Iran denies Supreme Leader sent letter to President Obama responding to U.S. offer of regional role


The Iranian government denied on Monday that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had recently sent a letter to President Barack Obama. The Wall Street Journal ran a story on Friday that Khamenei has written secret letters to the President, one in response to a secret letter from President Obama last October and the other in 2009. In October, President Obama reportedly offered to cooperate with Iran in the region, contingent upon a nuclear agreement, and assured Iran that the U.S. would not attack the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Despite the  seemingly conciliatory tone allegedly struck by Khamenei in the letter, he has openly called the United States “Satan” and said last August that Iran is willing to cooperate with any country “with two exceptions: the Zionist regime and the U.S.” Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, was quoted in the Journal saying, “Khamenei has had a three-part approach toward the nuclear talks. Support the negotiations, undermine the negotiations with impossible redlines, and prepare the country for a ‘resistance economy,’ which implies no deal.”

In Bloomberg View, reporter Eli Lake observed that making an accommodation with Iran would be a mistake because of Iran’s aggression and support for terrorism. The Iranian regime and its proxy Hezbollah have targeted Israelis and Jews abroad for years, in countries from Argentina to Thailand. Iran housed al-Qaeda operatives after 9/11, including high-ranking leader Saif al-Adel. It has propped up the Assad regime in Syria, has extended its influence in Iraq via Shiite militias, and is making inroads in Yemen through the Shiite Houthi militants. An Iranian- and Hezbollah-led offensive is currently underway southwest of Damascus. The Washington Post reported on Sunday that Shiite militias in Iraq, who number 100,000 to 120,000 men, have taken over the fight against ISIS in that country: “They are also entrenching Iran’s already substantial hold over Iraq in ways that may prove difficult to reverse. Backed and in some instances armed and funded by Iran, the militias openly proclaim allegiance to Tehran.” In Yemen, the Houthis have taken over the government, forced the closure of Western and Saudi embassies, and are now poised to launch an offensive on oil-rich Mareb province. Iranian leaders have openly declared their support for the Houthis. A high-ranking military officer bragged last month that Iran’s border now stretched to Sanaa and declared that the Houthis’ victory was a “historic victory for the Iranian Islamic revolution.”


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