White House Says Policy Unchanged

White House Says Policy Unchanged
White House Says Policy Unchanged

The US policy toward Iran has not changed, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in response to a report claiming US President Barack Obama had written a letter to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei about the campaign against Islamic State (IS) militants.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Obama sent a letter to the Leader last month describing a shared interest in fighting IS militants in Iraq and Syria. Earnest said he could not comment on private correspondence between Obama and a world leader, Reuters reported.  

"I'm not in a position to discuss private correspondence between the president and any world leader," he said at a White House briefing. "I can tell you that the policy that the president and his administration have articulated about Iran remains unchanged."

Earnest said the United States had discussed the campaign against Islamic State with Tehran on the sidelines of negotiations concerning Iran's nuclear program but gave no details.

"The United States will not cooperate militarily with Iran in that effort," he said of the fight against Islamic State. "We won't share intelligence with them. But their interests in the outcome is something that's been widely commented on and something that on a couple of occasions has been discussed on the sidelines of other conversations."

Ayatollah Khamenei on September 15 said Iran had refused a US invitation to cooperate in fighting IS.   

“The American ambassador in Iraq asked our ambassador (in Iraq) for a session to discuss coordinating a fight against Daesh (Islamic State),” IRNA quoted him as saying.

“Our ambassador in Iraq reflected this to us, which was welcomed by some officials, but I was opposed. I saw no point in cooperating with a country whose hands are dirty and intentions murky."

He said it was Iran’s choice not to work with the United States.

"Now they (the US) are lying, in saying that it is them who excluded us from their coalition, while it was Iran that refused to participate in this coalition to begin with."