Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Barack Obama’s Secret Letter to Iran Leader

President Barack Obama wrote to Iran’s supreme leader to tell him that cooperation in confronting Sunni Islamist extremists hinged on a successful nuclear deal.

The secret letter, revealed Thursday in a Wall Street Journal report, is the fourth such correspondence between Obama and Ali Khamenei since Obama assumed office in 2009. Iran and the United States do not have formal relations.

According to the newspaper, citing those familiar with the letter, Obama wrote that “any cooperation on Islamic State was largely contingent on Iran reaching a comprehensive agreement with global powers on the future of Tehran’s nuclear program by a Nov. 24 diplomatic deadline.”

The White House would not confirm the correspondence, but spokesman Josh Earnest noted that the Obama administration has already acknowledged that talks between Iranian and U.S. officials on shared concerns about the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have taken place on the sidelines of nuclear talks between Iran and the major powers.

“The United States will not cooperate militarily with Iran in that effort; we won’t share intelligence with them,” Earnest said, referring to the ISIS threat. “But their interests in this outcome is something that’s been widely commented upon and something on a couple of occasions has been discussed on the sidelines of other conversations.”

Khamenei is seen as more reluctant than the Iranian president, Hossein Rouhani, to conclude a deal with the major powers that would keep Iran from reaching nuclear weapons capability in exchange for sanctions relief.





    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.