Senior US officials revealed that US President Barack Obama secretly penned a letter to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, urging the Islamic Republic to reach a deal on its nuclear program and join a US-led coalition aimed at combating ISIS.
The letter, revealed by the Wall Street Journal, was sent in mid-October and told Khamenei that the invitation to join the coalition would depend on the outcome of nuclear talks, whose deadline looms close on November 24.
While Obama administration officials did not deny that the president sent the letter, the US failed to inform Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel about the letter. The president’s secret missive is being slammed as a total disregard of security concerns of various countries, especially Israel, and the US’s commitment to a nuclear free Iran.
The report revealed that this is not the first time Obama has written to Khamenei. Since taking office in 2009, the president has penned four letters to Iran’s religious leader.
US lawmakers had some strong words for Obama in wake of the Journal’s revelation. Former Republican presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney had perhaps the hottest criticism of the president.
Speaking at the inaugural Israeli American Council National Conference on Friday, Romney said Obama’s approach to Iran was “naïve” and that the president “continues to diminish himself and America.”
Obama “leads bad people to think America can be pushed around” while being “divisive and dictatorial to our friends,” namely Israel. This type of foreign police is “ineffective and wrong” and proves that the president is “simply inept in dealing with foreign affairs.”
“That the president would write a letter of this nature, in effect legitimizing a nation and a leadership that is violating international norms and is threatening the world, is so far beyond the pale. I was stunned. I was speechless,” Romney said.
Romney advocated that the “right kind of approach in dealing with Iran is that we consider them a pariah, their leaders are shunned and we exert that kind of moral suasion on them.”
Also speaking at the event, former Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Liberman reference the recent “chickenshit” controversy by joking, “I am glad we didn’t have chicken” for dinner.
As nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 draw to a close this month, Obama and his senior administration officials believe that there is only a 50-50 chance that a lasting nuclear agreement will be reached.
With Israel’s warnings echoing in the background over Iran’s true intentions with nuclear technology – specifically attaining a nuclear bomb – the former deputy head of the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) told The Sunday Times that Iran has been lying about how many advanced IR-2m centrifuges it real has.
Iran “could have up to 4,000 to 5,000 centrifuges or raw materials for them” hidden in nuclear plants that IAEA inspectors are forbidden from visiting, Olli Heinonen explained.
He said that any agreement between Iran and the P5+1 should include allowing the IAEA access to all nuclear plants, otherwise it would “make no sense.”
Iran has repeatedly refused IAEA inspectors access to all its nuclear sites, especially the Natanz plant where it is believed that Iran is developing the various components to acquire a nuclear bomb.
With Obama’s letter pleading with Iran to make a deal over its nuclear program, are these signs of a desperate president leading his own country down a path of destruction?