6,333 People, from 80 different countries still
Attack on America - September 16, 2001 - Day 6
Sunday September 16 1:52 PM ET
Iran Sends Unprecedented Message to New York Mayor
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Tehran Mayor Morteza Alviri has sent a message of condolence to New York's Rudolph Giuliani in the first public official contact between the two countries since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran's media said Sunday.
``The news about the recent terrorist acts which took many innocent lives in New York caused deep grief and sorrow. Undoubtedly, this act is not just against New Yorkers, but all humanity,'' Alviri said in the letter written jointly with the head of Tehran's city council, Mohammad Atrianfar.
It was the first such missive sent to a U.S. official. Earlier messages of condolence were addressed to ``the American people.''
Iranian officials have been barred from contacting their U.S. counterparts since the aftermath of the revolution which toppled the U.S.-backed shah and led to a rupture in diplomatic ties.
The official contact, carried by the semi-official student news agency, appeared to have the blessing of Iranian leaders.
``Tehran's citizens express their deep hatred of this ominous and inhuman move, strongly condemn the culprits and express their sympathy with New Yorkers,'' the two reformist officials said in their message. ``We hope with a resolute cooperation among all peace-loving nations, terrorism will be rooted out.''
Iranian leaders from reformist to conservatives have strongly condemned the attack in an unprecedented show of sympathy with their long-time enemy. The United States has described Iran's response to the attack as ``positive.''
IRAN WARNS AGAINST HASTY RESPONSE TO ATTACKS
Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, in telephone conversations with his British and Spanish counterparts, called for international cooperation in fighting terrorism, Iran's IRNA news agency reported.
``Being a victim of terrorism itself, the Islamic Republic of Iran well understands American people's feelings and sufferings,'' he told Spain's Josep Pique.
But in talks with Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Secretary Jack Straw, Kharrazi said Iran was concerned about a possible over-hasty response to the attacks from the United States.
``Hasty reactions do not solve any problem. This issue should be tackled at the roots, through international efforts and cooperation,'' he said.
U.S. officials say evidences are increasingly pointing toward exiled Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden (news - web sites), who is believed in hiding in Afghanistan (news - web sites), Iran's eastern neighbor.
The United States is gearing up for possible strikes against Taliban rulers in Afghanistan, who have so far refused to turn over bin Laden to the United States.
Although Iran is strongly opposed to the Taliban, it has not yet voiced an interest in joining a U.S.-led international coalition against the extremist Islamic movement.
Iran opted for neutrality in the 1990-1991 Gulf conflict, which pitted a U.S.-led coalition against Iraq, another of Iran's arch-foes.