US contacted Khamenei before Iran’s ‘disputed’ presidential election

June 24th, 2009 - 5:03 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama Washington, June 24 (ANI): The Obama Administration sent a letter to Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, calling for an improvement in relations, prior to the June 12 disputed presidential elections, which were followed by massive people protests.

Ayatollah Khamenei confirmed the letter toward the end of a lengthy sermon on Friday, in which he accused the United States of fomenting protests in his country in the aftermath of the disputed June 12 presidential election.

US officials declined to discuss the letter on Tuesday, a day on which President Barack Obama gave his strongest condemnation yet of the Iranian crackdown against protesters, The Washington Times reports.

An Iranian with knowledge of the overture, said that the letter was sent between May 4 and May 10, and laid out the prospect of “cooperation in regional and bilateral relations” and a resolution of the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program.

The Iranian said the letter was given to the Iranian Foreign Ministry by a representative of the Swiss Embassy, which represents US interests in Iran in the absence of US-Iran diplomatic relations.

The letter was sent before the election, whose outcome, delivering a supposed landslide to incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has touched off the biggest anti-government protests in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The Obama administration, while criticizing a violent crackdown on demonstrators by Iranian security forces, has said that it will continue efforts to engage the Iranian Government about its nuclear program and other issues, the paper reported.

A senior Obama administration official, who spoke on the condition that he not be named because he was discussing private communications, would not confirm or deny that a letter had been sent to Ayatollah Khamenei, and would not say if there had been a response.

Under the Iranian Constitution, Ayatollah Khamenei makes the final decisions on Iran’s foreign and defense policies. (ANI)

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