US Drafts Letter to Iran to Mend Ties

Development could lead to direct talks between old enemies
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2009 4:34 PM CST
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks in Kermanshah, Iran, Wednesday Jan, 28, 2009.   (AP Photo/ISNA, Saman Aqvami)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama is moving his efforts to improve relations with Iran beyond mere speech-making, the Guardian reports. The State Department is drafting a letter to Iranian leaders to assure them the US is not looking to overthrow the curent regime, just change its behavior. The letter—a response to a congratulatory letter sent by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad—could pave the way toward face-to-face talks.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is reviewing the letter, said to be in at least its third draft. It could be addressed to the Iranian people or to the nation’s spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. One version makes the case that Iran could improve its citizens’ standard of living by losing its pariah status. It also reportedly pressures Tehran on sponsorship of terror groups.