The Wall Street Journal reported last week that President Obama wrote a secret letter to Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei about a month ago. According to the report, President Obama’s letter emphasized to the Supreme Leader that their nations’ cooperation in the fight against ISIL, a common enemy, would be conditional on a nuclear deal between Iran and global powers by Nov. 24, a diplomatic deadline that was extended by four months back in July. Officials from the United States, Iran and the European Union are currently meeting in Oman to discuss Iran’s nuclear policy, and recent reports indicate that Iran is optimistic that a deal will be reached by the Nov. 24 deadline.
White House spokesman John Earnest refused to discuss, or even acknowledge, the letter, but did say that the United States will not “cooperate militarily” or “share intelligence” with Iran, a sentiment echoed by Gen. Lloyd Austin, the head of U.S. Central Command. The reported letter has led to criticism from Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham who said in a joint statement, “The administration needs to understand that this Iranian regime cares more about trying to weaken America and push us out of the Middle East than cooperating with us.”