Exclusive: Bill Clinton's office checked with State Dept. on paid speech to group with Tehran ties

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An aide to Bill Clinton asked the State Department in 2012 about the former president potentially delivering a paid speech to an Iranian government-tied group that has pushed for an end to all U.S. sanctions against Tehran, according to an email exclusively obtained by Fox News.

The email request, in June 2012, came during a sensitive time for then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that in July 2012, one of her top aides, Jake Sullivan, started meeting in secret with Iranian diplomats in talks that helped paved the way for the nuclear deal with Tehran.

The email from the former president's office was sent on June 4, 2012, from an aide to Bill Clinton to three aides for then-Secretary Clinton, including Sullivan as well as State Department chief of staff Cheryl Mills. It concerned an event in the U.S. hosted by the National Iranian American Council.

"Would USG have any concerns about WJC doing a paid speech for [the] National Iranian American Council ('NIAC')?" Ami Desai, an aide to the former president, wrote. "We have been approached by the National Iranian American Council ('NIAC') for President Clinton to speak at a fundraising gala they are putting on."

The gala was described by the group at the time as a “first and only of its kind” event bringing Iranian Americans to Washington, D.C. “to learn about government, meet with key policymakers and influencers and network with their fellow NIAC members.”

The email was obtained through a lawsuit by conservative activist and Clinton critic David Bossie of Citizens United, which has recently shared with the media several emails about the vetting process for Bill Clinton's speaking requests.

Fox News and other media outlets have previously obtained emails showing an aide to Bill Clinton vetted with the State Department possible paid speaking gigs in North Korea and the Republic of the Congo – an event that would have included notorious Democratic Republic of the Congo leader Joseph Kabila.

In the end, Bill Clinton did not deliver those speeches, or the one with the National Iranian American Council.

An official with the former president's office stressed to Fox on Tuesday that the previous stories about his speech requests have been mischaracterized as him pushing to do these controversial speeches.

"As we've said before, as a matter of course, all requests were run by the State Department," said an official in the former president's office. "And most importantly, ultimately, the President did not give this speech."

The National Iranian American Council, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit group which was founded in 2002, has denied being a lobbying group for the Islamic Republic of Iran, though the group has been an outspoken critic of U.S. sanctions on Iran.