah, involved in the recent Israel-Lebanon border war, as a "shining sun that illuminates and warms the hearts of all Muslims and supporters of freedom in the world."
_ Endorsing the call of the current president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to seek the annihilation of Israel.
_ Refusing to hand over the Iranian intelligence officials who were responsible for the attack on the Khobar Towers that killed 19 U.S. military personnel.
"Khatami pretends to be a moderate, but he is not," the governor said. "My hope is that the United States will find and work with real voices of moderation inside Iran. But we will never make progress in the region if we deal with wolves in sheep's clothing."


Updated : 2021-10-18 23:07 GMT+08:00