“The letter went out yesterday,” said U.N. spokeswoman Marie Okabe.
Iran’s June 12 election, which secured hardline President Ahmadinejad’s re-election, plunged Iran into its biggest internal crisis since the 1979 Islamic revolution, exposed deepening divisions in its ruling elite and set off a wave of protests that left 26 people dead.
Western leaders, already upset by Ahmadinejad’s anti-Israel rhetoric, Holocaust denial and uncompromising nuclear line, refused to congratulate the president on his inauguration last week, although their counterparts in Japan and Turkey did so.
Among those leaders who withheld their congratulations to Ahmadinejad were U.S. President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The U.N. spokeswoman said Ban’s letter was a “customary letter on occasion of inauguration” but added that the text would not be made public. The secretary-general routinely congratulates leaders after elections and the U.N. has released the content of some of those messages in the past.
Okabe added that the letter was not an endorsement of Ahmadinejad, but “takes advantage of the occasion of the inauguration to express the hope that Iran and the United Nations will continue to cooperate closely in addressing regional and global issues.”
Separately, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi on Tuesday urged Ban to visit Iran to receive a first-hand account of human r… >>>