Join our fight against ISIS, Obama writes to Khamenei

SE­CRET MAIL Let­ter is be­ing seen as an at­tempt to open up a chan­nel with Iran

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - FRONT PAGE - Yash­want Raj let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama wrote Ira­nian supreme leader Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei a se­cret let­ter in Oc­to­ber de­scrib­ing a shared in­ter­est in fight­ing the ISIS jointly. This is the fourth time US pres­i­dent has writ­ten to Ira­nian leader.

WASH­ING­TON: Pres­i­dent Barack Obama wrote Ira­nian supreme leader Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei a se­cret let­ter in Oc­to­ber de­scrib­ing a shared in­ter­est in fight­ing the ISIS jointly. But any co­op­er­a­tion would be con­tin­gent on a com­pre­hen­sive agree­ment over Iran’s nu­clear pro­gramme, ac­cord­ing to The Wall Street Jour­nal, which re­ported the let­ter first.

The White House has nei­ther con­firmed or de­nied the ex­is­tence of the let­ter and re­fused to com­ment on the pres­i­dent’s “pri­vate cor­re­spon­dence” with world lead­ers. But mul­ti­ple me­dia re­ports con­firmed the ex­is­tence of that let­ter cit­ing of­fi­cials and diplo­matic sources, who have also said, US al­lies in the re­gion didn’t get a heads up.

This is Obama’s fourth let­ter to Khamenei — his first was in 2009 — in an on­go­ing ef­fort to en­gage Iran, which led to the start of ne­go­ti­a­tions over Te­heran’s nu­clear plans. There is a diplo­matic dead­line of Novem­ber 24 for the ne­go­tia­tors to ar­rive at a com­pre­hen­sive agree­ment, but, ac­cord­ing to re­ports, it is likely to be ex­tended. “It’s im­moral and shame­ful and some­how we are play­ing foot­sie with the Ira­ni­ans and hope that they will some­how have an ef­fect on ISIS,” said se­na­tor John McCain about Obama’s let­ter in a TV in­ter­view.

AFP

This is the fourth time the US pres­i­dent has writ­ten to the Ira­nian leader.

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