Monday, May 08, 2006

Rice: Iran Letter to Bush Changes Nothing

Voice of America:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has dismissed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's surprise letter to President Bush, saying it does nothing to address the standoff over Tehran's nuclear program.

Rice told the Associated Press Monday the letter does not address any issues of U.S. concern.

She said the letter is about 18 pages long and talks about history, philosophy, and religion. She says the letter is not the place to find a diplomatic opening to engage Iran on the nuclear issue. READ MORE

Rice is in New York meeting with other diplomats from the permanent U.N. Security Council members on possible sanctions against Iran.

The United States suspects Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon. Iran insists its nuclear program is for civilian energy use.

China and Russia say they will veto sanctions or any move that threatens military force against Iran.

Iran sent the letter to the White House through the Swiss Embassy in Tehran. An Iranian spokesman gave no details of what was in it other than saying it suggests new ways to get out of what he calls the fragile world situation.

The letter is the first known high-level contact between the United States and Iran since April 1980, when diplomatic ties were cut during the Iranian hostage crisis.