U.S.: Despite Peres Plea, Obama Not Weighing Release of Israeli Spy

White House official confirms U.S. President received personal missive from President Peres, adding that Washington's position on granting clemency to Jonathan Pollard 'has not changed.'

The White House confirmed on Tuesday that it received President Shimon Peres' letter to U.S. Barack President Obama regarding the release of the Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, as one U.S. official indicated, however, that the American president's position on the issue "has not changed."

On Monday, before President Obama received and read the letter, AP reported that the White House said the position on Pollard hasn't changed. The Israeli lobby for Pollard's release said it hoped the position will be different after Obama read the letter, but the U.S. administration's position stayed the same today.

pollard - AP - June 20 2011

Speaking on Tuesday, however, a top U.S. official indicated that that was not the case, and that the American president would not consider granting clemency to the convicted spy.

"We have now received President Peres's letter," the White House official said, adding that "president Obama appreciates hearing his views and looks forward to their next meeting. Regarding Mr. Pollard the administration's position has not changed."

In a statement released by Peres on Monday, the president thanked Obama for what he said was the friendliness his administration has shown Israel, citing the Passover seder the American president held last week at the White House, and reiterating the importance of the value of freedom to the Jewish holiday.

Peres updated his U.S. counterpart on a conversation he conducted a few days ago with Esther Pollard, the convicted spy's wife, stressing that the Pollard family, as well as the Jewish people, were concerned about Pollard's health.

The president sent the missive after receiving a petition signed by 80 MKs, urging Obama to release the Jewish spy, as well as intense pressure from the lobby working to secure Pollard's release ahead of Peres' White House visit planned for June.