London-Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has asked U.S. President Barack Obama to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued in April that allowed the seizure of two billion dollars worth of Iranian assets to compensate victims of the 1983 Beirut terror attack.
While Ahmadinejad said that his letter to Obama is not political, it comes amid speculations that the hard-liner politician is preparing for a possible run in the coming presidential elections.
The timing of the letter is interesting given that the name of Ahmadinejad has resurfaced as a possible candidate in the Iranian elections on May 19, 2017 facing incumbent Hasan Rouhani.
Iranian media had interpreted the letter as an election activity and an attempt to lure the media’s attention in spite of the former president’s denials.
Earlier, Ahmadinejad said that the country’s best interest doesn’t require his candidacy for elections, yet he would return to the political arena when the time is suitable.
Some Iranian newspapers considered Ahmadinejad’s letter to Obama as a message to say that Rouhani didn’t act as required to retrieve the money.
Iranian newspaper Shargh published a cartoon mocking the president’s attempt, saying “Former President Writes another Letter.” The newspaper added that the ex-president had written several letters to leaders without receiving any answers.
The letter comes in time as a large number of Iranians await to see the benefits of Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, which could be used by Ahmadinejad and other hard-liners in any campaign against moderates.
In the letter, posted on a website associated with the former president’s office, Ahmadinejad focuses on the Supreme Court’s decision issued with the approval of six of its members and the objection of two.
The court’s ruling allows families of the Marines, who were the victims of the 1983 bombing in Beirut, and victims of other attacks linked to Iran to receive financial compensations from Iran.
“It is the clear expectation of the Iranian nation that the particular case of property seizure … be quickly fixed by your excellency and that not only the Iranian nation’s rights be restored and the seized property released and returned, but also the damage caused be fully compensated for,” the letter said.
Ahmadinejad added: “I passionately advise you not to let the historical defamation and bitter incident be recorded under your name.”
According to the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Iranian 1.75 billion dollars in bonds owned by Iran’s Central Bank and held by Citibank in New York are at risk.
The letter was delivered to the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, which oversees America’s interests in the country in the years after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and U.S. Embassy takeover.
Embassy officials refused to comment on the matter. There was no immediate comment from the White House regarding the letter either.
Ahmadinejad previously served two four-year terms. According to Iranian law, he has to wait one-presidential term before he’s eligible to run again.
Under his presidency, Iran found itself heavily sanctioned as Ahmadinejad questioned the Holocaust and predicted the demise of Israel. In 2009, wide debates and protests rose after his re-election.
It is still unclear how Iranians would react to another Ahmadinejad re-election if it happens.