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Iran President Writes to American People

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By EDITH M. LEDERER
The Associated Press
Wednesday, November 29, 2006; 1:41 PM

UNITED NATIONS -- In an open letter, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad urged the American people Wednesday to demand the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and reject what he called the U.S. government's "blind support" for Israel and its "illegal and immoral" actions in fighting terrorism.

The letter to "Noble Americans," distributed by Iran's U.N. Mission, denounced President George W. Bush's policies in the Middle East and U.S. practices in the "war on terror." He appealed to the American people to work to reverse them and called on the Bush administration and the new Democratic-controlled Congress to heed the results of the recent midterm elections.

"Undoubtedly, the American people are not satisfied with this behavior and they showed their discontent in the recent elections," Ahmadinejad wrote. "I hope that in the wake of the mid-term elections, the administration of President Bush will have heard and will heed the message of the American people."

In a message to Democrats, he said, "you will also be held to account by the people and by history."

"If the U.S. government meets the current domestic and external challenges with an approach based on truth and justice, it can remedy some of the past afflictions and alleviate some of the global resentment and hatred of America," Ahmadinejad said.

"But if the approach remains the same, it would not be unexpected that the American people would similarly reject the new electoral winners, although the recent elections, rather than reflecting a victory, in reality point to the failure of the current administration's policies," he warned.

Ahmadinejad wrote a rambling, 18-page letter to Bush in May, which Washington criticized for not addressing Iran's nuclear program _ where the U.S. is leading the drive to impose U.N. sanctions on Tehran for its refusal to stop enriching uranium.

Wednesday's letter made no mention of Iran's nuclear program.

Iranians in the street were disappointed by the cold response to the May letter because, while it did not make clear proposals, it was the first official communication between the two countries' presidents since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

Earlier this month, Ahmadinejad said he was planning to write a letter to Americans.

In Wednesday's letter, he focused on past good relations between the U.S. and Iran and between their peoples who are both "inclined towards the good, and toward extending a helping hand to one another, particularly to those in need," and who deplore "injustice, the trampling of peoples' rights and the intimidation and humiliation of human beings."

Ahmadinejad has alienated many Americans by calling for Israel's destruction and repeatedly dismissing the Nazi Holocaust as a myth. He also strongly supports the Palestinian militant group Hamas and the Lebanese faction Hezbollah, which the U.S. State Department lists as terrorist organizations.


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© 2006 The Associated Press

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