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Israeli website reports ‘secret’ US-Iran talks to address tensions in Middle East

US and Iranian officials reportedly engaged in "secret" talks in Oman to address escalating tensions in the Middle East, according to an Israeli website. The discussions, facilitated by Oman, included US representatives Brett McGurk and Abram Paleya, focusing on regional stability amid concerns over Iran's influence and its nuclear program.

Anadolu Agency DIPLOMACY
Published May 18,2024

US and Iranian officials held "secret" talks in Oman to address the escalating tensions in the Middle East, an Israeli website reported on Saturday.

Quoting two unnamed sources, the Walla website said: "On Tuesday, the United States and Iran held secret talks in Oman regarding the escalation in the Middle East."

"The secret talks were attended on the American side by Brett McGurk, President Joe Biden's senior adviser for Middle East affairs; and US envoy for Iran Abram Paleya," according to the website.

The website, however, did not mention the identities of the Iranian officials who met with the US officials.

This is the first round of indirect talks between the two parties since last January, when a similar meeting was held in Oman, it said.

Walla said that the indirect negotiations were held under the mediation of Oman, about a month after Iran's unprecedented attack on Israel, and that the US administration was trying to prevent the crisis in the Middle East from turning into a regional war.

Iran carried out an attack on Israel on April 14 using hundreds of missiles and drones, which Tel Aviv claimed to have "successfully" thwarted with the assistance of its international allies.

The website said: The United States believes that Iran wields considerable influence over its proxies and allies across the region. These entities encompass Hezbollah in Lebanon, militias in Syria and Iraq engaged in attacks against American forces, and the Houthis in Yemen, who continue to target ships in the Red Sea," the website said.

"The United States outlined during the discussions the potential repercussions of operations for Iran and its proxies in the region, while also expressing concerns about the escalation of the Iranian nuclear program," it quoted the sources as saying.

There were no official statements from either Iran or Oman regarding the talks and the White House and the US State Department declined to comment on the report, though they did not explicitly deny it, according to the website.

Israel continued its brutal offensive on the Gaza Strip despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in the enclave.

Nearly 35,400 Palestinians have since been killed, the vast majority of whom have been women and children, and more than 79,300 others injured since last October following a Hamas attack.

More than seven months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel is accused of "genocide" at the International Court of Justice, which has ordered Tel Aviv to ensure its forces do not commit acts of genocide and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.