Report: Secret US-Iran talks influenced Obama’s decision on Syria strike

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More secrets regarding what happened in those years-long “secret talks” between Iran and the U.S. in Oman are being revealed with the newest report detailing the extent to which President Obama may have allowed U.S. foreign policy to have been influenced by them.

According to unnamed sources in Israeli intelligence and security, President Obama’s “last-minute decision not to carry out an intended punitive strike against Syria’s President Bashar Assad this summer, after Assad killed almost 1,500 of his own people with chemical weapons, was influenced by secret US back-channel discussions with Iran,” The Times of Israel reported.

The report said that it’s believed Iran negotiated with Assad to “dismantle his chemical weapons capability in return for Obama not carrying out the intended attack” – the attack Obama announced he would seek Congressional authorization for on Sept. 1.

According to the article:

Friday’s Channel 2 report recalled that the Obama administration was so certain that its forces were about to attack Syria in the chemical weapons crisis at the end of August that US officials telephoned Israel’s prime minister and defense minister to give them “advance warning” the attack was about to take place.

The phone calls were made shortly after Secretary of State John Kerry on August 31 had accused Assad’s regime of an August 21 chemical weapons attack that killed 1,429 Syrians. Israel’s leaders were told explicitly that the US would be taking punitive military action against the Assad regime within 24-48 hours.

Friday’s report said that Kerry personally telephoned Israel’s leaders to inform them of the imminent attack, and that Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague also made such a call. The calls were made so that Israel could take steps to defend itself against any potential Syrian retaliation that might target the Jewish state.

In fact, however, Obama on September 1 surprisingly announced that he would seek Congressional authorization before a strike on Syria.

Ultimately Obama did not carry out the narrow, punitive action he had said he was planning, instead joining a Russian-led initiative for a diplomatic solution aimed at stripping Assad of his chemical weapons.

More on this story from The Times of Israel.

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