White House Won't Comment on Obama Letter to Khamenei

White House spokesman says policy toward Iran remains unchanged, refuses to address report that Obama wrote to Khamenei.

Elad Benari,

White House spokesman Josh Earnest
White House spokesman Josh Earnest
Reuters

The White House would not comment on Thursday on reports that President Barack Obama had written a letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei about the campaign against the Islamic State, and would only reiterate that Washington’s policy toward Iran has not changed.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Obama sent a letter to the Iranian leader last month describing their shared interested regarding Islamic State (ISIS).

According to Reuters, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said he could not comment on private correspondence between Obama and a world leader.

"I'm not in a position to discuss private correspondence between the president and any world leader," he said at a White House briefing.

"I can tell you that the policy that the president and his administration have articulated about Iran remains unchanged," added Earnest.

The White House spokesman noted that the United States had discussed the campaign against ISIS with Tehran on the sidelines of negotiations concerning Iran's nuclear program but gave no details.

"The United States will not cooperate militarily with Iran in that effort," he said of the fight against ISIS, according to Reuters. "We won't share intelligence with them. But their interests in the outcome is something that's been widely commented on - commented upon and something that on a couple of occasions has been discussed on the sidelines of other conversations."

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, asked in a separate briefing about the reported letter, said he did not trust Iran's leaders and did not think they should be brought into the fight against ISIS.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Obama wrote to Khamenei in the letter that cooperation on ISIS depends on an agreement being reached by the November 24 deadline regarding Iran's nuclear program.

This is in fact the fourth time Obama has written Khamenei since taking office in 2009.

Khamenei has called for Israel's destruction, and last month around the time of Obama's letter blamed America for creating ISIS, while Iran's Revolutionary Guards recently clarified America remains its number one enemy

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last month backtracked and wouldn't rule out military cooperation with Iran on ISIS, after earlier saying such cooperation was out of the question. 

According to reports, though Iran initially rejected the notion of such cooperation against ISIS, with Khamenei saying he rejected the idea because of Washington’s “dirty hands”, Tehran later said it would consider it - in return for a good deal in the nuclear talks.








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