October 25, 2021

Iranian Official Confirms that Obama Sent Letter to Ayatollah Khamenei

On Sunday evening the Wall St. Journal reported that an Iranian official confirmed that United States President Barack Obama sent a personal letter to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei urging joint cooperation against the Islamic State. The letter, first reported on November 6th, had yet to be publicly recognized. Reports the Journal‘s Jay Solomon:


Iranian officials confirmed that Mr. Obama reached out directly to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a mid-October letter that emphasized shared interests in combating the Islamist militants who have seized territory in Iraq and Syria.

But responses from Tehran suggested continued divisions inside Iran’s leadership on how to respond to the U.S. Adding unpredictability are last week’s U.S. midterm elections, in which Republicans took control of the Senate. Lawmakers have said that could clear the way for long-stalled legislation that would crack down on Iran and add to the weight of U.S. sanctions.

The official is Ali Khoram, an advisor to Iranian nuclear negotiator Javad Zarif:

Ali Khoram, an adviser to Mr. Zarif, was the first Iranian official to confirm the reception of the letter, which was revealed by The Wall Street Journal in an article on Thursday.

Mr. Khoram told the Arabic daily, Asharq al-Aswat, that Mr. Obama’s outreach could aid the nuclear diplomacy and the U.S.’s campaign against Islamic State. The October letter is believed to be the fourth Mr. Obama has sent to Iran’s supreme leader since taking office in 2009.

“These diplomatic correspondences have had a positive impact on Iran’s top leadership and are essential in changing attitudes to reach an agreement, although the [latest] letter is solely concerned with mutual interests in combating [ISIS],” Mr. Khoram said.

Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee for president in 2012, was highly critical of Obama for the decision to write a letter to the Iranian leader. “I was frankly stunned that the president of the United States would write a letter of that nature and in effect, legitimize a nation and a leadership which is violating international norms and is threatening the world,” he explained at an event of Friday. “To suggest that we might somehow work together is something which is so far beyond the pale, I was speechless as I heard about it. I simply can’t understand it.”