UNITED NATIONS — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a letter to the American people on Wednesday, accused their government of “coercion, force and injustice” and urged the United States to pull out of Iraq.
Ahmadinejad’s five-page letter also called on Washington to recognize a Palestinian state and cautioned the Democratic Party that, after gaining control of the U.S. Congress, they would be “held to account by the people and by history.”
The letter was given to the press by Iran’s Mission to the United Nations.
The Iranian leader, who wrote an 18-page letter to President Bush in May that Bush never responded to, said he was now writing to the American people in friendship because Iran and the United States shared a responsibility “to promote and protect freedom and human dignity and integrity.”
“Governments are there to serve their own people. No people wants to side with or support any oppressors. But regrettably, the U.S. administration disregards even its own public opinion and remains in the forefront of supporting the trampling of the rights of the Palestinian people,” he said.
U.S. can govern with justice, Iranian leader writes
“It is possible to govern based on an approach that is distinctly different from one of coercion, force and injustice,” Ahmadinejad said.
On Iraq, he said that with a constitution and government now in place, “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?”
“As you know very well, many victims of Katrina continue to suffer, and countless Americans continue to live in poverty and homelessness,” he said.
Average Iranians were disappointed by the cold response to the May letter, 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.
“Many American people asked me to talk to them in order to explain the views of the Iranian people,” Ahmadinejad told reporters, referring to his visit to New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly session in September 2005.
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 U.S. State Department lists as terrorist organizations.
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 U.S. changes its bullying policy toward Iran.”
Iran and the United States have had no diplomatic relations since 1979 when, after the Islamic revolution, militants seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and kept 52 people hostage for 444 days.
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.