A top Iranian official has indicated that the Supreme Leader responded to President Obama’s letter last month about nuclear talks and the campaign against the Islamic State.
Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said on Wednesday, “The letters of the American president have a history of some years, and in some instances, there have been responses to these letters.”
The Supreme Leader also responded to a letter written by Obama in early 2009 pursuing “engagement” with Iran. A second letter from Obama did not receive a reply because of the turmoil over the mass protests after Iran’s disputed Presidential election in June 2009.
Obama sent a third letter in 2012 cautioning Iran not to make any move to close off the Straits of Hormuz to shipping.
The President’s letter from October has not been released, but US officials indicated that it was over the talks between Iran and the 5+1 Powers seeking a comprehensive nuclear agreement by November 24. Obama also wrote about the US-led campaign in Iraq and Syria to counter the Islamic State’s offensive.
Israeli officials, claiming to have received the letter from an unidentified source, asserted that Obama had reassured the Supreme Leader over Syria. The President supposedly said that the US aerial intervention against the Islamic State did not point to any American effort to unsettle the Assad regime.
Shamkhani did not refer to specific details in Obama’s letter, that there are “contradictions” between the content and US public positions.
The Iranian official took a firm stance on the issues, saying that Iran would not give up its nuclear rights in the negotiations with the 5+1 Powers. He claimed that Israel’s influence is the “primary reason” for the lack of progress in the talks, with the US “absolute commitment to satisfy” the Israelis.
Regarding Syria, Shamkhani said that the first step is “create calm, prevent the entrance of foreign terrorists into Syria, and cut the financial and military support of terrorists”. The bolstered security would lead to talks with all Syrian factions.
By EA WorldView
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