I won’t give Pat Buchanan a pass for the dirty tricks and baloney he’s served up on his watch, but on Iran he’s got more sense than most:

“It would be an obscenity, we are told, if Ahmadinejad were allowed to place a wreath at Ground Zero. This is a public-relations stunt that should never be permitted.

“That the Iranian president has PR in mind is undoubtedly true. Much of what national leaders do is symbolic. But that wreath-laying would have said something else, as well.

“It would have said that, to Iran, these Americans were victims who deserve to be honored and mourned and, by extension, the men who killed them were murderers. Bin Laden celebrates 9/11. So do all America-haters. By laying a wreath at Ground Zero, the president of Iran would be saying that in the war between al-Qaeda and the United States, he and his country side with the United States.

“How would we have been hurt by letting him send this message?”

Read the whole thing. Buchanan enumerates the far greater criminals and far more dangerous leaders — Mao and Khrushchev, for two — who Republican presidents have welcomed and dealt with in the recent past. Ahmadinejad isn’t in their league.

“America and Iran have great differences, but also common interests. Among the latter, no Taliban in Kabul, no restoration of a Sunni Ba’athist dictatorship in Baghdad, and support for the present governments. Iran cannot want a Sunni-Shia war in the region, which would make her an enemy of most Arabs, and she cannot want a major war with America, which could lead to the destruction and breakup of the nation where only half the people are Persians.

“That is plenty to build a cold peace on, if the hysterics do not stampede us into another unnecessary war.”