Reprinted from
Iran's Ahmadinejad: America's New Pen Pal

Kenneth R. Timmerman

Thursday, Nov. 30, 2006

 WASHINGTON –- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has followed up his 18-page letter to President George W. Bush earlier this year with a five-page missive to the American people.

 In the earlier letter, which left the Bush White House shaking their heads with wonderment, the Iranian leader invited Bush to embrace Islam. That is a well-established Islamic tradition when dealing with an enemy just prior to war. If they refuse, then the Muslims are "justified" in destroying them.

 The letter released today follows a similar pattern. In it, Ahmadinejad lays out his case for America's "injustice," using the term no fewer than 12 times in the five pages.

 The concept of Justice lies at the very center of the Islamic faith. Justice is considered the backbone of all creation, handed down by the Almighty. The faithful should strive to achieve justice, to "secure justice," as Ahmadinejad puts it. Those who pursue injustice, on the contrary, are spitting in the face of Allah.

Ahmadinejad claims that America, under Bush, is pursuing injustice.

 In making his case, he does not position himself as president of Iran, but attempts to set himself up as a spokesman for all Muslims. Thus, Iran itself barely figures in his letter.

 Instead, Ahmadinejad focuses on America's support for Israel, the U.S. occupation of Iraq, and the Bush administration's "moral corruption," or as he puts it, the administration's pursuit of "darkness, deceit, lies, and distortion."

 Students of recent Iranian history will recall that the "crime" most often used to justify a death sentence by Islamic Republic revolutionary courts during the early years of the revolution was "corruption on earth." This was how the regime simply eliminated its opponents or those who rejected absolute clerical rule.

 Media commentators in the U.S. are likely to pick up on the "public relations" side of the letter. Ahmadinejad calls on the U.S. to bring the troops home from Iraq, to cut off support for Israel, and to stop "kidnapping presumed opponents from across the globe" and holding them in secret prisons.

 He even has some advice for the new Democrat majority in Congress: Bend to the Muslim agenda, or you will be tossed out of power.

 Ahmadinejad repeatedly tries to appeal to Americans as people of faith, who share Islamic values. "We, like you, are aggrieved by the ever-worsening pain and misery of the Palestinian people," he drones. "Persistent aggressions by the Zionists are making life more and more difficult for the rightful owners of the land of Palestine."

 And he trots out his old anti-Semitic saw, claiming that "the Zionists" control America "because they have imposed themselves on a substantial portion of the banking, financial, cultural, and media sectors."

But to focus on these parts of his letter, however silly and objectionable they may be, would be to miss the main point. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not the Hugo Chavez of the Persian Gulf. He knows that soon he will have his finger on the nuclear trigger.

 Citing from the Quran at the close of his letter, he says that if Americans "repent" of their "injustice," they will be blessed with many gifts. "We should all heed the divine Word of the Holy Qur'an," he says.

 The context of this particular verse (28:67-28, Sura "Al-Qasas," or The Narration), is very clear. It follows a graphic description of destruction and devastation that will befall those who fail to repent of their injustice.

 It also sets out the terms of the tradition Muslim warning to the enemies of Allah. "And never will your Lord destroy the towns until He sends to their mother town a Messenger reciting to them Our Verses." This is is precisely what Ahmadinejad is doing in his letter.

 Dump Bush, allow the Muslims to destroy Israel, and adopt Islam — or else you will be destroyed. This is Ahmadinejad's message.

Kenneth R. Timmerman is president of the Middle East Data Project, author of "Countdown to Crisis: The Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran," and a contributing editor to

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