Tehran's 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 yesterday.

"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 added. "We hope with a resolute cooperation among all peace-loving nations, terrorism will be rooted out," they said.

Iranian leaders from reformist to conservatives have strongly condemned the attack in an unprecedented show of sympathey with their long-time enemy. The United States has described Iran's response to the attack as "positive".