Ex-Prime Minister Hatoyama Used by Iranian Propagandists?
Former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama recently returned from a trip to the Islamic Republic of Iran where he met with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad used the meeting to issue new denials of an Iranian nuclear weapons program, and the Iranian media reported that Hatoyama agreed with the president:
“International trust-building and respecting regulations are important issues for the world community,” he said, according to a statement issued by Ahmadinejad’s office.
“They should be seriously pursued given the double standards by the IAEA towards some nations, including Iran, which is not fair.”
Hatoyama late Monday denied making the comments and said Tehran had “completely fabricated” them, Kyodo news agency reported.
“I have made no comments that deviate from the stance of the Japanese government,” Kyodo quoted him as saying on his return to Tokyo.
Hatoyama was warned beforehand about visiting Iran, but he shrugged off the warnings. Now everyone has a chance to make “I told you so” statements:
Both the Japanese government and the opposition parties told Hatoyama not to go to Iran because they were concerned Iran would only use the meeting to spread official propaganda justifying its nuclear development program.
“We knew (Iran) would definitely take advantage of the meeting. It happened just as we expected,” said Toshimitu Motegi, policy affairs chief of the conservative Liberal Democratic Party, the main opposition force.
“Hatoyama is responsible for the problem, but the government and the (ruling) Democratic Party of Japan are partly responsible, too, because they failed to stop” Hatoyama from going, Motegi said.
“I told him that I would like him to be thoroughly aware that he is a former prime minister,” Gemba told reporters, suggesting he is concerned that Hatoyama’s trip to Iran may have resulted in dual diplomacy differing from the policies of the current government.
Despite the government’s repeated calls not to visit Iran at a sensitive time, Hatoyama still pushed ahead with his Iran trip, saying he wanted to “personally” make efforts toward a peaceful resolution of the current standoff over Tehran’s nuclear program.
It looks like “Loopy” Hatoyama won’t be winning a Nobel Peace Prize any time soon….