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Ahmadinejad's letter to Bush: Worse than we could imagine

05/10/2006

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's announcement that he was sending a letter to President George Bush excited great optimism about the possibility of opening direct channels of communication between Washington and Tehran. These would, it was thought, clear up the minor and silly misunderstandings that have beclouded US-Iran relations and defuse the crisis over Iran's nuclear program.

Instead, Ahmadinejad's letter reveals that the situation may be far worse than most people in the West expected. It is an extraordinary document in every respect. It is a sermon rather than a diplomatic missive. Even more worrisome, the letter is not just the work of one man. The Iranian foreign ministry billed the letter as "proposing new solutions for getting out of international problems and current fragile situation of the world"".

The "new solutions" offered by Ahmadinejad are these:


Liberalism and Western-style democracy have not been able to help realize the ideals of humanity. Today these two concepts have failed. Those with insight can already hear the sounds of the shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the Liberal democratic systems.

We increasingly see that people around the world are flocking towards a main focal point -- that is the Almighty God. Undoubtedly through faith in God and the teachings of the prophets, the people will conquer their problems. My question for you is: "Do you not want to join them?"

Mr. President,

Whether we like it or not, the world is gravitating toward faith in the Almighty, and justice and the will of God will prevail over all things.


"Repent O sinner and return to the true faith," quoth he. That is the "new solution" offered by the Iranian government. It is the sort of letter that an early caliph might send to the ruler of a city he was besieging. On the face of it, the "war of civilizations" has probably not been declared so explicitly in international correspondence for the past several hundred years: abandon democracy and join the religious revival. It is is loathsome to friends of freedom and decency to state that democracy is incompatible with human welfare. In doing so, Ahmadinejad has again raised the dreaded banners of twentieth century totalitarian movements, of which Islamism is undoubtedly the latest. Anyone who had delusions regarding democratic evolution of Iranian Islamism should be disabused of those notions.

Bush administration officials, and Bush himself were wise and merciful in dismissing the letter in vague diplomatic terms, and calling for a diplomatic solution.

In the most optimistic interpretation, the letter is a ploy for internal consumption in Iran. Taken literally, it is at least a dangerous and naive expression of a fanatic personality with no experience in diplomacy. If it is really indicative of the thought of the Iranian government as a whole, Ahmadinejad's letter is a truly ominous portent.

Ami Isseroff

Click here for text of Ahmadinejad's letter to George Bush

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000457.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

by Moderator @ 12:33 PM CST [Link]

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Replies: 4 comments

"We increasingly see that people around the world are flocking towards a main focal point -- that is the Almighty God. Undoubtedly through faith in God and the teachings of the prophets, the people will conquer their problems. My question for you is: "Do you not want to join them?" Mr. President, whether we like it or not, the world is gravitating toward faith in the Almighty, and justice and the will of God will prevail over all things."

Actually I thought George Bush already believed that. Perhaps Ahmadinejad was trying to communicate with him on his own level.

Posted by Chris @ 05/10/2006 03:54 PM CST

The letter to Mr. Bush was 18 pages long. If all you find is what you commented on, then one assumes the rest of the letter is of value. Playing with words is becoming very popular in the world and Chris may have a point in his comment. The Iranian leader was clear in that he refered to jews, christians and muslims.
If these three peoples were to truly follow the real teachings of their respective religions, we would have a much better world.
Ami, I would like to here more of your opinion about the letter and keep in mind that Israel is and wants to remain a jewish state and a recent poll showed most Israeli's would like to get rid of the arabs.

Posted by Mike Jebara @ 05/13/2006 09:03 PM CST

Is the link to the letter a full translation? It doesn't look like 18 pages. Without rereading the translation it seems to me that the Iraninan president makes 3 points:
1) Bush claims to represent Christian religious ideals which are viewed positively by Ahmadinejad, who uses the phrase Peace Be Upon You, which Muslims use for Muhammad, to refer to Christ. He also uses the phrsae for Moses, which means that he is trying to present a message of unity of monotheistic religions. Maybe he is building up to show that Islam engulfs in it Christianity and Judaism, although he says very litttle about Islam.
2) Then follows a long list of things the US does which are supposedly contrary to said religious ideals.
3) And then the punchline which Ami quoted, religious government is a shared goal of himself and Bush as opposed to secularism. He seems to speak positively even of the idea he attributes to Bush of wanting to unify the world under religion. It seemed that his advisers told him that Bush is religious and he is trying to use it as an opening. It's actually funny. And it does read as a letter by a Chalif to a medieval Pope.

The free peoples are not all religious. ome are secular. If they were to follow the real teachings of their religions than we would be in deep trouble. The Muslims would have tried to conquer the world, the Christians to convert it, and the Jews would have enclosed themselves.

I think a majority pf Israelis (but not all) would be happier if the Arabs were gone. But a majority of Israelis did not ever vote for a party that supports getting rid of the Arabs (in Israel).

The Jewishness of Israel is similar to the Iranianess of Iran and the Arabness of the Arab countries, not their Islamism. Naturaly Israel wants to remain a Jewish state. Most countries want to remain whatever they are. If we are heading for a world without nation-states or nationalism, it is yet too early to tell. There are no real signs of such a process.

Posted by Micha @ 05/14/2006 02:26 AM CST

Is the link to the letter a full translation? It doesn't look like 18 pages. Without rereading the translation it seems to me that the Iraninan president makes 3 points:
1) Bush claims to represent Christian religious ideals which are viewed positively by Ahmadinejad, who uses the phrase Peace Be Upon You, which Muslims use for Muhammad, to refer to Christ. He also uses the phrsae for Moses, which means that he is trying to present a message of unity of monotheistic religions. Maybe he is building up to show that Islam engulfs in it Christianity and Judaism, although he says very litttle about Islam.
2) Then follows a long list of things the US does which are supposedly contrary to said religious ideals.
3) And then the punchline which Ami quoted, religious government is a shared goal of himself and Bush as opposed to secularism. He seems to speak positively even of the idea he attributes to Bush of wanting to unify the world under religion. It seemed that his advisers told him that Bush is religious and he is trying to use it as an opening. It's actually funny. And it does read as a letter by a Chalif to a medieval Pope.

The free peoples are not all religious. ome are secular. If they were to follow the real teachings of their religions than we would be in deep trouble. The Muslims would have tried to conquer the world, the Christians to convert it, and the Jews would have enclosed themselves.

I think a majority pf Israelis (but not all) would be happier if the Arabs were gone. But a majority of Israelis did not ever vote for a party that supports getting rid of the Arabs (in Israel).

The Jewishness of Israel is similar to the Iranianess of Iran and the Arabness of the Arab countries, not their Islamism. Naturaly Israel wants to remain a Jewish state. Most countries want to remain whatever they are. If we are heading for a world without nation-states or nationalism, it is yet too early to tell. There are no real signs of such a process.

Posted by Micha @ 05/14/2006 02:27 AM CST


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