Early in his presidency, Barack Obama sent a letter to Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, in an attempt to open dialogue between the two nations. Obama also sent a Nowruz greeting to the Iranian people, and dragged his feet on condemning Khamenei’s suppression of dissent in the wake of a badly-rigged election. Through it all, Iran has remained as intransigent as ever.
If at once you don’t succeed, try, try again:
US President Barack Obama has reportedly sent his second direct message to Iran’s leading authority, the Leader of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Tabnak, a semi-official Iranian news service, on Wednesday said the country’s most prominent political figure has received a second letter, but did not mention the exact date the correspondence had reached Tehran.
Interestingly, Obama has once again bypassed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. This time that seems almost a requirement, but he did the same with his earlier letter, apparently received in the spring, according to this report. Khamenei makes the big decisions, so it makes sense, and we have the satisfaction of giving Ahmadinejad that diplomatic snub.
The Iranian report also says that Khamenei responded with “argumentation,” which sounds like a diplomatic way of saying rejection. If so, that would explain why the White House didn’t publicize it. What exactly did Obama propose, and what exactly did Khamenei reject? Shouldn’t that be part of the dialogue about what to do with Iran now?
That also raises the question of what Obama says in the new letter. Did he make concessions based on Khamenei’s earlier response? Or did Obama figure that Khamenei might be more pliable after having a worse summer than even Obama did? (h/t HA reader Damian A)
Update: Jake Tapper can’t get a comment out of the White House on this story.