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Iran letter calls on Americans to change Bush policies

Story Highlights

• A U.S. spokesman calls the Iranian leader's letter a "public relations stunt"
• Letter says money for Iraq war would be better spent on Katrina victims
• Democrats warned to help ease "global resentment" and "hatred of America"
• Letter questions benefits of U.S. government's "blind support for the Zionists"
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(CNN) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has written a letter to the American people praising them as "truth-loving and justice-seeking" and urging them to "play an instrumental role" in helping to change Bush administration policy in the Middle East.

The letter, released at U.N. headquarters in New York, also warns the Democratic Party that it could lose the 2008 presidential race if it does nothing to change U.S. policies after winning both of houses of Congress in midterm elections.

U.S. State Department spokesman Tom Casey called the letter "a public relations stunt" by Tehran and refused "to dignify" the Iranian president's accusations of the Bush administration "with a specific reaction." (Full text of letter)

John Bolton, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said he hadn't read the letter and had no reaction, other than joking that, at five pages, it's "a step ahead" of the 18-page missive Ahmadinejad sent to President Bush earlier this year.

Iran is struggling against international opposition to its nuclear program as neighbor Iraq deals with a fledgling government, widespread sectarian violence and a U.S.-led war.

The letter's release comes as the U.S. president is scheduled to hold a high-profile summit with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Jordan. Ahmadinejad met this week with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. (Watch how Bush faces challenges in U.S. Mideast policy Video)

In his letter, Ahmadinejad explains he is writing the American people because the two countries share similar values, including the desire "to promote and protect freedom and human dignity and integrity."

"We all deplore injustice, the trampling of peoples' rights and the intimidation and humiliation of human beings," he said.

Those shared values "have brought our two great nations of Iran and the United States closer together," but have been overshadowed by "the many wars and calamities caused by the U.S. administration."

He refers to the U.S. role in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, the Iraq war and the detention of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as examples of "the U.S. administration's illegal and immoral behavior."

In his letter, Ahmadinejad -- who has called for Israel to be "wiped off the map" -- asks what the U.S. government's "blind support for the Zionists" has "brought for the American people."

"Is it not because they have imposed themselves on a substantial portion of the banking, financial, cultural and media sectors?" he said, referring to Jewish people.

Calling Iraq a "military misadventure," Ahmadinejad questions whether Americans approve of the billions of dollars spent on the war, suggesting the U.S. government withdraw its troops and spend the money on domestic welfare, including victims of last year's Hurricane Katrina.

He also addresses "the winners of the recent elections," saying that now Democrats control "an important branch of the U.S. government," they can "remedy some of the past afflictions and alleviate some of the global resentment and hatred of America."

If the party fails to do so, its representatives will be "held to account by the people and by history," he warned.

"If the approach remains the same, it would not be unexpected that the American people would similarly reject the new electoral winners," Ahmadinejad wrote. "The recent elections, rather than reflecting a victory, in reality point to the failure of the current administration's policies."

He said such failures were addressed in the letter he sent to Bush in May. In that letter, Ahmadinejad urged dialogue with Washington, at the same time condemning the United States for its alliance with Israel and opposition to Iran's nuclear program.

Tehran has ignored an August 31 U.N. Security Council deadline demanding the country halt the nuclear program, insisting it's for peaceful purposes.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad


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