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> Ahmadinejad’s Letter to Bush, Sincere or manipulative?
TedN5
post May 10 2006, 04:07 PM
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HERE is Ahmadinejad’s letter to Bush.

Since the Bush Administration seems bent on pushing us into confrontation and possible war with Iran, we all need to read this correspondence and draw some independent judgment about its author. (Condi Rice has already rejected any followup on the letter even before having it translated). In some ways the letter is an accusation of a list of crimes by the US against Iran similar to those raised by some of us on the left. In other ways it is an indictment of Bush's invasion of Iraq. In still other ways it is a religious appeal from one powerful religious (some would say fanatical) person to another supremely powerful one that professes a strong religious belief.

1. Did the letter change your view of Ahmadinejad?

2. Is the letter a sincere effort to begin a serious dialog with the US?

3. Are the criticisms of the US's past behavior toward Iran largely true or false?

4. Can you see our President writing a similar letter or proposing direct talks with Iran to seek resolution of outstanding issues between the two countries?
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Sevac
post May 10 2006, 04:40 PM
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QUOTE(TedN5 @ May 10 2006, 05:07 PM)
1. Did the letter change your view of Ahmadinejad?

2. Is the letter a sincere effort to begin a serious dialog with the US?

3. Are the criticisms of the US's past behavior toward Iran largely true or false?

4. Can you see our President writing a similar letter or proposing direct talks with Iran to seek resolution of outstanding issues between the two countries?
*



1. The letter provided an insight to the way of thought of its author. Since most people have only heard Ahmadinejads phrases about wiping out Israel and denying the holocaust, it offered some deeper understanding of the reasons behind his statements. He appears to be somewhat less radical in his letter, but I would not go so far that I have a different opinion of Irans President due to this letter. In the end, his action speak for his character.

2. The timing of the letter and the debate in the Security Council is unfortunate if the letter was meant to be sincere. It does seem like a distraction from the issue of Irans nuclear ambitions. However, the fast rebuff BEFORE reading the text of the Western leaders provide Ahmandinejad with a pretext for arguing that the West is not interested in diplomatic negotiations. [I dont know if that was actually done by the US delegation and/or Mrs. Rice, but I have read in my newspapers that a couple of European politicians reacted that way. If that were true, it shows a frightening lack of interest in the resolve of the crisis.]

3. The USA have a number of stains on their history vest. Recently, the administration was able to manage to add quite a few more, however, the US is a democratic country and balancing its foreign policy between idealistic aims and pragmatic self-interest. No country can be totally altruistic.

4. That is the silly part. The US is still not interested in direct negotiations with Iran. I would argue that this should be the point where more pressure could be applied than through the difficult talks about resolutions in the Security Council. These SC talks can also be held if direct negotiations between the US and Iran fail to bring an acceptable solution for both sides. It seems strange to me that the US is not talking with Iran only because of what has happened 30 years ago. "We don't negotiate with terrorists" is a common phrase in US foreign policy, but I doubt it should be applied where so much is at stake, barring a discussion if it could actually be applied to this case.
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smorpheus
post May 10 2006, 07:41 PM
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I'm blown away by this letter. A direct attempt at communication? How can the US turn this down? Are we too good to talk to these people? The arrogance of Condi refusing a reply before it was even translated... Suddenly the US is looking an awful lot like a Hollywood bad guy.

There's so much potential for great leadership, and great diplomacy here, and instead we get big stick waving and arrogance out of all sides of this administration. Truly, Bush's presidency will be viewed historically as a very, very dark time for the US, if his admin can't formulate a decent reply to this very civilized letter. We answer a call for communiation with threats? I know that many aren't going to be on the same page as me on this, but this makes me very very sad, and even ashamed to be an American.

Obviously, I don't agree with a lot, or even most of what he says, but he's presenting his arguments in a calm, peaceful manner. Just because he's on the wrong side of this argument, we refuse to talk to him? These countries are not children. They are a great threat to peace on this Earth, and they cannot be brushed aside, and this is a great oppurtunity to engage with these people and disprove a lot of what is currently beleived about this absurd administration.

Iran is now the most advanced arabic country in the Middle East, if we can't negotiate with them, who can we negotiate with? Is it the long-term NeoCon plan to conquer all of the Middle East?

1. Did the letter change your view of Ahmadinejad?

It puts his positions in context, and shows there's a lot more to this guy then him being a simple villian with evil, anti-semetic intentions.

2. Is the letter a sincere effort to begin a serious dialog with the US?

Does it matter? It's presented as such, and it's the US's responsibility to attempt to engage in the dialogue.

3. Are the criticisms of the US's past behavior toward Iran largely true or false?

Obviously he presents a lot of facts here. Perhaps apologies for some of the more agregious incidents by the US would go a long way? Who knows, we don't have to sacrifice anything for an apology, so why not? It's certainly cheaper than even one bomb.
And if the Iranians turn around and demand imprisonment of past presidents or something, then they look like the insane arrogant ones (as they did over the cartoons.)

4. Can you see our President writing a similar letter or proposing direct talks with Iran to seek resolution of outstanding issues between the two countries?


Bush? Heck no. He's demonstrated a complete unwillingness for diplomacy. This president is not insane, and while it has yet to be seen if he can reason, why not give it a try?

Since the primary argument for Iran about the Nuclear development is that it's the Western World holding them back, why not offer to build them non-nuclear power plants? Offer them free technology or aid? Whatever it is, I can gaurantee it will be significantly cheaper than any sort of war effort, even if it fails.
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TruthMarch
post May 10 2006, 09:21 PM
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Wow I was very impressed with the words in that letter, if it really is from the person we're told it's from. The impressive part is it's moral simplicity equal to the innocence of a child. He wrote against moral duplicity and against hypocrisy. A child would wonder, 'why and I being told to not fight when the ones telling me that are always fighting themselves?'. He nailed it right on the head when he said that WMD were the only pretext for the illegal invasion, and he was morally just when he condemned the high civilian body count the US leaves in its wake. How could that ever be considered evil, irregardless of who is saying it? He admits Hussein was an evil tyrant, who the hell wouldn't, but he also pointed out that it was the US who was supporting the tyrant during its war with Iran. I particularly liked the cloaked reference to the water sources and agriculture being destroyed as it's exactly what Israel does to the Palestinians on a daily basis.
Summary:
*Do not be hypocritical. If you preach peace, act with peace.
*WMD was the motive and it was proven false.
*Hussein was an evil tyrant, but an evil tyrant the United States fully supported with extremely sensitive and highly classified support systems.
*Everyone to get along.
What upsets me is the way the US didn't want to even know what was in that letter before basically tossing it aside along with what Bush called 'that scrap piece of paper'.
http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Condolee...ed_to_0509.html
Keep in mind her words were being said while knowing the translation hadn't even been done yet. That's a striking commentary on the general US public. Rice tells the US public that the Iranian letter had nothing in it...while not knowing what it even says hence the lack of any translation. Good God it's insane! Why doesn't anyone rise up and say "Gee Ms. Rice. How can you tell us what the letter says if you haven't had it translated yet? If you don't read Arabic and haven't seen the translation, that would mean you're not in a position to tell us that the content of the letter was meaningless garbage, wouldn't it?".
Here's another way to look at it:
ADMIN is busy sparring with a Chinese businessman over some chopsticks the ADMIN claim are owed. The Chinese businessman sends a letter, in his own language of course, explaining what exactly happened to those chopsticks. He may feel vindicated. Then, the Chinese businessman wakes up to read about how he's guilty of stealing or losing or breaking those chopsticks. What is that Chinese businessman or any American or any sane human being on earth going to feel and say when they find out the ADMIN didn't even bother to translate and read his letter before publicly telling the ADMIN followers that the Chinese businessman's letter contained nothing which would exonerate or clear or aid him in any way? Let's keep the proper perspective here.

This post has been edited by TruthMarch: May 10 2006, 09:51 PM
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moif
post May 10 2006, 09:31 PM
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QUOTE(Mahmoud)
For some time now I have been thinking, how one can justify the undeniable contradictions that exist in the international arena - which are being constantly debated, specially in political forums and amongst university students
I wonder if Mahmoud surfs ad.gif? If so, then, Mr President, You have got to be joking!


QUOTE(Mahmoud)
Young people, university students and ordinary people have many questions about the phenomenon of Israel.
blink.gif

Phenomenon? He makes Israel sound like a supernatural mystery.

Personally, I'm far more concerned with the phenomenon of Iran where reason seems to have been replaced with religious insanity.


QUOTE(Mahmoud)
After the war they claimed six million Jews had been killed. Six million people that were surely related to two million family's.

Let us assume these events are true.
blink.gif ...assume?

Why? If Mahmoud doesn't believe that the Holocaust took place then why should he want to assume it does?


QUOTE(Mahmoud)
Does that logically translate into the establishment of the state of Israel in the Middle East?
Hell yes!

If the establishment of Turkey on the Anatolian peninsula is an accepted fact of life then so too is Israel. Let Islam give back the lands it stole from the Christians and then we can talk about 'the principles of democracy, human rights and the teachings of prophets' (what ever that means).

The only difference betwen Turkey, Syria, Egypt and Israel is that Israel is the youngest.. unless you count Turkish Cypress. Odd that Mahmoud didn't mention Cypress... I guess he forgot about that tiny little speck of land when his mind was so taken up with the insurmountable phenomenon of Israel.


QUOTE(Mahmoud)
Another big question is why is this regime being supported?
Why indeed?

Why are we supporting the Palestinians? Why does Denmark send financial support to Syria? Why does the USA support Egypt and Saudi Arabia? ...and why doesn't Mahmoud wonder upon that state of affairs?

Why are we in the west obliged to subsidise nations and peoples that act and sponsor terrorism against us?

Why do we support Israel? Because Israel is a free, democratic nation, under seige by hypocritical religious fanatics who double speak about murdering Jews amongst themselves whilst complaining about Islamophobic cartoons and books.


1. Did the letter change your view of Ahmadinejad?

Nope. It confirmed my opinion that he is a simple minded religious fanatic who is being used as a tool by the clerics who actually control Iran.


2. Is the letter a sincere effort to begin a serious dialog with the US?

Not in the least. Its a joke. Its an effort to make Mahmoud look good to the rest of the simple minded religious fanatics.

Whats especially amusing is how much this idiots words mirror whats being said by the socialist left in Europe. His words regarding South America and Africa read like some of the miserable complaints that come from the European left.


3. Are the criticisms of the US's past behavior toward Iran largely true or false?

Of course they are. rolleyes.gif How else is Mahmoud going to gather support from the millions of people who love to hate GW Bush unless he throws them a bone?

The rub is, he's so busy whining about Africa, but neglects to look at what his fellow prophet worshippers have been getting up to in Darfur.

He mentions America detaining people without trial even as his own guys in black shades are putting Ramin Jahanbegloo into hospital for the serious crime of... well actually they haven't bothered to charge him of anything yet. sad.gif

We have a saying in Denmark. Sweep before your own door before you deal with the neighours doorstep.


4. Can you see our President writing a similar letter or proposing direct talks with Iran to seek resolution of outstanding issues between the two countries?

I doubt it. The people who control Bush understand full well what this letter is meant to accomplish and I doubt, seriously if they'll be stupid enough to fall nto the trap of replying.

...and I doubt GW Bush gives a toss.




edited to add a few missing words.

This post has been edited by moif: May 10 2006, 09:35 PM
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TruthMarch
post May 10 2006, 10:02 PM
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QUOTE
Young people, university students and ordinary people have many questions about the phenomenon of Israel.
Phenomenon? He makes Israel sound like a supernatural mystery.

It most certainly is a pehnomenon. What else could it be labelled as? Here you have a people who do dastardly deeds against unarmed populations and yet they gain and maintain the world's support through the clouds of enforced anti-Semitism. They even see laws created which force people to believe what it is they say you must believe. And for such a tiny spot of land on this vast planet. The US firepower they are given only serves to emphasize and further the phenomenon called Israel. Through awe inspiring politically tactical maneuvers, they have made themselves practically invinsible. They go on about evil scary nuclear weapons in the middle east, yet they keep under wraps (and control the information about) the fact that they are the ones with the evil scary nuclear weapons, not Iran. To exercise the amount of control and power they have over this planet and especially particular regions, all the while being (seemingly) an ant surrounded by elephants.
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English Horn
post May 10 2006, 10:05 PM
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QUOTE(moif @ May 10 2006, 04:31 PM)
1. Did the letter change your view of Ahmadinejad?

Nope. It confirmed my opinion that he is a simple minded religious fanatic who is being used as a tool by the clerics who actually control Iran. 



Since you (obviously) consider Iran your enemy, moif, don't misunderestimate your enemy. What good will come of it? This is a first direct attempt at communication in 25 years, sincere or not. This is a real opportunity to engage the enemy on the intellectual level, and that is the best we can offer, name calling and ridicule? Let me tell you a story: back in the 1980s when perestroika just started, Margaret Thatcher visited the Soviet Union with a state visit. At some point she agreed to participate in an interview/debate which was shown on live TV. She was confronted (quite aggressively) with several seasoned soviet journalists, who peppered her with various questions on Britain's position in nuclear disarmament (someting of that sort); her performance was so magnificent that her star opponents looked ridiculous even for soviet audience and her interview was a subject of talks around the country for many weeks to come.

QUOTE
She gave a television interview to three star Soviet commentators and hammered them into the ground with such style that, when I visited Moscow nine months later, her performance was still the subject of pleasurable comment.


She didn't accuse her interviewers with being puppets of the regime; instead she prove her point so well that at the end of the evening there was no doubt who won the debate. This one TV broadcast has done what Reagan with his stupid posturing and "evil empire" statements couldn't do. Reagan antagonized Russians and brought them together; Thatcher won hearts and minds of many.

This post has been edited by English Horn: May 11 2006, 01:11 AM
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Ultimatejoe
post May 10 2006, 11:09 PM
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For what it's worth, Iran is not an Arab country.

QUOTE
1. Did the letter change your view of Ahmadinejad?

2. Is the letter a sincere effort to begin a serious dialog with the US?


No and no. This letter exists for one purpose and one purpose alone, reestablish support within his own country. THis is exactly the sort of joe-everybody tone that Ahmadinejad used to get elected. For someone to write this sort of letter would require either spectacular ignorance about American politics (in which case it can't be taken seriously) or a complete disregard for how it is received in the United States (in which case it can't be taken seriously.)
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Dontreadonme
post May 11 2006, 12:12 AM
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1. Did the letter change your view of Ahmadinejad?
No. Not even a little bit.

2. Is the letter a sincere effort to begin a serious dialog with the US?
Evidently some people are impressed by Ahmadinejad's (or his mullah approved handlers) words, but I don't see this as diplomacy, it is propaganda. The purpose of this letter is for media consumption, with the added bonus of allowing more airtime for Ahmadinejad to question the holocaust and the right of Israel to exist. That certainly plays well to some segments of our society.

QUOTE
There are prisoners in Guantanamo Bay that have not been tried, have no legal representation, their families cannot see them and are obviously kept in a strange land outside their own country. There is no international monitoring of their conditions and fate. No one knows whether they are prisoners, POWs, accused or criminals.

Yet conveniently forgets the prisoners and the executed in his own country, subjected to brutal torture and grisly deaths........

QUOTE
September Eleven was a horrendous incident. The killing of innocents is deplorable and appalling in any part of the world. Our government immediately declared its disgust with the perpetrators and offered its condolences to the bereaved and expressed its sympathies.

Yet has, and continues to support Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad to name a few. We're way beyond pot and kettle already.

QUOTE
In media charters, correct dissemination of information and honest reporting of a story are established tenets. I express my deep regret about the disregard shown by certain Western media for these principles.

In a country that bans satellite dishes and other independent forms of media.

QUOTE
History tells us that repressive and cruel governments do not survive.

Perhaps your days are numbered then?

This letter is nothing more than religious fanaticism and lecturing, with scraps thrown to every conceivable enemy or critic of the US. If some are gullible enough to be taken in by Ahmadinejad's slick prose, more power to them.

This post has been edited by Dontreadonme: May 11 2006, 01:02 AM
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TedN5
post May 11 2006, 02:47 AM
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QUOTE
(English Horn)
This is a first direct attempt at communication in 25 years, sincere or not. This is a real opportunity to engage the enemy on the intellectual level, and that is the best we can offer, name calling and ridicule?


Even though I agree with the trust of statement, I would like to point out that Iran has made several efforts to communicate "about all outstanding security issues between the two countries" over several years. (See Iran Pushes for Talks). It is the US that refuses to engage in any direct talks with Iran either of a bilateral or multilateral nature. They are fearful of being put into a position where they can be "blackmailed." Instead they are trying to force Iran to kowtow to US power and give up its right to enrich Uranium under the NPT without offering anything in return. They did allow the E3 to negotiate and offer economic concessions but these efforts broke down without the involvement of the US and an offer to weaken sanctions and an offer of believable security guarantees to Iran.

The current Iranian government may not be to the liking of Western democratic people but we should all remember that it is a country with thousands of years of history and cultural achievement and is not likely to cave in to threats. We should also remember that most of the list of wrongs suffered by Iran and listed in the letter at the hands of the US are true. In particular, we should remember that our government (at the time respected and trusted by the Iranians), at the urging of the British government, overthrew a liberal democratically elected regime in Iran and installed the brutal Shah. That hardly positions us to be arbiters of regime change in Iran now.

We may all disagree about how evil the current regime in Iran is and about how dangerous it would be to have them armed with nuclear weapons; however, given the consequences to everyone if the US bombs, we all should insist that the administration first negotiates directly with Iran and seek a serious compromise on the issues. The diplomacy the administration has conducted thus far is a sham designed to influence our allies not reach a comprehensive mutually acceptable agreement with Iran.

This post has been edited by TedN5: May 11 2006, 02:56 AM
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Paladin Elspeth
post May 11 2006, 09:44 AM
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Silly Ahmadinejad! To think that he would expect to get a response from G.W. Bush for the letter he wrote! If he were an American, he'd know that Bush doesn't even answer letters from Congressmen. shifty.gif

1. Did the letter change your view of Ahmadinejad?

No, although he did make some good points about the inconsistencies and hypocrisy of Bush's actions in light of his avowed devotion to Christianity.

I just don't think that his Allah (PBUH) should advocate the destruction of a people, even the people of Israel, if he is a good and a just god. Bush is not the only inconsistent leader when it comes to religious values.

2. Is the letter a sincere effort to begin a serious dialog with the US?

I really don't think so. I agree with other posters that it was probably a "Hey, look what I said to Bush" propaganda piece. But it is significant in that he did make an effort to communicate with the President.

3. Are the criticisms of the US's past behavior toward Iran largely true or false?

There needs to be some truth to it for it to have some credibility. The hands of our leaders are not clean and have not been clean in the past.

4. Can you see our President writing a similar letter or proposing direct talks with Iran to seek resolution of outstanding issues between the two countries?

Bush? Write??? laugh.gif w00t.gif laugh.gif I can't see him doing that for someone he likes!

I think this Iranian is off the wall about destroying Israel--that is totally unacceptable. Excepting the trash talk about Israel, though, I think it would be good for Bush to go through channels and tell this leader that if he is serious about addressing other issues, there are other ways to communicate. Totally snubbing the leader of another country is not going to do anybody any good. I don't want to see another invasion go down if diplomacy can prevent it.

This post has been edited by Paladin Elspeth: May 11 2006, 09:53 AM
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loreng59
post May 11 2006, 12:10 PM
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1. Did the letter change your view of Ahmadinejad?
Not one iota. The man is a religious fanatic and has proven to be a deranged lunatic.

2. Is the letter a sincere effort to begin a serious dialog with the US?
Nope, just a propaganda ploy. If he was actually sincere his first step would be to return US territory that has been used as a terrorist training camp for more than 20 years now.

3. Are the criticisms of the US's past behavior toward Iran largely true or false? Totally false. The Iran's religious leadership turned on the United States after President Carter ended the payments to Ayatollah Khomeini before the overthrow of the Shah. If we did one tenth of the deeds that are claimed Iran would not be a theocracy today.

4. Can you see our President writing a similar letter or proposing direct talks with Iran to seek resolution of outstanding issues between the two countries?
Can I see President Bush declaring war on a third country while writing a letter to that nutcase? Heck no. They have done just about everything possible to make that impossible. There is not a single point that start at.

President Ahmadinejad makes President Bush look like a genius in comparison. Frankly that man should not be in public without his keeper.
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moif
post May 11 2006, 01:38 PM
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QUOTE(TruthMarch)
It most certainly is a pehnomenon. What else could it be labelled as? Here you have a people who do dastardly deeds against unarmed populations and yet they gain and maintain the world's support through the clouds of enforced anti-Semitism. They even see laws created which force people to believe what it is they say you must believe. And for such a tiny spot of land on this vast planet. The US firepower they are given only serves to emphasize and further the phenomenon called Israel. Through awe inspiring politically tactical maneuvers, they have made themselves practically invinsible. They go on about evil scary nuclear weapons in the middle east, yet they keep under wraps (and control the information about) the fact that they are the ones with the evil scary nuclear weapons, not Iran. To exercise the amount of control and power they have over this planet and especially particular regions, all the while being (seemingly) an ant surrounded by elephants.
No wonder you were very impressed with the words in Mahmoud's letter. You appear to share the same anti Israel bias.

What else could it be labelled as? How about 'a nation' for that is all Israel is. It is not a 'phenomenon'. It was created in exactly the same way that all the nations of the region were. The only thing that seperates Israel from its neighbours is that the Israeli's have built their nation stronger and better.

As for the level of control and power Israel has over the planet, all I can say to that is, what power? What control? Israel is a nation under seige from all sides and its only power has been to defend itself.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


English Horn

QUOTE(English Horn)
Since you (obviously) consider Iran your enemy, moif, don't misunderestimate your enemy.
laugh.gif

I have no illusions or misconceptions regarding Iran EH. I am well aware of the long game been played by the clerics who run that country.

And I would be so bold as to suggest that the Islamic Republic of Iran is not just my enemy. She is also yours. Whether you wish it or not.

Thanks for the link and info on Margret Thatcher. I was not aware of her performance on Soviet TV.

Unfortunately there is a fundamental flaw in your example. The Soviet Union, though it was a serious threat, was still prepared to use diplomacy to avoid confrontation and this is why people like Thatcher were able to bridge the gap.

Iran does not use diplomacy. On the contrary, it spurns diplomatic means and to all those who think this letter is some sort of diplomatic overture I wish to say: Wake up and understand that open letters regarding religion do not constitute diplomacy, no matter how many points you think the author scores against the USA.
This letter is a ploy designed to make the USA look bad by throwing mud. Nothing more.

Even if you agree with the points being raised, you must not fall into the trap of thinking that because Mahmoud has raised these points, they are some how valid in context of the relationship between Iran and the USA.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

TedN5

QUOTE(TedN5)
Even though I agree with the trust of statement, I would like to point out that Iran has made several efforts to communicate "about all outstanding security issues between the two countries" over several years. (See Iran pushes for talks). It is the US that refuses to engage in any direct talks with Iran either of a bilateral or multilateral nature.


And do you actually wonder why? Allow me to draw your attention to this article:

QUOTE(City Journal)
If you dust off the 1933 Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, Article One reads: “The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: A a permanent population; B a defined territory; C government; and D capacity to enter into relations with the other states.” Iran fails to meet qualification D, and has never accepted it. The signature act of the new regime was not the usual post-coup bloodletting and summary execution of the shah’s mid-ranking officials but the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran by “students” acting with Khomeini’s blessing. Diplomatic missions are recognized as the sovereign territory of that state, and the violation thereof is an act of war. No one in Washington has to fret that Fidel Castro will bomb the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. Even in the event of an actual war, the diplomatic staff of both countries would be allowed to depart.

Yet Iran seized protected persons on U.S. soil and held them prisoner for over a year—ostensibly because Washington was planning to restore the shah. But the shah died and the hostages remained. And, when the deal was eventually done and the hostages were released, the sovereign territory of the United States remained in the hands of the gangster regime. Granted that during the Carter administration the Soviets were gobbling up real estate from Afghanistan to Grenada, it’s significant that in this wretched era the only loss of actual U.S. territory was to the Islamists.

Yet Iran paid no price. They got away with it. For the purposes of comparison, in 1980, when the U.S. hostages in Tehran were in their sixth month of captivity, Iranians opposed to the mullahs seized the Islamic Republic’s embassy in London. After six days of negotiation, Her Majesty’s Government sent SAS commandos into the building and restored it to the control of the regime. In refusing to do the same with the “students” occupying the U.S. embassy, the Islamic Republic was explicitly declaring that it was not as other states.
We expect multilateral human-rights Democrats to be unsatisfactory on assertive nationalism, but if they won’t even stand up for international law, what’s the point? Jimmy Carter should have demanded the same service as Tehran got from the British—the swift resolution of the situation by the host government—and, if none was forthcoming, Washington should have reversed the affront to international order quickly, decisively, and in a sufficiently punitive manner. At hinge moments of history, there are never good and bad options, only bad and much much worse. Our options today are significantly worse because we didn’t take the bad one back then.
Link.

Mahmoud Ahmedadinejad was one of those 'students'.


QUOTE(TedN5)
The current Iranian government may not be to the liking of Western democratic people but we should all remember that it is a country with thousands of years of history and cultural achievement and is not likely to cave in to threats.
This may be a some what pedantic point, but the Islamic Republic of Iran is not the same as 'thousands of years of history'. Iran as it is today is only 27 years old. Iran as a state is only 71 years old. Not even the Islamic bit constitutes 'thousands of years'.

Lets not kid ourselves here. We are not facing some ancient insurmountable power. What we are facing is an ideological tyranny that is only different from communism or national socialism in the details.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is not interested in diplomacy. As its founder declared, and as the logo of the Sepah (The Guardians of the Islamic Revolution) proudly states “Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power”.

Them being the enemies of Allah.

Or in other words, the non Muslim world.

Us.

The Sepah slogan comes from the opening of verse 60, Sura 18 of the Koran and reads like this:

QUOTE(Religion of Peace)
Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know. Whatever ye shall spend in the cause of Allah, shall be repaid unto you, and ye shall not be treated unjustly.

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AuthorMusician
post May 11 2006, 01:59 PM
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1. Did the letter change your view of Ahmadinejad?

Yeah. Before he was just a talking head. Now he's a verbose talking head.

I'll add that he is a religious verbose talking head with a measure of anger directed at US policy abroad. So make it an angry religious verbose talking head trying to be polite. Okay, he's a polite angry religious verbose talking head who has studied history.

A history-studying polite angry religious verbose talking head is he.

2. Is the letter a sincere effort to begin a serious dialog with the US?

No, it's a typical rant against US policy that we citizens do quite well already. Oh, and thanks for the sympathy about 9/11. I feel worlds better already. I'll be waiting for the foreign aid check. A coupla hundred grand will sooth my tortured soul.

3. Are the criticisms of the US's past behavior toward Iran largely true or false?

Pretty much true. US policy under Reagan supported Saddam. That has got to sting, but Reagan is dead and so is the 20th century. World War II is over, but if he wants to play this way, see below.

4. Can you see our President writing a similar letter or proposing direct talks with Iran to seek resolution of outstanding issues between the two countries?

Sure. It might go like this:

Hi!

Hey, remember those hostages you guys took back there in the 1970s? That sure helped get Reagan into office, didn't it. Or how about that little thing about Nazi Germany wanting to conquer your tushes? Keeping in line with your historical payback system, here's the bill, adjusted for inflation:

$934,773,510,398,417.53

We accept MasterCharge and Visa. No personal checks.

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TedN5
post May 11 2006, 05:57 PM
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QUOTE
(Moif)
Mahmoud Ahmedadinejad was one of those 'students'.


There is substantial doubt on this conclusion. (See this CNN Article on CIA Conclusion).

QUOTE
A CIA report has determined with "relative certainty" that Iran's new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was not involved in the taking of U.S. hostages 26 years ago, three government officials told CNN on Friday.


Moif, both you and Mark Steyn's article distort and simplify the chaos that was the Iranian revolution in order to support your contention that radical Islam and Iran in particular is an existential threat to the West. The American Embassy and its occupants were seized by students largely because of the CIA's role in overthrowing the Mossadegh government in 1953 and suspicion that the agency was operating out of the embassy again. During the coarse of the crisis the students painstakingly pieced together shredded documents that substantially supported this contention. To be sure, it would have been better for both countries if the Iranian government had intervened quickly and released the American diplomats and operatives but the revolution was unconsolidated and the composition of the ultimate government was still in doubt. What to do about the students and the hostages became a bone of contention between various Iranian factions. There is at least plausible evidence that some Reagan supporter's may have helped delay the resolution of the crisis until Reagan was in office. (See the Gary Sick NYT Article from 1992).

QUOTE
According to Mr. Hashemi, William Casey, who had just become Ronald Reagan's campaign manager, met with him in late February or early March 1980 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. Mr. Casey quickly made it clear that he wanted to prevent Jimmy Carter from gaining any political advantage from the hostage crisis. The Hashemis agreed to cooperate with Mr. Casey without the knowledge of the Carter Administration.

Mr. Hashemi told me that he and his brother helped to arrange two critical meetings. In a Madrid hotel in late July 1980, an important Iranian cleric, Mehdi Karrubi, who is now the speaker of the Iranian Parliament, allegedly met with Mr. Casey and a U.S. intelligence officer who was operating outside authority. The same group met again several weeks later. Mr. Hashemi told me that Mr. Karrubi agreed in the second Madrid meeting to cooperate with the Reagan campaign about the timing of any hostage release.

In return, he was promised that the Reagan Administration, once in office, would return Iran's frozen assets and help them acquire badly needed military equipment and spare parts. Two other sources subsequently described these meetings in very similar terms in interviews with me and my colleagues. The Carter Administration had no knowledge of these meetings.


QUOTE
(Moif)
This may be a some what pedantic point, but the Islamic Republic of Iran is not the same as 'thousands of years of history'. Iran as it is today is only 27 years old. Iran as a state is only 71 years old. Not even the Islamic bit constitutes 'thousands of years'.


I was trying to stress the character of the Iranian nation, not its government. If I made the same point about France or Russia I doubt that it would be misunderstood. Histories have meaning in the present and we need to be sensitive to them in dealing with other nations. Support for the Iranian nuclear program is widespread among both supporters and oponents of the current president.

I don't know what you mean by "the state is only 71 years old." The beginning of the Pahlavi era was 1925 - 81 years ago. However, Persia existed before that under the Qajar Shahs and before that back to preclassical times under various dynasties. Certainly their self rule was interrupted by Arab and Mongol invasions and put in jeopardy by great powers like Russia and Britain but the nation always managed to reassert itself.

Many ADers are so anxious to demonize Iran that they won't engage with the fundamental issue: Should we be willing to make concessions to Iran on sanctions, non interference in internal affairs, and security guarantees in return for restriction on their nuclear activities that go beyond anything required by the NPT? Which is worse, the consequences of another war or a little give and take with someone we despise?

This post has been edited by TedN5: May 11 2006, 06:00 PM
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carlitoswhey
post May 11 2006, 06:51 PM
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QUOTE(English Horn @ May 10 2006, 05:05 PM)
Let me tell you a story: back in the 1980s when perestroika just started, Margaret Thatcher visited the Soviet Union with a state visit. At some point she agreed to participate in an interview/debate which was shown on live TV. She was confronted (quite aggressively) with several seasoned soviet journalists, who peppered her with various questions on Britain's position in nuclear disarmament (someting of that sort); her performance was so magnificent that her star opponents looked ridiculous even for soviet audience and her interview was a subject of talks around the country for many weeks to come.

QUOTE
She gave a television interview to three star Soviet commentators and hammered them into the ground with such style that, when I visited Moscow nine months later, her performance was still the subject of pleasurable comment.


She didn't accuse her interviewers with being puppets of the regime; instead she prove her point so well that at the end of the evening there was no doubt who won the debate. This one TV broadcast has done what Reagan with his stupid posturing and "evil empire" statements couldn't do. Reagan antagonized Russians and brought them together; Thatcher won hearts and minds of many.

Classic good cop / bad cop. While she enthralled the Russian audiences, Reagan planted missles in Western Europe and Turkey. It's a good point, but not applicable here. A better parallel would be if Margaret Thacher imaged her Russian television audience were 'unable to blink their eyes' as they were mesmerized by her celestial green holy aura while she spoke.

...For those of you that don't get the above reference - Here is the "president" that you would have the US seriously negotiate with...

QUOTE(The Scotsman)
Iranian president says celestial light protected him at UN
IRAN'S hardline president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, claims a celestial green "light" descended on him when he addressed world leaders at the United Nations.

The aura also transfixed his audience, who sat unblinking for nearly half an hour as he spoke, he claimed. In a video published on an Iranian website, Mr Ahmadinejad says that someone present at the UN when he addressed the General Assembly in September told him: "When you began with the words 'In the name of God ...' I saw a light coming, surrounding you and protecting you."

The president added: "I felt it myself, too, that suddenly the atmosphere changed and ... the leaders could not blink. I had opened their eyes and ears for the message of the Islamic Republic."


QUOTE(Paladin Elspeth @ May 11 2006, 04:44 AM)
Silly Ahmadinejad! To think that he would expect to get a response from G.W. Bush for the letter he wrote! If he were an American, he'd know that Bush doesn't even answer letters from Congressmen.

PE - would you agree that real statesmen don't write 18-page rambling letters to each other? If George Bush wrote an 18-page letter about his relationship with Jesus and how Iran is a "phenomenon" and all sorts of other junk, wouldn't you dismiss him as a freak?

QUOTE(Paladin Elspeth)
I think this Iranian is off the wall about destroying Israel--that is totally unacceptable. Excepting the trash talk about Israel, though, I think it would be good for Bush to go through channels and tell this leader that if he is serious about addressing other issues, there are other ways to communicate. Totally snubbing the leader of another country is not going to do anybody any good. I don't want to see another invasion go down if diplomacy can prevent it.

Neville Chamberlain said something very similar I believe...

Yes, except for that talk about **destroying Israel **and the fact that he's seeking Nuclear weapons to do so, he's really worth communicating with. Do you hear what you're saying here?

** Israel, whom Mahmoud called a 'one-bomb state' meaning that one bomb would wipe out the Jews, but that bombs in the Islamic world would not have similar effect due to population...

QUOTE(TedN5)
Support for the Iranian nuclear program is widespread among both supporters and oponents of the current president.

May I ask why? Forget the fact that the nation sits on vast oil reserves, and has so much natural gas that they burn it off at the tap, making one wonder why they would need a nuclear program...

Why would the same people in the US who would argue to their death against anything nuclear in the US want Iran to have a nuclear program?

Why would supporters and opponents of the president want Iran to have a nuclear, um, 'power' program? Seriously. Why?
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barnaby2341
post May 11 2006, 08:14 PM
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QUOTE(carlitoswhey @ May 11 2006, 01:51 PM)
...For those of you that don't get the above reference - Here is the "president" that you would have the US seriously negotiate with...


Strange that you would mock him knowing that our President said God told him to invade Iraq and Afghanistan.

QUOTE
PE - would you agree that real statesmen don't write 18-page rambling letters to each other?  If George Bush wrote an 18-page letter about his relationship with Jesus and how Iran is a "phenomenon" and all sorts of other junk, wouldn't you dismiss him as a freak?


The name calling... it's sad really. It is an attempt by yourself to de-humanize him. He's a freak. He's crazy. Tell yourself whatever you want to convince yourself that you must go to war with him.

Are there are any words that this man could write or say that you would give validity to. He asks many questions. He points out Bush's reasoning and critiques it with his actions. He points out plainly that his actions and his rhetoric are inconsistent. It's only rambling because you perceive him as a crazy man instead of a human being.

Look at your terms that you use: junk, rambling, freak. The guy doesn't have a real shot at convincing you of anything.

The man is trying to communicate. That is as positive as it gets. Yet you dismiss it so easily with no factual justification.

QUOTE
Neville Chamberlain said something very similar I believe...

Yes, except for that talk about **destroying Israel **and the fact that he's seeking Nuclear weapons to do so, he's really worth communicating with.  Do you hear what you're saying here?


He has never said they are pursuing a nuclear weapon, it has always been nuclear PROGRAM. They kicked out the CNN journalists after they mistranslated the terms. The Iranian President has made it clear time and again that they are pursuing nuclear energy, not weapons. It is the United States that has fabricated the weapons ambitions, not the Iranians. Besides, even if they did want nuclear weapons, we are hypocrits for suggesting they should not have them since we have them ourselves. I don't know what it is about people like you who have no clue about objectivity. Do you refuse to recognize the blatant hypocrisy in our policy? Hey Iran, sign this Non-Proliferation Treaty while we create Bunker Busting Nukes.

QUOTE
Why would the same people in the US who would argue to their death against anything nuclear in the US want Iran to have a nuclear program?

Why would supporters and opponents of the president want Iran to have a nuclear, um, 'power' program?  Seriously.  Why?

Maybe you should ask Henry Kissinger.
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Paladin Elspeth
post May 11 2006, 09:46 PM
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QUOTE(carlitoswhey)
PE - would you agree that real statesmen don't write 18-page rambling letters to each other?  If George Bush wrote an 18-page letter about his relationship with Jesus and how Iran is a "phenomenon" and all sorts of other junk, wouldn't you dismiss him as a freak?
I am not going to fall into the trap of trying to expound on what "real statesmen" do. Leaders do what they do, period. It doesn't really matter what I think about it--witness the invasion of Iraq and the "evidence" on which it was based.

Calling Iran's leader a freak is really not going to remedy the situation. The fact is that, whether we like it or not, a Muslim extremist is in charge. If he writes long letters, he writes long letters. That does not mean that he should be ignored.

QUOTE(carlitoswhey)
Neville Chamberlain said something very similar I believe...

Yes, except for that talk about **destroying Israel **and the fact that he's seeking Nuclear weapons to do so, he's really worth communicating with.  Do you hear what you're saying here?

I know what I wrote.

I know that the USSR developed nukes, and the Peoples' Republic of China developed nukes, and we didn't stop them. Our government counted the cost and concluded that it would be a bloody, hellacious conflict where it would be uncertain whether there would actually be a victor when the smoke cleared.

Neither did the U.S. intervene militarily when India and Pakistan developed nukes.

Now, while we're engaged in a bloody, protracted occupation of the nation next door, a country is developing a nuclear program. So we're not supposed to try negotiating, but just trying forcing the country to somehow stop?

QUOTE(carlitoswhey)
Why would supporters and opponents of the president want Iran to have a nuclear, um, 'power' program?  Seriously.  Why?

Since you seriously asked, I will seriously answer. I don't want Iran to have the power, but I don't think it is up to me or my government, either. Whether or not we feel the Iranian president is worthy of our respect, however, we need to treat him respectfully. Why incite further problems?

Have you ever tried to talk with someone you felt did not respect you? It probably hampered what you were trying to say to some degree. With any luck, you didn't have to have a serious conversation with the person.

Alternatively, carlito, what would YOU suggest? That we treat Ahmadinejad like an enemy until we finally invade his country? If you'll recall, at one time all Muslim countries vowed to destroy Israel. What happened? We didn't invade all of those countries; we couldn't. Politics changed and, thankfully, cooler heads prevailed in many of those countries to the point where the rhetoric ceased altogether in some cases.

But if we inflame the Iranians by treating their leader like crap and imposing all kinds of sanctions, the prospects for a change in their leadership shrinks as the current regime capitalizes on all the hardship experienced by the people thanks to the people of the United States. Defiance mounts. It becomes a rallying cry for those on the fence to jump down and strike a blow against the "Great Satan."

We've seen it before.
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Jobius
post May 12 2006, 12:11 AM
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QUOTE(TedN5 @ May 10 2006, 08:07 AM)
HERE is Ahmadinejad’s letter to Bush.

Since the Bush Administration seems bent on pushing us into confrontation and possible war with Iran, we all need to read this correspondence and draw some independent judgment about its author. (Condi Rice has already rejected any followup on the letter even before having it translated).


To be fair, the Iranians supplied their own English translation, which is the one most of us have been reading:
QUOTE(AP)
Iran sent an English translation of the letter to Washington on Monday


TruthMarch misread this too:

QUOTE(TruthMarch)
What upsets me is the way the US didn't want to even know what was in that letter before basically tossing it aside along with what Bush called 'that scrap piece of paper'.


I'm guessing that Ted and TM were both misled by the sensationalist "Rice admits" headline in the Raw Story article that TruthMarch linked to. But if you actually read the transcript, you'll see she is not ignorant of the letter's contents:
QUOTE(Condoleezza Rice)
We've not had a chance to do our own translation and of course we'll do that, but an initial reading of the letter would suggest that there is nothing in it that addresses the major issues between the United States and the rest of the world and Iran on the other hand.


(Emphasis added.)

1. Did the letter change your view of Ahmadinejad?

I have a higher opinion of his political acumen. This open letter was designed to appeal to the anti-American left as much as it was to Islamists. I think it's found its audience.

2. Is the letter a sincere effort to begin a serious dialog with the US?

It's more of an attempt to turn other countries against the US, preventing the US from gaining an international consensus to control Iran's nuclear program, and prevent their acquisition of nuclear weapons.

3. Are the criticisms of the US's past behavior toward Iran largely true or false?

There's only one paragraph that actually refers to the US's past behavior toward Iran. It's at least half true. The CIA's participation in Mossadegh overthrow in 1953 is well documented. The shooting down of the Iranian passenger plane in 1988 is a legitimate grievance, though it was not deliberate.

4. Can you see our President writing a similar letter or proposing direct talks with Iran to seek resolution of outstanding issues between the two countries?

No. Our President isn't much for public diplomacy.
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TedN5
post May 12 2006, 03:20 AM
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QUOTE
(Jobius)
To be fair, the Iranians supplied their own English translation, which is the one most of us have been reading:


I didn't miss read the article. I was well aware of the status of the translations. The point I was making was the speed with which Rice dismissed the letter. Normally when countries in confrontation communicate on a high level great care is taken to do your own translation in case some meaning was lost in the original translation. The fact that this was not done and the letter was dismissed contemptuously speaks volumes. I would suggest a comparison with the Cuban missile crisis when Khruschev's letters were translated and studied in detail before a reply was drafted. The crisis was partially resolved by replying to one of his letters reflecting a deliberate misreading which was accepted by Khruschev. In this case no thought was given on how to make something positive out of Ahmadinejad's letter. Even a religious response leading to a dialog between these two religious fundamentalists might have been productive. The whole reaction is just farther proof that the administration is not serious about a negotiated solution.
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