With his 18-page letter, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered U.S. President George W. Bush a history lesson, philosophy lecture and religious sermon laced with references to Jesus Christ.
The document gives rare insight into a man who has largely been a mystery to the West, showing him as fixated on a long list of grievances against the U.S. and seeking to build on a shared faith in God. Ahmadinejad, whose government is suspected by the West of pursuing nuclear weapons, questions whether Christ and other religious prophets would have approved of U.S. policies and actions in the Middle East.
"I have been told that Your Excellency follows the teachings of Jesus (peace be upon him) and believes in the divine promise of the rule of the righteous on Earth," Ahmadinejad wrote Bush, who has said Christ is his favourite philosopher.
"If Prophet Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Ishmael, Joseph, or Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) were with us today, how would they have judged such behaviour?" he wrote.
As Ahmadinejad asked Bush to do some soul-searching and atone for past U.S. transgressions, the United States dismissed the letter as irrelevant and said that it was devoid of any concrete proposals.
American officials portrayed the document as a stalling tactic in the contentious negotiations among the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council over Iran's nuclear program. (source)