Author Topic: Obama Sent A Letter To Iran's Supreme Leader Tying The ISIS Fight To A Nuclear D  (Read 1592 times)

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Offline mayya

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Obama Sent A Letter To Iran's Supreme Leader Tying The ISIS Fight To A Nuclear Deal

Thomson ReutersIran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks live on television after casting his ballot in the Iranian presidential election in Tehran

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - US President Barack Obama sent a secret letter to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last month stressing the two countries' shared interest in fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The letter in mid-October said cooperation between the United States and Iran on combating the militant group was tied to a deal being reached between Iran and other nations on its nuclear program.

But the Obama administration has long denied that there is any connection between the nuclear negotiations, which will continue in Vienna later this month in advance of a Nov. 24 deadline for an agreement, and the host of other matters bearing on relations between the US and Iran.
In January, an unnamed administration official told a conference call of journalists that "we’ve always said that the nuclear negotiations were totally separate from other issues." After Israel intercepted an Iranian weapons shipment in March, White House press secretary Jay Carney emphasized that Iranian support for terrorism wouldn't be relevant to nuclear negotiations.

On Sept. 26, a senior administration official denied that the fight against ISIS was in any way relevant to the nuclear negotiations. "These are two separate issues," the unnammed official said during a special briefing after a high-level meeting between US, EU, and Iranian officials. "The nuclear negotiation is being negotiated on its own terms.

The US government still considers Iran a state sponsor of terorrism over its support for Hezbollah and Hamas, and its creation of a safe haven for Al Qaeda operatives within its borders.

Even so, the fight against ISIS has brought a new level of cooperation between the US and Iran that the White House may be using to push a comprehensive nuclear deal across the finish line. A deal could be an especially urgent priority for the administration, given this week's election of a new Republican-controlled senate that could stall the implementation of a deal — but that won't be sworn in until January.

Obama administration officials declined to discuss the letter with the Journal.
"Administration officials didn’t deny the letter’s existence when questioned by foreign diplomats in recent days," it said.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Bill Trott)