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Ahmadinejad and Bush: One Hand Clapping PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Wednesday, 29 November 2006 09:54
Ahmadinejad and Bush: One Hand Clapping

- Kaveh Afrasiabi - Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has written an open letter to the American people urging them "to promote and protect freedom and human dignity and integrity," stating that "we have common concerns, face similar challenges." His latest letter coincides with the Bush administration's new diplomatic offensive in the Middle East, and at a time when former Secretary of State James Baker is about to issue a report that many speculate will advise the U.S. president to open up direct talks with Iran and Syria.


In an open letter to the American people, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, severely criticizes and praises the American people. His sharp criticism concerning Israel and Iraq is not new, but couched in more positive terms of shared human values and concerns. What could happen if George Bush were to respond in kind?

Ahamdinejad's Message to America

Kaveh Afrasiabi

Agence Global
November 29, 2006

Copyright ?2006 Kaveh Afrasiabi / Agence Global
[Republished at PEJ NEws with AG permission]

The Iranian president's letter focuses chiefly on the conflicts in Iraq and Palestine, writing in his familiar style of posing pointed questions:

"But, can terrorism be contained and eradicated through war, destruction and the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocents? If that were possible, then why has the problem not been resolved?"
Addressed to "Noble Americans," the letter is highly critical of both Israel and the United States for "remaining in the forefront of supporting the trampling of the rights of Palestinian people." Ahmadinejad presses for the creation of a Palestinian state and the right of return for exiled Palestinians.

On the Iraq war, Ahmadinejad acknowledges that "people are happy about [Saddam Hussein's] departure" and then goes on to blame the occupation forces for much of the pain and suffering that has followed the 2003 invasion.

"Let?s take a look at Iraq. Since the commencement of the U.S. military presence in Iraq, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed, maimed or displaced. Terrorism in Iraq has grown exponentially. With the presence of the U.S. military in Iraq, nothing has been done to rebuild the ruins, to restore the infrastructure or to alleviate poverty."

This is followed by a blistering criticism of U.S. kidnappings and mistreatment of prisoners.
Criticisms of the U.S. war on Iraq are tempered by the admission that "Iraq has a Constitution and an independent Assembly and Government..." and Ahmadinjed follows with: "Would it not be more beneficial to bring the U.S. officers and soldiers home, and to spend the astronomical U.S. military expenditures in Iraq for the welfare and prosperity of the American people?"

Turning his attention to the "winners" in the recent U.S. elections, Ahmadinejad exhorts them to chart a new approach in U.S. foreign policy, so that

"it can remedy some of the past afflictions and alleviate some of the global resentment and hatred of America. 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."

Implicit in Ahmadinejad's letter is a call for a timetable for U.S. troop pullout, which, if put on the table in a multilateral forum attended by the United States, Iran, and Syria, among others, would not only give legitimacy to the Iranians for engaging in direct dialogue with the "Great Satan," it could also serve as an entry point to tackle the intervening issues regarding (regional) security.

Iranians pride themselves as political realists and it did not escape them that the visiting Iraqi President, Jalal Talebani, did not echo their sentiment for immediate U.S. withdrawal. In fact, in his September 2006 interview with the Washington Post, President Talebani, emphasized the need for continued stay of U.S. forces to ensure Iraq's stability. Clearly, a sine qua non for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq is the guarantee that the country does not turn into a theater of power competition between the United States and Iran. Indeed, Iraq's growing insecurity is a common concern for both countries, requiring a genuine, two-way, dialogue that would make transparent the short and long-term intentions and motives of both Tehran and Washington vis-a-vis Iraq and beyond. Otherwise, the risks of a twin war, run high, i.e., a civil war and an insurgency war 'of liberation'.

Last May, Ahmadinejad wrote an 18-page letter to President Bush that was dismissed as a public relations ploy undeserving a White House response. This one will also be shrugged off by an administration determined to avoid diplomacy in favor of threats.

But wouldn't it be interesting if President Bush wrote a response to the Iranian people that answered Mr. Ahmadinejad in some fashion? The typical and simplistic Bush rhetoric would be unhelpful. But one could envision a statesmanlike retort, admitting the need for fresh ideas to solve the problems of the Middle East, the problems of Iraq, and of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian crisis. He could also make a statement about the Iranian people, the country's pursuit of nuclear power, and the anxiety the world felt if that nuclear development turned toward military uses.

It would be a pleasant surprise at this juncture in world affairs if Bush were to provide some sort of diplomatic rejoinder. Then hope for the best in what happens next.

Kevah Afrasiabi is a political scientist and author of Iran's Nuclear Program: Debating Facts vs. Fiction.

Copyright ?2006 Kaveh Afrasiabi / Agence Global


 Released: 30 November 2006
Word Count: 810



Advisory Release: 30 November 2006
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Agence Global is the exclusive syndication agency for The Nation, The American Prospect, Le Monde diplomatique, as well as expert commentary by Richard Bulliet, Mark Hertsgaard, Rami G. Khouri, Tom Porteous, Patrick Seale and Immanuel Wallerstein

[Iranian President Ahmadinejad's letter to the American people

By Mahmoud Ahmadinejad President of the Islamic Republic of Iran

If the US 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.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 November 2006 09:54

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