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Report: Obama Arranging Tehran Visit for Next Year

10:46 AM, Dec 2, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
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The Kuwaiti news outlet Al-Jarida reports that President Obama is seeking to arrange a trip to Tehran, Iran next year.

Obama in Cairo

Obama in Cairo

The headline of the article reads, "Obama would like to visit Tehran, official invitation after details resolved."

"Al-Jarida has learned from a U.S. diplomat that President Barack Obama is seeking to visit Tehran in the middle of next year," the report reads, based on a translation using Google Translate.

"The source said that the desire to visit is shared, and that Tehran and Washington are waiting for the conclusion of the arrangements prior to Iranian President Hassan Rohani issuing an official invitation to his American counterpart to visit Tehran.

"He pointed out that the most important detail that is outstanding regarding the meeting is the question of a meeting with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the possibility of not holding the meeting.

"The source said that Obama was waiting for the invitation to devote his new administration's policy in the region based on the principle of non-military involvement and balance. He wants to be the first U.S. president to visit Iran since the Khomeini revolution in order to show that he is an advocate of peace and dialogue even with those who chant death to America."

The article was originally published in Arabic.

A State Department spokeswoman did not respond to a request for confirmation of the Al-Jarida report.

But in an email, one former high ranking U.S. national security official says, "I don't believe it."

Last weekend, President Obama, in announcing a nuclear deal between the U.S., other countries, and Iran, said, "the United States -- together with our close allies and partners -- took an important first step toward a comprehensive solution that addresses our concerns with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear program." 

Obama concluded those remarks by saying, "Ultimately, only diplomacy can bring about a durable solution to the challenge posed by Iran’s nuclear program.  As President and Commander-in-Chief, I will do what is necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.  But I have a profound responsibility to try to resolve our differences peacefully, rather than rush towards conflict.  Today, we have a real opportunity to achieve a comprehensive, peaceful settlement, and I believe we must test it.

"The first step that we’ve taken today marks the most significant and tangible progress that we’ve made with Iran since I took office.  And now we must use the months ahead to pursue a lasting and comprehensive settlement that would resolve an issue that has threatened our security -- and the security of our allies -- for decades.  It won’t be easy, and huge challenges remain ahead.  But through strong and principled diplomacy, the United States of America will do our part on behalf of a world of greater peace, security, and cooperation among nations."

UPDATE: The White House is denying the Al-Jarida report, according to the Hill:

The White House on Monday categorically denied a report that President Obama is planning a trip to Iran next year. 

“There is no truth to this report,” National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden told The Hill in an email.

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