President Barack Obama reportedly wrote a secret letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last month in an effort to express their shared interest in fighting against Islamic extremists – a move that one congressional source reportedly told Fox News “f***s up everything.”
In the letter, Obama reportedly made it clear that the two nations could cooperate in fighting against ISIS as long as Khamenei agreed to a deal to end its nuclear program, reports The Wall Street Journal. The deadline date for the deal is reportedly Nov. 24.
While many Washington insiders are still unable to confirm the letter even exists, one source says it’s plausible because “we’ve seen [the president] do it before, so there is [a] precedent.” This is reportedly the fourth time Obama has written to Khamenei since taking office.
The same source claims this is a major setback to their efforts to unite with Sunni-led Arab states in their fight against ISIS because Iran’s government is Shiite-led.
On Thursday, Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina released a joint statement in which they chastised the president for this move, saying it was “outrageous that, while the cries of moderate Syrian forces for greater U.S. assistance fall on deaf ears in the White House, President Obama is apparently urging Ayatollah Khamenei to join the fight against ISIS.”
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the U.S. policy toward Iran is “unchanged,” but would not confirm whether Obama sent the letter.
“I’m not in a position to discuss private correspondence between the president and any world leader,” Earnest said. “The United States will not cooperate militarily with Iran in that effort [against ISIS]. We won’t share intelligence with them. But their interests in the outcome is something that’s been widely commented on … and something that on a couple of occasions has been discussed on the sidelines of other conversations.”