The Iranian government denied reports that the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wrote a secret letter to U.S. President Barack Obama, calling them part of an “unprofessional media game,” according to local media reports. In a report published Friday, The Wall Street Journal had cited an unnamed Iranian diplomat who claimed that Khamenei had written to Obama in “recent weeks” in response to a letter sent out earlier by the U.S. President.
“This claim by the American newspaper, Wall Street Journal, is an unprofessional media ploy,” Marzieh Afkham, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson, said, according to a report by Press TV, Iran’s state-owned news agency. However, she added that Khamenei had, in the past, responded to some of the letters sent out earlier by Obama.
“The U.S. president has a record of sending letters and in some cases Iran responded to his letters,” she reportedly said. “There is no new letter in question.”
The Journal had reported that the letter in question was written in response to a presidential letter sent out by Obama in October last year. Obama’s letter had reportedly raised the possibility of a cooperation with Iran to combat the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq. According to Iranian diplomat quoted by the Journal, Khamenei’s response was “respectful but noncommittal.”
In November, Iran had said that it had written back in response to letters sent by Obama. However, it was not clear whether Khamenei himself wrote those letters.
Although the exact contents and timings of the correspondence remain unclear, the Journal reported that Khamenei had raised an array of historic grievances against the U.S., including America’s support to Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi -- who was ousted during the 1979 Islamic Revolution -- in his response to Obama's letter.