From the Oval Office, U.S. President Barack Obama speaks on the phone with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sept. 27, 2013. Credit: Pete Souza/White House.
(JNS.org) U.S. President Barack Obama reportedly sent a letter to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in mid-October expressing their shared interest in the fight against Islamic State jihadists in Syria and Iraq.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the letter—which left Israel and America’s Arab allies out of the loop—was aimed at strengthening the campaign against Islamic State and urging Iran to sign a nuclear deal.
In the letter, Obama stressed to Khamenei that any cooperation on combating Islamic State terror would be contingent on Iran reaching a comprehensive nuclear deal with the P5+1 powers (U.S., U.K., France, Russia, China, and Germany) by the Nov. 24 deadline for an agreement.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the White House did not tell Israel or Arab allies such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates—the latter two of whom joined the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State—about the letter. All three countries have expressed deep concern over recent reports that the U.S. may be softening its deal with Iran to allow it to retain some portions of its nuclear program such as uranium enrichment. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that any deal with Iran must include a complete dismantling of its nuclear program.
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) expressed concern over Obama’s letter to Khamenei.
“I don’t trust the Iranians, I don’t think we need to bring them into this,” he said.
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