Clinton Visits Iran Today October 4, 2006Posted by chuckwh in News and politics.
Vice President Clinton was in Bam, Iran, today, site of the devastating 2003 earthquake, to view reconstruction efforts there. Clinton toured several sites that had been leveled by the quake, including a reconstructed school built, according to local officials, largely with the help of American aid.
I heard on NPR today that she picked up a child and said, “Your community has shown it certainly does take a village to raise children after such a tragic event.”
President Gore, of course, pushed an unprecedented, massive, and controversial aid bill through Congress in the wake of the earthquake that helped the reform movement in Iran and, some say, tilted the power structure in the country’s theocracy towards Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri.
Clinton is not expected to be visiting Montazeri, however, as he is said to be ailing. And the real controversy about the earthquake relief may actually begin after Monatazeri passes away. It’ll all depend on who his replacement is, and what his attitude is towards the United States.
After Bam, Ms. Clinton will travel to Isfahan to represent the U.S. in ceremonies commemorating the new capital city, in the first visit by U.S. dignitaries since the 1979-81 hostage crisis, and, of course, since the recent announcement of the normalization of U.S.-Iranian relations.
Isfahan is replacing Tehran as the Iranian capital because of concerns about Tehran’s proximity to fault lines, and the Iranians have designated tomorrow as a formal day of prayer and ceremonies to salute the event. There won’t be any feasting, though, as it is Ramadan in the Muslim world.
Ms. Clinton is also expected to visit with Iranian President Kamal Kharrazi later tomorrow before she flies to Moscow to meet with Vladimir Putin and lay the groundwork for Gore’s visit there next March.
Women’s groups are pressuring Ms. Clinton to express some indignation about women’s rights in Iran, but that’s not likely to happen, as she was quoted on the plane before arriving in Iran that, “first, we need simple engagement. We’ll cover the complexities of the American/Iranian relationship in due time.”