Iran Letter to Bush Criticizes U.S.

The Associated Press
Tuesday, May 9, 2006; 2:55 AM

NEW YORK -- Iran's president declared in a letter to President Bush that liberalism and democracy had failed, and criticized the United States over a host of issues ranging from the invasion of Iraq to its support for Israel.

The letter from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the first formal communication between leaders of the two nations in 27 years. It made only an oblique reference to Iran's intentions concerning its disputed nuclear program, asking why "any technological and scientific achievement reached in the Middle East region is translated into and portrayed as a threat to the Zionist regime."

Otherwise, the letter lambasted Bush for his handling of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, accused the media of spreading lies about the Iraq war, and said that people around the world are moving closer to faith in God.

"Liberalism and western style democracy have not been able to help realize the ideals of humanity," said the letter, obtained by The Associated Press. "Today these two concepts have failed. Those with insight can already hear the sounds of the shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the Liberal democratic systems."

Even though the letter hardly touched on nuclear issues, officials said it appeared timed with a push by the United States and its European allies for a U.N. Security Council vote to restrain Tehran's nuclear ambitions. Both China and Russia are opposed to leveling sanctions against Iran and the letter could provide them support.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice dismissed the letter Monday and said it failed to resolve the dispute over the Iranian nuclear program _ the focus of intense Security Council debate this week.

"This letter is not the place that one would find an opening to engage on the nuclear issue or anything of the sort," Rice said in an interview with The Associated Press. "It isn't addressing the issues that we're dealing with in a concrete way."

In the letter, Ahmadinejad instead criticizes the United States for the invasion of Iraq and its support of Israel. It says that people around the world have lost faith in international institutions and questions whether the Bush administration has covered up some evidence surrounding the Sept. 11 attacks.

Ahmadinejad also suggests that Bush should look inward, saying there was an increasing hatred worldwide of the United States, and that history shows how "repressive and cruel governments do not survive."

"How much longer will the blood of the innocent men, women and children be spilled on the streets, and people's houses destroyed over their heads? Are you pleased with the current condition of the world? Do you think present policies can continue?"

© 2006 The Associated Press