White House Denies Reports that Obama will Visit Iran in 2014
The White House has denied a report from Kuwaiti news outlet Al-Jarida claiming that US President Barack Obama is planning a 2014 visit to Tehran, according to USA Today Monday.
Maariv notes that the report said that both Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani suggested the meeting, and that Obama is also scheduled to meet with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
An unnamed Kuwaiti source said that Obama "wants to be the first U.S. president to visit Iran since the Khamenei revolution to show that he is an advocate of peace and dialogue - even with those who sing 'Death to America.'"
The White House denied the claims late Monday. "There is no truth to this report," said Caitlin Hayden, spokesperson for the National Security Council.
Jimmy Carter was the last U.S. president to visit Iran, before the Islamic revolution in 1979 and the subsequent hostage crisis.
Last month, a controversial deal was reached between Iran and world powers P5+1 in Geneva, which exchanges an easing of sanctions for Iran's commitment to slow down its uranium enrichment program. The aftermath has been a number of revelations about the deal, including that Obama traded an Iranian antiquity in order to talk to Rouhani, and that the Obama administration had been working with Iran secretly for months.
Israeli officials not only back Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's claims that the move was a "historic mistake," but have also been concerned about reports from experts claiming that the deal still allows Iran to build a nuclear weapon in just over a month.
Iran and world powers may meet again this week to discuss implementation of the agreement.