Drudge headline falsely suggests Obama would address letter to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

A Drudge Report headline falsely suggested that President Barack Obama is in the process of drafting a letter to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; in fact, the Guardian (London) article to which the headline linked did not report that Obama was addressing a letter directly to Ahmadinejad; rather, it reported that "[t]he letter would be addressed to the Iranian people and sent directly to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, or released as an open letter."

A January 29 headline on the Drudge Report falsely suggested that President Barack Obama is in the process of drafting a letter to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; in fact, the Guardian (London) article (accessed via Nexis) to which the headline linked did not report that Obama was addressing a letter directly to Ahmadinejad. The January 29 Guardian article reported that "[t]he letter would be addressed to the Iranian people and sent directly to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, or released as an open letter."

Drudge screengrab, Ahmadinejad

From the January 28 Guardian article:

Obama administration officials have drafted a letter to Iran from the president aimed at unfreezing US-Iranian relations and opening the way for face-to-face talks, the Guardian has learned.

The US state department has been working on drafts of the letter since Obama was elected on 4 November. It would be in reply to a lengthy letter of congratulations sent by the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on 6 November.

Diplomats say Obama's letter would be a symbolic gesture to mark a change in tone from the hostile one adopted by the Bush administration, which portrayed Iran as part of an "axis of evil".

It would be intended to allay the suspicions of Iran's leaders and pave the way for Obama to engage them directly, a break with past policy.

State department officials have written at least three drafts of the letter, which gives assurances that Washington does not want to overthrow the Islamic regime but merely seeks a change in its behaviour. The letter would be addressed to the Iranian people and sent directly to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, or released as an open letter.

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