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Monday, May 08, 2006

Dear Mr. President

Oooooh, look who is passing a secret note to Dear Leader:
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has written a letter to President Bush with suggestions on how to resolve current international tensions, Iranian officials said today, but there was no immediate information about whether he was proposing a solution to differences over Iran's nuclear program.

Officials in Iran would not disclose the contents of the letter, which was being forwarded to Washington through the Swiss embassy, which represents American interests in Iran. White House aides said it had not arrived by early afternoon.
According to the NY Times, and you know they probably asked at least two or three people, this is "believed to be the first direct public communication sent by an Iranian president to an American president since ties between the nations were severed after the American Embassy in Tehran was seized in 1979."

Iran says that the letter's contents will be made public once the White House has received and read its copy. The contents perhaps reference the British and French draft Security Council resolution from last week that would require Iran to give up its nuclear program -- or else the Security Council might be forced to pass a second resolution.

Meanwhile, the Council on Foreign Relations has recently released a Summary of its April 5, 2006, "Symposium on Iran’s Nuclear Program." The experts generally agreed that the U.S. and Iran need a direct dialogue.

Hey, someone in power finally listened to this advice!

Most panelists apparently "dismissed" Iran's claim that the nuclear program is solely for civilian purposes and "there was widespread agreement" that preventive strikes do not mean limited conflict. If the US (or Israel?) attempted to attack Iran's nuclear program, expect Iranian retaliation and military escalation.

I think we should all hope that President Ahmadinejad has written a hell of a note. The Times story, incidentally, says that the Iranian Prez sent notes to other national leaders as well.
"Ahmadinejad, in his letter, spoke of the current tense situation in the world and suggested ways of solving problems and of easing tensions," said an Iranian government spokesman, Gholamhossein Elham, at a news briefing today that was carried by the Iranian news agency Irna. He also said that the Iranian president had sent letters to other leaders of "certain countries."
World leaders: if you didn't hear from Mahmoud, maybe someone else will write with news.

Updates: Scott Peterson has an excellent article in the May 9, 2006, Christian Science Monitor reviewing Iran's nuclear program: "Iran's nuclear gambit - the basics."

The Washington Post has an AP story with excerpts from the Iranian letter. Full text here (pdf).

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