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Prince Charles meets President Khatami, welcomes Iran's views on democracy


Britain's Prince Charles said in Tehran on Monday that Iran's views on promotion of democracy were pleasing as he met President Mohammad Khatami in the first visit of a British royal to the Islamic Republic since 1979, IRNA reported.

photo: ISNA

The heir to the British throne also praised Khatami for his scientific personality and his philosophical outlook, including his idea of 'dialogue among civilizations', which Prince Charles described a necessity of the present world.

Prince Charles said there has always been a danger of a misunderstanding between Islam and the West and demanded that an international council be formed to explore common grounds.

photo: ISNA

Khatami hailed Britain's experience with democracy which was heralded by its prominent empiricist philosopher and social thinker John Locke (1632-1704).

"Democracy is a necessity for all countries and the global community. However, democracy in every country is not enough; rather a democratic world must emerge, in which nations are provided with equal rights," he said.

"Democracy is a process which cannot be established by writing directives or imposition from outside. It must rather emerge from within the societies and become a culture, which requires tolerance among individuals," Khatami added.

He cited promotion of civil society inside Iran and 'dialogue among civilizations' at the international scene among campaigns of his government.

"Changing the violence-ridden world to a humanitarian globe requires application of wisdom and dialogue instead of violence and force.

"In our views, the world needs a religious ideology and behavior. However, our religious views must be modernized constantly according to the exigencies of time," Khatami said. In a world, where relations take shape on the basis of force and violence, wars and terrorism will become rife like the 20th century, which he said, was also marked by injustice, poverty and aggression.

"The world and politics must be looked at from the vantage point of morality in order to save the mankind from the grave sufferings which it witnessed in the last century as a result of world wars and genocides," Khatami said.

photo: ISNA

He described ties between Tehran and London as 'suitable' and said, "We are trying to turn misunderstandings to understanding and better cooperation through wisdom and dialogue, the best example of which is Iran's constructive cooperation with countries on the peaceful use of the nuclear technology."

That came when the foreign ministers of Germany, Britain and France visited the Islamic Republic last October, which led to the signing of the 'Tehran Declaration'.

Khatami said, "Iran is committed to the Tehran Declaration and wants its European friends that they also remain committed to this declaration."

Prince Charles described as 'satisfying' Iran's signing of the Additional Protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which allows an unfettered inspection of the country's nuclear facilities by UN representatives.

Touching on the Iraq issue, Khatami denounced the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's record in power, including his war of 1980-1988 against Iran as well as the US-led coalition's handling of the Iraq crisis.

"Establishing stability in Iraq will be possible only through holding elections under the supervision of the United Nations and transfer of power to people from the occupying powers as well as helping with the construction of that country," he said.

Prince Charles arrived in Tehran Sunday evening on a humanitarian mission to visit the southeastern city of Bam, which lost more than 42,000 of its residents in an earthquake which hit the ancient city on December 26.

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