WASHINGTON (JTA) – President Obama reportedly relayed a message to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei challenging the Iranian supreme leader to prove his assertion that Iran does not want a nuclear weapon.
Obama sent the message last week through Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a Washington Post foreign policy columnist reported on Friday.
"Obama advised Erdogan that the Iranians should realize that time is running out for a peaceful settlement and that Tehran should take advantage of the current window for negotiations," columnist David Ignatius wrote. "Obama didn’t specify whether Iran would be allowed to enrich uranium domestically as part of the civilian program the United States would endorse. That delicate issue evidently would be left for the negotiations that are supposed to start April 13, at a venue yet to be decided."
Khamenei recently reiterated a claim dating back to the first supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, that the pursuit of nuclear weapons is banned by Islamic law.