Portraying the seriousness of the US campaign in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State, unnamed officials have spoken of a letter from President Obama to the Supreme Leader in mid-October.
The officials, who leaked the story to The Wall Street Journal, may also be portraying US efforts to reach a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran before a November 24 deadline.
The “people briefed on the correspondence” said Obama emphasized that any cooperation over the Islamic State depends on the deal being reached in discussions between Iran and the 5+1 Powers (US, Britain, Germany, France, China, and Russia).
US Secretary of State John Kerry meets Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the European Union’s foreign policy head Catherine Ashton on Sunday in Oman, with a plenary session between Iran and the 5+1 to follow in the next week.
Other “senior Administration officials” would not comment on the letter but did not deny it when questioned by foreign diplomats.
Obama also wrote the Supreme Leader twice in 2009 hoping for an improvement in US-Iran relations. The effort initially received a cautious but welcoming response from Ayatollah Khamenei, but was then checked by mass protests in Iran after the disputed 2009 Presidential election.