Gibbs closes book on letter
Photo: AP
Ahmadinejad seeks change in US policy
Photo: Reuters
US denies drafting letter to Iran
White House spokesman denies President Obama received letter from Iranian leader Ahmadinejad; State Department dismisses British report that US is working on response
WASHINGTON – Obama administration officials responded scornfully Thursday to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent demand for a change in the US policy in the Middle East, and dismissed a British report that the administration was drafting a letter to the Iranian authorities.


White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs, who was asked during his daily press briefing about a letter allegedly sent to US President Barak Obama by the Iranian leader, said that "neither the president nor the secretary of state has seen such a letter that I think was reported in an overseas newspaper, so I think that sort of closes the book on that."


State Department officials also clarified Thursday that no one at the White House or State Department was drafting a letter aimed at thawing relations between the two arch-foes. All American sources agreed to say was that a complete review of the US foreign policy was underway, including in regards to Iran.


State Department Spokesman Robert Wood said the Obama administration would not comment on its plans to advance on the Iranian channel before completing its foreign policy review.


During the White House press briefing, Gibbs was asked about Ahmadinejad's demand that the US halts its support for "the Zionist murderers" and apologizes for its policy towards Iran.


Obama's spokesman replied that instead of focusing on what one of the Iranian leaders says, "We must use all elements of our national power to protect our interests as it relates to Iran. That includes, as the president talked about in the campaign, diplomacy where possible."


Gibbs also addressed the issues the Obama administration may want to discuss with Iran in due course.

"We have many issues to work through – an illicit nuclear program, the sponsorship of terrorism and the threatening of peace in Israel are just a few of the issues that this president believes the Iranian leadership must address," he said.


Gibbs noted that during Obama's election campaign "the president said it's unclear exactly who that dialogue would be with in Iran." He stressed that "in order for this to happen, there has to be some preparation and an understanding and a responsibility, by both sides, in understanding what's going to be talked about."


Reuters contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 01.30.09, 07:51
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