Despite Israel's opposition, Iran confirms indirect nuclear deal talks with the United States

Tehran's confirmation comes after both countries denied such reports for days, with talks centering around sanction relief from Washington and a potential prisoner swap deal
(קרדיט: ILTV)

Iran is holding indirect talks with the United States through the Sultanate of Oman, including on Americans detained in the country, a diplomatic official in Tehran confirmed on Monday.
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The talks in Muscat, the capital of the Sultanate of Oman, "were not secret", Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said when asked about press reports of progress between Tehran and Washington.
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ג'ו ביידן, איברהים ראיסי והצנטריפוגות
ג'ו ביידן, איברהים ראיסי והצנטריפוגות
Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi and U.S. President Joe Biden
(Photo: AFP, AP)
"In order to stimulate talks on the lifting of" American sanctions against Iran, "we welcomed the efforts of Omani officials and we exchanged messages with the other party through this mediator", he explained during his weekly press conference.
"The talks are continuing in this framework," he said.
Tehran and Washington have not maintained diplomatic relations since 1980 following the Islamic Revolution in Iran.
In recent days, the two capitals have denied media reports that they were close to reaching an interim deal to replace the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, from which the U.S. pulled out in 2018.
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עלי חמינאי
עלי חמינאי
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
"There is no temporary agreement to replace the JCPOA (an acronym for the agreement) and such a thing is not on the agenda," Iran's mission to the UN said on Friday as quoted by Iranian state news agency IRNA. The White House also called the information that appeared in the press "false".
Tehran is seeking relief from sanctions applied by the United States since 2018, which are severely affecting its economy.
Oman's mediation also covers an exchange of prisoners, for which "negotiations are continuing", Kanani reaffirmed. "If the other side shows the same seriousness as us, we can achieve a result in the near future."
At least three Iranian Americans are being held in Iran, including businessman Siamak Namazi, arrested in October 2015 and sentenced to ten years in prison for espionage.
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סיאמק נמאזי איראני אמריקני עצור איראן ריגול
סיאמק נמאזי איראני אמריקני עצור איראן ריגול
Siamak Namazi
(Photo: Reuters)
For its part, Iran reported in 2022 the detention of "dozens" of nationals in the United States, some of whom are accused of having "diverted American sanctions" against Tehran.
In recent weeks, Iran has released six European prisoners and recovered an Iranian diplomat convicted of terrorism and imprisoned in Belgium.
In addition, Kanani denied the announcement by the White House that Iran was providing equipment to Russia to “build a drone factory”.
"We deny any accusations regarding the export of arms to Russia for use in the war against Ukraine," the spokesperson said.
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יואב גלנט ולויד אוסטין
יואב גלנט ולויד אוסטין
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant
(Photo: AFP)
Israeli officials have warned that the prospect of Washington and Tehran reaching a new interim agreement on the latter's nuclear program was increasingly likely.
With this concern in mind, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is set to meet with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Thursday. The meeting will take place in an unspecified European country because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has prohibited his ministers from holding meetings with senior U.S. officials in the United States until he is invited to the White House, a traditional courtesy that U.S. President Joe Biden has yet to extend to him.
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