Iranian president urges US citizens to stop gov't's "blind support" of Israel.
By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
In an open letter, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad urged the American people Wednesday to demand the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and reject what he called the US government's "blind support" for Israel and its "illegal and immoral" actions in fighting terrorism.
The letter to "Noble Americans," distributed by Iran's UN Mission, denounced President George W. Bush's policies in the Middle East and US 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 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," 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. The US is leading the drive to impose UN 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 US 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 Holocaust as a myth. He also strongly supports the Palestinian militant group Hamas and the Lebanese faction Hezbollah, which the US State Department lists as terrorist organizations.
In Wednesday's letter, he said, "we, like you, are aggrieved by the ever-worsening pain and misery of the Palestinian people" and accused the Bush administration of disregarding public opinion by remaining "in the forefront of supporting the trampling of the rights of the Palestinian people."
"What has blind support for the Zionists by the US administration brought for the American people?" Ahmadinejad asked. "It is regrettable that for the US administration, the interests of these occupiers supersedes the interests of the American people and of the other nations of the world."
He urged Americans to support the right of the Palestinians to live in their own homeland.
Twice this year, Iran has proposed talks with the United States over Iraq, but Ahmadinejad has said that for such negotiations to take place, Washington must change its behavior. On Sunday, he said Iran was ready to help the United States get out of the "Iraqi quagmire if the US changes its bullying policy toward Iran."
Ahmadinejad said in Wednesday's letter that the US invasion of Iraq, while overthrowing Saddam Hussein which people "are happy about," has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, an exponential growth of terrorism, and no rebuilding of Iraq's ruined infrastructure.
"I consider it extremely unlikely that you, the American people, consent to the billions of dollars of annual expenditure from your treasury for this military misadventure," he said.
"Now that Iraq has a constitution and an independent assembly and government, would it not be more beneficial to bring the US officers and soldiers home, and to spend the astronomical US military expenditures in Iraq for the welfare and prosperity of the American people?" Ahmadinejad asked. "As you know very well, many victims of Katrina continue to suffer, and countless Americans continue to live in poverty and homelessness."
Iran and the United States have had no diplomatic relations since 1979 when, after the revolution, militants seized the US Embassy in Teheran and kept 52 people hostage for 444 days.
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