NPR logo Report: Obama Wrote Letter To Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei About Islamic State

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Report: Obama Wrote Letter To Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei About Islamic State

Citing "people briefed on the correspondence," The Wall Street Journal is reporting that President Obama wrote a letter to Iran's supreme religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei this past October.

The letter, according to the newspaper, was about the U.S.-led fight against the so-called Islamic State.

The Journal reports:

"The letter appeared aimed both at buttressing the Islamic State campaign and nudging Iran's religious leader closer to a nuclear deal.

"Mr. Obama stressed to Mr. Khamenei 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 same people say.

"The October letter marked at least the fourth time Mr. Obama has written Iran's most powerful political and religious leader since taking office in 2009 and pledging to engage with Tehran's Islamist government."

During his regularly scheduled press briefing, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked about the report and responded that he was "not in a position to talk about private correspondence between the president and another world leader."

Earnest said U.S. policy on Iran "remains unchanged" and that the United States has engaged in talks with Iran about its nuclear program and on the sidelines of those talks, it has also addressed the U.S.-led offensive against the Islamic State.

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Earnest said the U.S. "will not cooperate militarily" and will not share intelligence with Iran.