Iran’s leader the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei shared the news that U.S. President Barack Obama wrote to him, ‘seeking dialogue and engagement between the two nations.’
According to reports, Obama secretly wrote Khamenei in October, describing a shared interest in fighting ISIS terrorists in Iraq and Syria, and tying that shared interest to a need to also work together to limit Tehran’s nuclear program.
Obama’s October letter is the fourth time the U.S. leader has written Iran’s religious leader since taking office in 2009.
Many understand the letter to reveal just how significant Obama considers Iran to be in his military and diplomatic efforts to derail ISIS from its successful conquests over the past several months.
Obama said on Wednesday that his administration has put forward a “framework” plan for a nuclear agreement with Iran. But he warned it was unclear if a deal would be struck by the November 24 deadline.
“We presented to them a framework that would allow them to meet their peaceful energy needs,” Obama said.
It was the first time the US has alluded to a completed framework being on the table, and came just days before John Kerry, US secretary of state, holds fresh negotiations with his Iranian counterpart.
But those on the other side of the political divide from Obama, the very people who are currently riding high on Tuesday’s thumbs up in their direction and thumbs down towards Obama, were not pleased with Obama’s outreach.
The huge Republican victory on Tuesday renewed that team’s belief that there are no deals to be made with the Iranians, and instead wish to simply increase the size of the stick (a/k/a sanctions) against Iran. Iran. Sens. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) have introduced legislation to intensify sanctions.
“The best way to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon is to quickly pass the bipartisan Menendez-Kirk legislation—not to give the Iranians more time to build a bomb,” Mr. Kirk said Wednesday.
House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) expressed concern when asked about the letter sent by Mr. Obama, flatly stating he does not trust the Iranians, and that he believes it is a mistake to partner with them in any way.
The White House did not even tell its Middle East allies about its latest diplomatic love letter to Iran. Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were kept in the dark. All three have recently expressed alarm over rumors that the U.S. is contemplating softening, rather than stiffening, sanctions against Iran.Lori Lowenthal Marcus