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Iran Letter Does Not Change US Position

News of the letter from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (pictured) came ahead of a meeting in New York of the foreign ministers of the UN Security Council's five permanent members plus Germany in a bid to map out a common strategy to force Iran to halt sensitive nuclear fuel work. Photo courtesy of AFP.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) May 09, 2006
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's letter to US President George W. Bush does not change Washington's position on Tehran's nuclear program, a White House official said Monday. "Nothing in the letter addresses the issues between Iran and the international community," said Frederick Jones, a spokesman for the National Security Council.

The spokesman said the letter sent Monday to Bush breaks no new ground on issues of concern to the administration, including Iran's disputed nuclear program and its human rights record.

"The president was briefed on the letter en route to Florida," Jones said, adding that the White House will not make its contents public.

The letter by the Iranian leader had been viewed as a historic gambit to break the weeks-long impasse on the nuclear issue, bringing an end to a quarter century of official silence between the top levels of goverment in Washington and Tehran.

Ahmadinejad's letter had been described as proposing "new ways" to resolved the impasse between Washington and Tehran, but Jones described the letter as presenting a "broad historical and philosophical exposition" of Iran's past statements defending the country's stance on the nuclear issue.

Washington has not had direct diplomatic relations with Iran since April 1980, following the seizure of the US embassy in Tehran in 1979 in which 52 Americans were held for 444 days.

The Iranian message was handed to the Swiss ambassador in Tehran, Philippe Welti, by Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. The Swiss embassy in Tehran has been acting as a conduit for messages since 1981.

The United States has called for sanctions and refused to rule out using force to stop the hardline Islamic regime's disputed nuclear drive.

Washington and Tehran have been at loggerheads over Tehran's nuclear programme which Washington suspects is a cover for ambitions to build atomic weapons.

News of the letter came ahead of a meeting in New York of the foreign ministers of the UN Security Council's five permanent members plus Germany in a bid to map out a common strategy to force Iran to halt sensitive nuclear fuel work.

Security Council members are bargaining over a Franco-British draft resolution that would legally require Iran to freeze all uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Related Links
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Irans Grand Bargain
Lisbon, Portugal, (UPI) May 09, 2006
History is full of might-have-beens, but the attempt in April 2003 by the government of Iran to negotiate a 'grand bargain' with the Bush administration may just have some life left in it.







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