A BUMP IN THE ROAD TO WAR
The Bush administration, in a clear diplomatic signal, granted a last minute visa to former Iranian president Mohammed Khatami
to attend not only a session of the UN, but the conference of the Islamic Society of North America in Chicago, where he delivered the keynote address ( conveniently, the Undersecretary of Defense was also in town). Khatami has also been invited to speak at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. and at Harvard University.
This was a win-win diplomatic move by the Bush administration. At one stroke, the opportunity for quiet, frank, unofficial but very high level dialogue was created; Khatami was given prominent public forums to insulate himself from hardline criticism at home when he returns with American messages; Some wind is taken out of Ahmadinejad's sails by the deference shown to his predecessor; Critics of the Bush administration at home and in Europe are also disarmed by the gesture which doesn't fit their political script, strengthening the U.S. position before the UNSC has to discuss sanctioning Iran for illegal nuclear activities.
Not sure who engineered this move, but they deserve a pat on the back.