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Kennedy And Khatami

by Daniel Drezner

Marcella Bombardieri and Maria Sacchetti have a front-pager in the Boston Globe
The dean of Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government yesterday defended the decision to invite Mohammad Khatami to speak on the eve of Sept. 11, saying the United States needs dialogue with its enemies.

Do we listen to those that we disagree with, and vigorously challenge them, or do we close our ears completely?" said David Ellwood, the Kennedy School's dean, in an interview with the Globe.

Ellwood said he was disappointed in Governor Mitt Romney's refusal to give state protection to the former Iranian president during his visit. The dean said he approved the invitation, first proposed by faculty members when they learned that Khatami would be speaking at the United Nations. He said decisions on whether to invite political figures with troubling records are made on a case-by-case basis....

In deciding to invite Khatami, officials considered that he had been granted a US visa, that he is working with the United Nations, and that he is "sometimes seen as a reformer," Ellwood said.

Sept. 10 was the only time available, the dean said, and emphasized that Khatami would not be allowed to visit unless he were willing to take unscripted questions....

Controversy over Harvard's invitation continued to mount yesterday as a Boston-area Jewish group condemned his visit, and a talk radio host encouraged listeners to lodge complaints.

"As an alum, I'm personally offended," said Nancy K. Kaufman, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, who has a master's degree from the Kennedy School. "We believe in freedom of speech, but I really question the judgment of Harvard giving him a platform."
what Fareed Zakaria has labeled the "10-feet tall" problem