Susan Rice, President Barack Obama’s national security advisor, made clear on Friday that the United States is not engaged in military coordination with Iran in countering the Islamic State (ISIS) in the Middle East, Reuters reported.
Rice, at a White House briefing, responded to a report that Obama had written a letter to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei about Islamic State by saying, "We are in no way engaged in any coordination - military coordination - with Iran on countering ISIS."
According to Thursday’s report in the Wall Street Journal, Obama told Khamenei in the letter that cooperation on ISIS depends on an agreement being reached by the November 24 deadline regarding Iran's nuclear program, which Israel has warned aims to build nuclear weapons.
This is in fact the fourth time Obama has written Khamenei since taking office in 2009.
White House spokesman John Earnest later refused to comment about whether Obama had indeed written such a letter, and would only reiterate that Washington’s policy toward Iran has not changed.
"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.
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.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)