Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent this letter to president-elect Barack Obama on November 6, 2008. The Washington Post provided this translation.
"In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Mr. Barack Obama
President-elect of the United States of America
I congratulate you on having gained the majority of the votes of those who took part in the election. As you know, the chances that God gives to his subjects pass swiftly. They can be used for the perfection of humanity and to the benefit of nations or, God forbid, to the detriment of nations.
I hope you will choose to honor the real interests of people and justice and equity over the insatiable appetites of the selfish minority. Use this chance to serve to the extent you can. And leave a good name behind for yourself.
People expect an immediate and clear response to the pressure for fundamental change in the American government's policies, both foreign and domestic. This is the desire of all the world's nations and of the American nation as well, and it should be the objective and basis of all your future government's programs and actions.
On the one hand, the American nation, which has spiritual inclinations, expects your government to focus its energy and will on serving the people; dealing with the current economic crisis; restoring the country's standing, morale and hope; eradicating poverty and discrimination; and renewing respect for individuals, their safety and their rights. It also expects policies that will strengthen the foundations of the family -- part of the teachings of the holy prophets, who are also revered in America.
On the other hand, the nations of the world expect an end to policies based on warmongering, invasion, bullying, trickery, the humiliation of other countries by the imposition of biased and unfair requirements, and a diplomatic approach that has bred hatred for America's leaders and undermined respect for its people. They want to see actions based on justice, respect for the rights of human beings and nations, friendship and non-intervention in the affairs of others. They want the American government to keep its interventions within its own country's borders.
In the sensitive Middle East region, in particular, the expectation is that the unjust actions of the past 60 years will give way to a policy encouraging full rights for all nations, especially the oppressed nations of Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The great civilization-building and justice-seeking nation of Iran would welcome major, fair and real changes, in policies and actions, especially in this region.
If steps are taken in the path of righteousness, toward the goal of carrying out the teachings of the holy prophets, it is hoped that almighty God will help and that the enormous damage done in the past will be somewhat diminished.
I ask the high God to grant all of humanity and all nations health and happiness, honor and prosperity, and to grant rulers and officials the ability to learn from the past and to use every chance to serve, to spread love and kindness, to eradicate oppression, to do justice and to follow the holy guidelines.