Sunday, September 17, 2006

Khatami to Visit Scotland

Arthur Macmillan, Scotsman:
Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami will visit Scotland next month to deliver a keynote lecture at St Andrews University. The former premier, who ruled the Middle East state until last year, will open a new Institute of Iranian Studies in the town. The visit will make Khatami, himself a former academic, the most senior Iranian figure to visit the UK since the country's revolution in 1979. READ MORE

His three-day visit to the UK will begin in St Andrews on October 31.

Dr Ali Ansari, who will head up the new department at the university, said: "He is the ideal person to open the institute given his combination of academic and political experience. It is the first time a former Iranian president has visited Britain and the biggest visit since the Shah in 1972."

It is believed that St Andrews beat off stiff competition from several other UK universities to ensure Khatami's visit.

The lecture is expected to focus on academic matters, but a university source said the current political situation in Iran would also be on the agenda.

The source said: "We fully expect him to be answering questions about the incumbent Iranian president's nuclear intent. It is almost inevitable the war on terror will also feature."

Khatami, who is widely seen as Iran's first reformist president, visited the United States earlier this month when President Bush personally ensured his visa was in order.