Democracy is not a one-size-fits-all proposition, Iran's former president said Wednesday, criticizing US President George W. Bush's attempt to impose Western-style government on the Middle East.
After facing more than 100 protesters as he arrived in central London to speak at Chatham House, an independent think tank, Mohammad Khatami took questions from a specially selected group.
"One of the greatest jokes Mr. Bush makes is when he says he wants to export democracy. Democracy is not something to get exported or be given," Khatami said. "The seed was cultivated in the West, but the seed shall be cultivated in the East, in Islam, in a different way because the conditions are different."
"Historically, human affairs depend on social conditions and experiences. The experience of one country, one nation, cannot be extended to another geographic area with a different culture and conditions," Khatami said, speaking through an interpreter.