The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bush letter brush-off
- ‘Diplomacy best option’

Sun City Center (Florida), May 9 (Reuters): President George W. Bush said today his administration viewed diplomacy as the first and most important option in dealing with the standoff over Iran’s nuclear programme.

Bush spoke a day after Iran’s President sent the US President an 18-page letter, which Bush administration officials dismissed as a move by Tehran to divert attention from the nuclear issue.

The letter from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the first publicly announced personal communication from an Iranian President to his US counterpart since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Bush, who was asked at a forum with older Americans what the US would do if Iran obtained a nuclear bomb, did not mention the letter from Ahmadinejad.

However, he discussed the West’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear programme and said Iran must not be allowed to get the bomb.

“The first option and the most important option is diplomacy,” Bush said. “I believe we can accomplish this through diplomacy.” Iran insists it is enriching uranium ' and improving its techniques ' solely to produce electricity for domestic consumption.

The letter, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters today, argues generally that globally shared religious values should govern political life but makes no proposals for resolving the West’s concerns over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Ahmadinejad's letter appears to draw analogies between the 2003 US invasion of Iraq and US threats against Iran, suggesting the United States lied to justify the war and is now suffering the consequences. “On the pretext of the existence of WMDs, this great tragedy came to engulf both the peoples of the occupied and the occupying country. Later, it was revealed that no WMDs existed to begin with,” the leader wrote.

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