Khatami Calls on Expatriates to Help Iran
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami on Monday urged hundreds of Iranian expatriates living in the United States to embrace their native land and unite to forge a better future for Iran, reported The Associated Press.
With signs of a thaw in US-Iranian relations, Khatami stressed the importance of dialogue and interaction among all Iranians, and asked those inside and outside the country to use their energy to help Iran develop economically.
“Our hearts are beating for the love of one place, and this place is Iran,” Khatami said, as the audience that filled a UN conference room applauded.
The reformist president did not mention a bill submitted to the Iranian parliament Sunday that would grant amnesty to Iranians who fled the country because of anti-government activities or ties to outlawed political parties. But his speech clearly signaled his support for an open door for expatriates, said the AP.
AFP reported on Monday that Iran's parliament will consider a proposal to give amnesty to Iranians who left the country because of the 1979 Islamic revolution, the Tehran press reported Monday.
"All Iranians who left the country after the revolution and who have never returned for fear of being tried for their political or social activities would profit from this measure," the proposed bill says, according to the press.
But the bill makes an exception for those "who have attempted terrorist acts," a clear reference to the People's Mujahadeen, an armed Iranian opposition group based in Iraq.
The proposal, which will be placed on the parliament's agenda in an upcoming session, is sponsored by some 40 members of parliament.
Expressing concern about an Iranian brain drain, the president was quoted by the AP as saying he hopes Iranians across the world will pool their knowledge and scientific skills to create a new advanced civilization.
“Today, we cannot go forward without good technology, science and management,” he said. “The brilliant generation of Iranians that lives inside and outside the country can help us, since they happen to be our new investment,” he said.
Although the Iranian-American response was largely positive, many businessmen at the event said they needed to have the approval of all powers -- including the country's hard-line supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei -- in order to start investing in economic projects in Iran, according to the agency.
Khatami is in New York to attend the UN Millennium Summit of more than 150 world leaders, making only his second visit to the United Nations since his 1997 election. The gathering is being held just before Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez hosts a summit of the oil cartel in late September – (Several Sources)
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