The VIP guests of President Khatami also took part in the second day of deliberations and many of them spoke on issues pertaining to security and peace in today's world. Mary Robinson pointed to the issue of the Islamic covering and why this matter was obligatory for even non Muslim women in Iran. One of the clergy who is a university scholar as well explained that according to Islamic sharia nonMuslim women are not obliged to wear a headscarf but that in Iran the covering has become a social regulation. I also explained that the issue is in part a faith issue and in part a social regulation. For Muslim women, the Hijab provides a sense of identity and it has become a symbol of resistance in face of the capitalist campaign to commodify women. Mrs. Robinson responded by saying that she understood the identity issue and was also concerned about the commodification of women but that she could not go along with the obligatory approach on this matter.
The roots and causes for violence and radicalism in today's world were discussed. Poverty , despair, injustices and the role of double standards in international affairs were mentioned by practically all participants. To create confidence among nations many of those trends need to be reversed.
I have written in my Farsi blog how satisfied and contented the guests were following their meeting with the Supreme Leader . The American Bishop Chane and Prime Minister Bondevik expressed their gratitude for what they described to be a very informative and lively dialogue . They were surprised at his knowledge on contemporary and international issues.
The guests also visited Yazd on the third day. They had some time to visit the historical sites of Yazd which are very beautiful.