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Senior Obama adviser allegedly conducting secret talks with Iran

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 7th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

According to the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot, secret talks have been ongoing between senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett and Iran over the past several months. Discussions between the Iranian-born Jarrett and Iranian officials have purportedly been conducted in Bahrain with representatives of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The "story should be taken very seriously," according to Mideast expert Barry Rubin, director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center in Israel. Rubin says the story was leaked by the Israeli paper's defense correspondent, Alex Fishman, who is "considered to be a reliable reporter with good sources in the Israeli government."

Born to American parents in Shiraz, Iran, Jarrett's father worked as a physician. A Chicago lawyer close to Barack and Michelle Obama, Jarrett is a senior adviser to the president and heads the White House Office of Public Engagement.

She took part in a White House roundtable with Iranian-American organizations last July, including the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), a group that advocates "strategic engagement" with Tehran.

"A majority of Iranian Americans support U.S.-Iran diplomacy as the best way to prevent war and address human rights, so the issue was raised at the White House event, but in very broad terms," NIAC spokesman Jamal Abdi says. "There was nothing specific discussed about negotiations and not with Ms. Jarrett."

Abdi voiced skepticism about the latest claim of secret talks.

"I would take these reports with a grain of salt, particularly given the improbability of Bahrain as the location," he said.

This is the second time in recent weeks that Jarrett's name has been linked to alleged discussions with Iran. Reza Kahlili, a former CIA operative who worked in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has cited Iranian regime sources as saying Jarrett had held secret talks with senior Iranians in Qatar.

According to Kahlili's reports, attempts were made to reach agreement on the announcement of a breakthrough in the nuclear standoff before the November 6 U.S. election.

Kahlili said the Iranian team was headed by Ali Akbar Velayati, a former foreign minister. Velayati is a special advisor to the supreme leader on foreign affairs, and a potential candidate in next year's Iranian presidential election.

Velayati is also wanted by Argentinean prosecutors in connection with the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.

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