President Barack Obama's secret letter to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was hurting U.S. relations with its allies in the Middle East who had joined the American-led coalition to fight the Islamic State (ISIS), House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
Last month, Obama reportedly sent a secret letter to Khamenei suggesting the U.S. and Iran held a "shared interest in fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria" that could influence negotiations over their nuclear weapons program, according to The Wall Street Journal.
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"I can tell you that it is causing real problems with our Sunni Arab League partners in the fight against ISIS. It's really concerning," the Michigan Republican said Friday. "This is causing real strains with our Arab League partners, who have been good partners in this fight."
Iran was involved in activities to "overthrow the governments" in Middle East countries, including Iraq and Yemen, Rogers said, adding that allies in the U.S.-led coalition battling ISIS were questioning why the Obama administration was choosing to negotiate with Teheran.
"The folks who are seeing [this], who are pushing back and trying to be helpful with ISIS, are looking at the United States and scratching their heads, and saying, 'Wait a minute. We're getting overrun by these folks. They're up to absolutely malicious activity right here in our own neighborhoods. And, you want to sit down and negotiate with them? This is dangerous,'" he said.
Rogers said White House officials could also be forgetting the "consequence of a nuclear Iran," as other countries in the region could look to do the same.
"Sunni-led countries have said, 'If Iran, a Shia country, gets a nuclear weapon, we're going to get a nuclear weapon.' And, by doing this wrong, you proliferate a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that should bring a bead of sweat to all our foreheads," he said.
It was important to "pick your friends in these types of fights," Rogers said, stressing that "just because the enemy of your enemy sometimes wants to help you, doesn't mean they're still not your adversary."
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