by Barry Rubin
The Obama Administration is secretly negotiating with Iran and the effort is being headed by no less than presidential advisor on domestic affairs Valerie Jarrett, an old friend of Obama’s who is widely viewed as the closest friend of the president. The exchanges are reportedly being held in Bahrain.
Jarrett was born in Iran of American parents who were doctors there but they returned to the United States when she was five years old. She has no actual foreign policy experience or special knowledge about the country and its Islamist regime. The story was broken by Alex Fishman, defense correspondent of Yediot Aharnot, Israel’s largest newspaper. Fishman is considered to be a reliable reporter with good sources in the Israeli government.
While the story’s Hebrew-language version says the information comes from Israeli officials that passage was not included in the English-language version. Perhaps this change was an attempt to make it seem less confrontational toward Obama on the eve of the election. But the story should be taken very seriously.
Earlier, the New York Times, citing senior administration officials, reported that such secret talks were being conducted. The Obama government officially denied the story.
The intention is to conduct serious talks with Iran once the U.S. elections are finished, certainly if Obama wins but perhaps during the period leading up to his departure from the White House on January 20 if he doesn’t.
Israel, however, was not informed about these talks. Perhaps in connection with this situation, a super-hardline Iranian commander of the Basij paramilitary group denounced secret talks with the United States.