TEHRAN, Iran – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent a lengthy letter to the American people Wednesday, addressing "Noble Americans" and urging unity with Iran in spite of what the U.S. government says and does.
The letter was released in New York on Wednesday and seems to be an attempt by the controversial Iranian president to circumvent the Bush administration to directly reach Americans.
Click here to read Iranian President Ahmadinejad's letter to the American people. (pdf)
"Noble Americans ... we have common concerns, face similar challenges, and are pained by the sufferings and afflictions in the world," Ahmadinejad writes.
"Both our nations are God-fearing, truth-loving and justice-seeking, and both seek dignity, respect and perfection.
"Both greatly value and readily embrace the promotion of human ideals such as compassion, empathy, respect for the rights of human beings, securing justice and equity and defending the innocent and the weak against oppressors and bullies."
Iran first reported on the existence of the letter in bold type on the front page of a state-run newspaper, saying "the five-page letter to the American people will be released by Iran's representative at the United Nations today."
Ahmadinejad wrote a rambling, 18-page letter to U.S. President George W. Bush in May, which Washington criticized for not addressing Iran's nuclear program — where the United States is leading the drive to impose U.N. sanctions on Tehran for its refusal to stop enriching uranium.
Iranians in the street were disappointed by the cold response to the May letter because, while it did not make clear proposals, it was the first official communication between the two countries' presidents since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
Earlier this month, Ahmadinejad said he was planning to write a letter to Americans.
"Many American people asked me to talk to them in order to explain the views of the Iranian people," Ahmadinejad told reporters, referring to his visit to New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly session in September.
Ahmadinejad has alienated many Americans by calling for Israel's destruction and repeatedly dismissing the Nazi Holocaust as a myth. He also strongly supports the Palestinian militant group Hamas and the Lebanese faction Hezbollah, which the U.S. State Department list as terrorist organizations.
"Governments are there to serve their own people," the Iranian president writes in his letter to Americans. "But regrettably, the U.S. administration disregards even its own public opinion and remains in the forefront of supporting the trampling of the rights of the Palestinian people."
Ahmadinejad also addresses the situation in Iraq, condemning the U.S.-led war there.
Since the United States' presence in Iraq began, "hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed, maimed or displaced. Terrorism in Iraq has grown exponentially. ... Although Saddam was overthrown and people are happy about his departure, the pain and suffering of the Iraqi people has persisted and has even been aggravated.
"About one hundred and fifty-thousand American soldiers, separated from their families and loved ones, are operating under the command of the current U.S. administration. A substantial number of them have been killed or wounded and their presence in Iraq has tarnished the image of the American people and government."
Ahmadinejad suggests a "better approach to governance," and recommends that "the right of Palestinians to live in their own homeland should be recognized." He also advises that American troops be brought home from Iraq.
"I am confident that you, the American people, will play an instrumental role in the establishment of justice and spirituality throughout the world," Ahmadinejad writes.
Twice this year Iran has proposed talks with the United States over Iraq, but Ahmadinejad has said that for such negotiations to take place, Washington must change its behavior. On Sunday he said Iran was ready to help the United States get out of the "Iraqi quagmire if the U.S. changes its bullying policy toward Iran."
Iran and the United States have had no diplomatic relations since 1979 when, after the revolution, militants seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and kept 52 people hostage for 444 days.
FOX News' Catherine Donaldson-Evans and The Associated Press contributed to this report.