Carter Agrees to Hold Talks With Khatami

The noted expert on US-Iranian relations, Jimmy Carter, has agreed to host talks with former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami to help iron out the differences between the two countries.

For an event that would turn a page in American history, former president Jimmy Carter has agreed in principle to host former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami for talks during his visit to the United States starting this week.

Carter’s term as president was dominated by the rupture in relations after the 1979 Iranian revolution and the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, where 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days until the day he left office.

Iranians made the overture for the meeting, and the Carter Center in Atlanta is working on the possible timing, said Phil Wise, the former president’s aide. “President Carter, in his role since leaving the White House, has made his office and services and center available to basically anybody who wants to talk. He believes that it is much better to be talking to people who you have problems with than not to, and that’s the approach he takes now,” Wise said. “I can confirm that President Carter is open to a meeting if the former president of Iran would like to have one.”

Despite mounting tensions between Washington and Tehran over the latter’s nuclear program, the Bush administration issued a visa for Khatami yesterday, as well as for about a dozen family and staff members, for a visit lasting about two weeks, the State Department confirmed. Khatami is expected to arrive in the United States tomorrow.

Ideally, we’d hold these talks in our embassy in Teheran. Whatever happened to it, anyway?

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Anderson says:

    Rather Christian of him, though very unlikely to be much benefit. If this adminstration were the sort to turn this to its advantage, it would be holding its own talks.

  2. madmatt says:

    At least some people think that actually talking with people, rather than demanding they prove a negative, is better than another pointless war based on no evidence. We know the current administration loves all war all the time, why should they be trusted in a search for peace!

  3. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    I wonder if Khatami is bearing gifts for Carter. Had Carter been worth a tinkers damn, Khatami would never have been president of Iran. Very few modern Presidents have been weak in both domestic and foreign policy. Carter is the exception. He failed miserably at both. He won an election, but did not know how to govern.

  4. just me says:

    I am hoping the WH says thanks but no thanks, given his track record with the Arafat and N Korea.

  5. Mark says:

    Ideally, we’d hold these talks in our embassy in Teheran. Whatever happened to it, anyway?

    Now that is just mean! Heh.

  6. Old War Dogs says:

    Bill’s 2006.08.30 Short Shorts — An experiment (Updated throughout the day, bumped occasionally)…

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  7. clearwaterconservative says:

    At least someone is talking to them. Dialog is the only way we can get them to stop their plans.

    Bombing them only worsens the situation. Remember Iraq?

  8. McGehee says:

    Bombing them only worsens the situation. Remember Iraq?

    Yes. Do you?

    Dialog is the only way we can get them to stop their plans.

    Right. And when a rabid dog is menacing your loved ones, do you tell it, “Sit! Stay!”…?

  9. Jim Henley says:

    Whatever happened to it, anyway?

    Ooh, I’ll take “Reaped the whirlwind of decades’ helping SAVAK torture Iranians” since nobody else has!

    That makes me a fringe character accusing the US of suffering in the Middle East because it preferred stability over freedom and got neither, I realize. Just like Condi Rice.

  10. LJD says:

    Carter agrees to hold talks with Khatami.

  11. LJD says:

    Oops! Should read:

    Carter Agrees to Hold Talks With Khatami