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Posted by on May 8, 2006 in At TMV | 1 comment

Iran’s President Ahmadinejad Writes Letter To U.S. President Bush

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has steadfastly refused to halt his nation’s nuclear development program, repeatedly said Israel is on borrowed time, and essentially dared the United States to try and use military action, has written President George Bush a letter.

The letter’s contents have not yet been released. The unanswered question is whether it contains serious proposals to pull both countries back from the brink of the ongoing escalation or it more of a p.r. move — a letter that is actually more “in-your-face” rhetoric that will in the end only increase tensions. Bloomberg offers these details:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who said last month his country had produced nuclear fuel, has written a letter to U.S. President George W. Bush proposing new ways to ease tensions between the two countries.

“In this letter, while analyzing the world situation and pinpointing sources of problems, he has introduced new ways for getting out of the current, fragile international situation,” government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham said, according to the state-run Fars News agency. The spokesman didn’t say whether the letter addresses Iran’s nuclear program.

Members of Iran’s parliament announced that they will push for withdrawal from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty if the country’s “rights” under the accord are not respected. The U.S. suspects that Iran plans to use its nuclear program to build a bomb, while Iran claims it is exercising its right under the United Nations treaty to use nuclear power for electricity. The accord, which came into force in 1970, has 187 signatories.

The AP:

Iran’s leader has written to President Bush proposing “new solutions” to their differences in the first letter from an Iranian head of state to an American president in 27 years, a government spokesman said Monday.

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki delivered the letter to the Swiss ambassador on Monday, ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told The Associated Press. The Swiss Embassy in Tehran houses a U.S. interests section.

In the letter, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proposes “new solutions for getting out of international problems and the current fragile situation of the world,” spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham told a news conference.

Elham declined to reveal more, stressing “it is not an open letter.” Asked whether the letter could lead to direct U.S.-Iranian negotiations, he replied: “For the time being, it’s just a letter.”

As far as the letter being some attempt to defuse the situation, various analysts say: don’t hold your breath:

Analysts thought there was little chance that Ahmadinejad would suggest that Iran could stop making nuclear fuel, the move which the United Nations has demanded and that Western diplomats see as the only way to defuse the atomic crisis.

On the contrary, they said Ahmadinejad was most likely to address the United States from a position of strength. After announcing that it had enriched uranium, Iran has increasingly styled itself as a regional heavyweight.

“It is a sort of announcement or approach from a position of power, that Iran is a global power to be reckoned with,” Tehran-based political analyst Mahmoud Alinejad said.

Ali Ansari, a specialist in Iran at Scotland’s St Andrew’s University, said the letter could be Ahmadinejad’s attempt to follow in the footsteps of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

“I suspect he may be trying to emulate Khomeini’s letter to (Mikhail) Gorbachev. He gave him a lesson in international politics and told him if he carried on the Soviet Union would collapse… (Khomeini) told him to embrace Islam,” he said.

Still, there were hopes that the letter was going to be more akin to throwing a match into an oil well: news of the letter led to oil falling $1.

A timeline on U.S.-Iran ties is here.