White House denies report Obama planning Iran visit

Olivier Knox
Yahoo News
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The White House on Monday denied that President Barack Obama is trying to arrange what would be a history-making trip to Iran in 2014.

Via the Weekly Standard, the Al Jarida newspaper of Kuwait reported that Obama hopes to visit Tehran in the middle of next year. The source for the Arabic-language report was an unnamed diplomat.

“There is no truth to this report,” National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden told Yahoo News by email.

The report came after the United States and other world powers signed an interim deal with Iran that aims to pave the way for a broader accord ending fears over Tehran’s nuclear program. Washington and its global partners have asserted that the Islamic Republic wants to develop the ability to build nuclear weapons, something Iran strongly denies.

In September, Obama held a groundbreaking telephone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the first direct conversation between leaders of the two countries since Iran's Islamic revolution in 1979.

While Obama aides say they hope that ongoing diplomatic efforts will result in an agreement that banishes fears of a nuclear-armed Iran, they have privately expressed profound caution about Tehran’s intentions and activities and warned against irrational exuberance.