WASHINGTON: In a rare outreach to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Barack Obama has written a letter about the fight against Islamic State militants, a common enemy in Syria and Iraq, according to diplomatic sources.
The US and Iran are each engaged in military efforts to degrade the Islamic State group, essentially putting the longtime foes on the same side in the campaign against the extremists. However, the Obama administration has repeatedly insisted that it is not coordinating and will not coordinate its military actions with Iran, though officials from both countries have discussed the matter more broadly.
Obama’s letter to Iran’s powerful religious leader comes against the backdrop of the looming Nov. 24 deadline in nuclear negotiations between the US and Iran, as well as five other world powers. While Obama has previously sent letters to Khamenei, any communication between the two men has been extremely rare.