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Iran Document: The Speech Khatami Would Have Given at Japan Disarmament Conference

Last week Iranian authorities, on the eve of their own disarmament "summit", pressured former President Mohammad Khatami not to attend a gathering this week in Hiroshima, Japan, where the first atomic bomb was dropped in 1945. This, from Khatami's official website via the Facebook site supporting Mir Hossein Mousavi, is the English translation of the speech he would have given:

In the Name of God

Hiroshima is not only a city in Japan; it also invokes painful memories of human suffering. It warns of the fate of humans and what they have endured.

The Latest from Iran (19 April): Stay Firm, Spread the Word

In the last moments of the Second World War, Hiroshima and also Nagasaki were destroyed by atomic bombs and their innocent residents perished and suffered in the most heart-wrenching manner. The effects of the pain and suffering from that catastrophe are still evident today.

It is unbelievable that this unbearable catastrophe occurred in Japan. A Japan whose intellectual language is that of poetry, a poetry which beautifully portrays vivid and natural metaphors and conveys the inner sentiments of humans. Coexistence and compassion with nature, affection for mountains, clouds, wind, rain, flowers and the pure spirit of humans is rarely seen in other cultures and languages as it is seen in language and culture of the Japanese.

It is natural that the Japanese would be more worried about the loss of the refreshing sense of life --- the season of spring, pouring of the waterfalls, and beautiful blossoms --- and incineration of humans, who are also a greater and beautiful part of nature. This is especially the case since Japan has had the bitter and painful experience of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The presence of the InterAction Council in Hiroshima is not only a homage to the innocent people who were incinerated in the fires stoked by arrogant killers, but is also a recognition of the efforts of transforming a world full of cruelty, discrimination, violence, oppression and injustice to a world in which all humans are valued and war and violence give way to compassion, cooperation and coexistence between all humans.

What happened in Hiroshima in 1945 was an unprecedented disaster in the history of humanity. Even though this history is filled with wars, destruction and bloodshed, but this time the scope of the disaster was not comparable to what had ever happened until that day.

Shortly after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki disasters, the other "superpower" of the time, the former Soviet Union, conducted its first nuclear test. After that, the whole world was placed in a bipolar order in which both poles had based their relationship with others on force and were armed with a weapon that was becoming more destructive and terrifying by the day. It was not long before the nuclear reserves of the two super powers --- which were later joined by a few other countries --- reached such a level that it was capable of destroying the planet several times over.

After that, the Cold War covered the world in a fog of horrified shock and military alliances revolving around the nuclear powers cast over the entire world a shadow more horrifying than the mushroom cloud cast over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the remaining superpower, under the illusion of unrivaled invincibility, continued to spread the shadow of fear over the world. As a result from the end of the Cold War until now, we have witnessed many times its costly interventions in different countries and its continued striving to impose its will on the world, and even going so far as to threaten to use nuclear and chemical weapons. Military intervention, coup d’états that were also seen during the Cold War, unilateral imposition of their will on others and an empty claim to be the leader of the free world are all examples of the unpleasant situation with which all humans have been confronted.

On the other hand we have witnessed an exacerbation of a dangerous phenomenon which is no less worrying and destructive than the atomic bomb. This phenomenon is terrorism, especially in its most recent horrifying forms. This has also given the current arrogant powers an excuse to further aggravate and deepen the crisis in which the world finds itself.

What is missing in today’s world is peace and compassion --- a peace that has been the desire of all great peacemakers in history and the aim of the calling of great prophets and the essence of cultures and civilizations. The Holy Quran invites all believers into the realm of peace. Peace with oneself, peace with others, peace with the world and with nature. Is it not the book of Isaiah the Prophet that caresses the soul of all peace-loving people with its statement that “He will judge amongst the tribes and chastise many tribes and they will break their swords for ploughs and their spears for saws. One tribe will not pull a sword on another and there will no longer be wars"?

And, as I mentioned before, is it not the Japanese culture, especially with its combination of Buddhist and Shinto values, that plays the sweetest song of peace?

There are not many words that resonate as strongly and are as emotionally fulfilling as peace. However, in reality, what has prevailed in history has been conflict, war and insecurity. In modern times, especially with incredible technological achievements which when used by powers who see the good of humanity in their unquestioned and unchallenged domination of the world, this situation has worsened.

Fear of war and concern for peace is nothing new. Great religions have called for peace and have condemned war, and in modern times the great figures who have denounced war are not few. Immanuel Kant, the great German philosopher, in his famous work entitled Zum ewigen Frieden” (Perpetual Peace) states that: “Kings who use their soldiers in offensive wars for their own grandeur or territorial expansion are using intelligent beings as mere tools for the attainment of their desired goal”. In Kant’s view, standing armies ready for battle must be abolished with time, because hiring human beings for killing and being killed requires that they become mere tools in the hand of governments. This does not sit well with human rights, which recognizes the absolute value of intelligent beings in and of themselves.

However, despite these wishes and ideals war still exists and we have not even taken positive steps towards eliminating the most horrific weapons that humans have created. Peace needs peace-loving spirits and more than ever before we need our rulers to be endowed with this virtue. In any event we are to take practical steps in this direction which is the world expectation from such an important body as the InterAction Council.

I would like permission to express my proposal for making the role of the Council more influential. In 2001, I made the proposal for the Dialogue among Civilizations, which was met with great fondness in the international community. It was intended to reduce the commotion of “Clash of Civilizations” which had particularly arisen after the September 11th catastrophe, at a time when warmongers were using misleading labels to create alliances for war, before the General Assembly of the United Nations I make a proposal for an alliance for peace based on justice, as a complementary theory to the Dialogue among Civilizations.

Here I would like to reiterate my belief that peace is a fruit which will only grow on the tree of justice. And until justice—whether on the national arena and in the treatment of governments of its own people or on the international arena—is absent we cannot expect real peace to take hold. Perceived stability which is brought about by fear and oppression will not be lasting and it will only result in the increasing of resentment and hatred and depravation of humans of all their deserved rights and integrity.

In the international arena a peace that is based on the destructive force of devastating weapons and policies of occupation and repression and sanctions will not bear any result except creating ever more distance between nations and grounds for breeding violence and terrorism. One of the most important reasons that the various proposals for peace have failed is that they do not pay enough attention to the factor of justice.

This proposal for an alliance for peace was not given its due the attention in the commotion of violence and anger prevailing at that time. But now, in this gathering of well-intentioned and internationally respected figures, I will repeat this proposal and announce that the Foundation for Dialogue among Civilizations is ready to undertake comprehensive analysis of this issue and call upon the thoughts and experiences of experts to prepare a plan in this field so that after it is considered in the meetings of next year it can be codified as a charter and presented to the United Nations and other important and influential international organizations and associations in Europe, Asia, Africa and America as well as within parliaments so that it will be given enforcement mechanisms. The strong backing of the InterAction Council will ensure that such a proposal will be accepted by the relevant organizations and institutions.

The Middle East is rightfully considered the most crisis-prone region in the world. In this regard our proposal has been that the world’s nuclear disarmament can start from the Middle East. Today there are nuclear arsenals in this region and nuclear warheads are stored in the some of the region’s countries by some military alliances, which have added to the threat and concern. The Council can prepare a proposal for a Nuclear-Free Middle East in a committee and take on the responsibility of its implementation on behalf of the United Nations and international community.

Reader Comments (10)

Liked the tone but I wonder if he trully knows history of Japan best demonstrated by his statement: "And, as I mentioned before, is it not the Japanese culture, especially with its combination of Buddhist and Shinto values, that plays the sweetest song of peace?" One has to wonder if stopped to consider Japan called itself Imperial Japan. Or did he ever hear of the rape of Nanking in which 300,000 died? While the bombs were tragic the other alternative was a mainland invasion that would have cost more lives on both sides than the nukes did. Least of all lets not forget it was Japan who was agressor and primary duty of the US army was its own soilders! It wasn't right but what was deemed the most practicaly means to reduce casualties and bring the war to closure that much sooner.

Thou the questions remains if the decision to develop and use Nukes was a good decision. I would hazzard a guess once some fanatic sets one off we will all realize we only created our own doom.

April 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBill


"It wasn’t right"

There we must disagree. It wasn't nice -- true, nor was the bombing of Dresden. Nor was a lot of other things that happened during WW2.

It was the right thing to do from the point of view of the Americans of that time. I understand that there was also quite some celebration in the streets where I live when Imperial Japan surrendered unconditionally


April 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarry Ward

Some times when listening to a sermon it `s could be worth to look what the speaker didn’t mention. The quoted blueprint titled “Perpetual Peace” contains two main sections. The first one is about “how to achieve enduring peace among countries” and the second one is about the “republican constitution of states” as a necessary fundament.
Kant critized countries with prepared and willing armies in times of peace and he is also reviewing countries who are colonizing others. It’s obvious that the quotation is supporting Khatami`s message.
But what’s about the imperative of a republican constitution of a country according Kant? Another hot potato is Kant’s distinction between a Republic and Despotism and Kants predictions “How to get a democracy”? According to the cited author sustainable peace requires a representative republican organisation of states as a inevitable condition.

Maybe Khatami didn’t want or he couldn’t talk about a representative constitution. Another possibility could be: While talking about Kant’s ideas about enduring peace it’s a “secret hint” to his listeners having a more carefully look “how to get a republican system" and democracy?

April 20, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergunni

Good and balanced speech. Needs to be more widely publicised.

April 20, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrezvan

appendix #3

Lately at the 12 of june last year the last remaining odds of a "representive republic" in iran were gone - murded and raped by the Regime. Using Kants words you could determine the current regime as "Depotism".

And Kant says: With this kind of a "horrible dictatorship" enduring freedom isn`t possible.

April 20, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergunni

Sorry - more accurate is " enduring peace"

April 20, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergunni


Is this the same Barry from Down Under? I agree with you and despite my obvious bad grammar/spelling it was a point implied not directly presented. The reality remains at that point in time it was the right decision. However I will stress war, dropping bombs, or letting off Nukes is never right!! God I am confusing myself now!!! Oh the paradox of life!! Simply put it was the practical decision to drop it that was right but not the moral one.


April 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBill

Good to know our secular and atheist fellow homo sapiens by the name of Bill and Barry hold the opinion that genocide and mass murder are perfectly acceptable when practicalities dictate it is the right decision though immoral. How easy it is to condemn the sins of others and to justify one's own. I suppose therefore they would agree with the various decisions of US administrations from the Vietnam war, the suppression of the Black civil rights movement, the various aggressive wars in South America and the Middle East. The sanctions against Iraq which according to a UNICEF report was responsible for the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children, which the US representative at the UN at the time, Madeline Albright, called as necessary 'collateral damage' and of course the daily civilian deaths in Afghanistan and so on ...... These were 'practical' decisions which were right at the time.

Of course, if the Iranian administration detains a few malcontents for seeking to destabilise the country and provoke a civil conflict then they all hell is let loose. They get onto the top of the list of the worst human rights abusers in the world as if Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, all good friends of the US, did not exist.

Do us all a favour, do occassionally hold up a mirror to yourselves and you might find it is not as pretty a face as you think!

April 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrezvan


No need to read the comment above – always the same bullshit since 10 months – its even possible to predict today with 100% security what all the Mahmouds, Rezvans and Samuels are trying to say tomorrow.
They will continue to say that murder, rape, torture, beatings, solitary confinement and heavy censorship on all channels are sufficient means to fight enlightment, democracy and a representative republican system of a state.

No need also to say that they will bitterly fail – and - Rezvan - your judge is waiting for you – please be prepared for the question what you have done in the last 31 years – it should be better for you to write it down now.

Last point – Mahmoud, Rezvan and Samuel – its forbidden for you – I know it – but do me the favour and read online newspapers from other countries, too. Some days ago an article about Islam was published ina contry far away from Teheran – and Rezvan – the newspaper got more than 540 responses on 67 big pages in just only 3 days!

No need to read them all the comments –Rezvan- just some – and you can easily see that all the Mahmouds, Rezvans and Samuels together with their bloody torturers had really strong and heavily damaged the world religion Islam.

Thank you for this kind present – with your answers – even if they are always the same - in just some months you can put your special form of Islam into the garbage ton of history. Congratulation rezvan – keep on writing for enlightment!

April 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergunni


Actually all the countries you named are at the top of the list when it comes to human rights abuse reports coming out of the US. In fact most find their way onto most of the worlds as well. On WWII and the Nukes please go read your history on it and find out who we were fighting before passing Judgement. While your at why not do some history on the great conquerors of Islams find out how many tens of millions they killed and enslaved in their efforts to expand Dar Al Islam then get back to me(The Arab invasion of Persia was especially bloody considering back then Zoroastrians weren't people of the book and they either were made slaves or given the chance to convert or die.) On genocide you might also want to ask the OIC how in the world they can deny genocide in Darfur after 2 million have died since the 90's? When the west dared bring it up your great nation speaking for the OIC said "this is an attack on Islam." We in the West realize the Iraq war was evil but when is the Islamic world ever going to clean up its own messes instead of playing the perpetual victim? Sadly it will be the old Edward Said arguement ad naseum harping on the "evil Jooos" controlling the world(all 13 million of them), colonialism, western imperialism, and the west is stealing all the resources of the Middle East right?

April 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBill

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