Former Iranian President Lectures Trump In Public Letter

Mahmud Ahmedinejad also criticized the Trump White House Muslim ban

Former hardliner Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad — REUTERS
Feb 27, 2017 at 8:52 AM ET

Former Iranian president Mahmud Ahmadinejad lambasted President Donald Trump’s travel ban against citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, and accused the United States of creating a tradition of “insecurity, war, division, killing and displacement of nations” in a letter published by Iranian media on Sunday,

The dispatch said that with over a million people of Iranian descent living in America, the U.S. policies would do well to “value respect toward the diversity of nations and races.”

“In other words, the contemporary U.S. belongs to all nations, including the natives of the land,” wrote the former Iranian leader. “No one may consider themselves the owner and view others as guests or immigrants.”

Trump’s travel ban was blocked by a judge, and an appeals court refused to reinstate it. Trump has promised to enforce a revised version of the order, arguing it was necessary for U.S. national security.

Ahmadinejad, in power from 2005 to 2015 largely due to a wave of right-wing populism, un-ironically posed the question to the American president: “Arrogance is a devilish deed and the root cause of all problems in the human society. Hasn’t the time come to change arms to pens, and to replace arrogance, discrimination and hatred with love, equality and brotherhood?”

His letter was littered with backhanded compliments, saluting Trump for “truthfully describing the U.S. political system and electoral structure as corrupt.” He continued, “the U.S. electoral system has for decades enslaved people’s votes to benefit a certain minority; i.e. a group that seemingly rules in the form of two parties, but in fact represents a minority, i.e. the tyrants of global wealth and power.”

Ahmadinejad even referenced Trump’s reported past misogynistic behavior, “I hope women in all societies, including that of the U.S., while at utmost persistent esteem and respect, effectively and constructively participate and lead in building the ideal society.”

Human rights violations in the Islamic Republic are considered atrocious by international standards. The United Nations last year found that two-thirds of Iranian women were subject to domestic violence, while more than 50,000 a year were married before they turned 15.

While Ahmadinejad’s long-winded, highly ceremonial letter covered a number of domestic issues in the United States, it did not make a single reference to Iran’s nuclear program, a major point of contention between Iran and the world powers. Under Ahmadinejad, Iran’s progress toward uranium enrichment encountered heavy western economic sanctions. A nuclear-armed Iran, many argued, would risk a war with Israel and the entire Middle East, most likely through its numerous anti-Israel terrorist and Shiite militant proxy organizations. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has regularly asserted that Iran poses an existential threat to the Jewish State, though some Middle East observers have contradicted that claim by arguing that an Iranian nuclear attack against Israel would be a suicide mission inconsistent with the regime’s history of pragmatism.

Iran has long maintained that its program was intended for peaceful purposes.

Trump’s administration declared Iran should be “on notice” less than two weeks after the president took office. On February 1, then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn accused Iran of a “provocative ballistic missile launch and an attack against a Saudi naval vessel conducted by Iran-supported Houthi militants.” Two days later, Washington slapped sanctions on 25 individuals and entities involved with Iran’s ballistic missile tests, even though U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231 had only called on, not enjoined, Iran to refrain from such tests.

A potential U.S.-Iran confrontation has threatened to inflame an already tense situation in the Middle East, where the Shiite-majority Iran has long vied for hegemony in the region against Sunni Saudi Arabia. In his letter, Ahmadinejad issued a thinly-veiled warning: “Four years is a long period, but it ends quickly. The opportunity needs to be valued, and all its moments need to be used in the best way.

Ahmadinejad has also penned open letters to U.S. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. This time, the stunt may also serve to revive Ahmadinejad’s reputation domestically after the nation’s Supreme Leader warned him not to run in Iran’s upcoming May presidential election, the Associated Press reported.

“I hope the lengthy letter, which was proportionate to the nature of a fundamental and constructive talk, hasn’t tired you,” wrote Ahmadinejad. “I pray to God the Merciful…for Your Excellency, success in performing the heavy duty of reforming the structure of the U.S. system and in responding to people’s demand.”