Just weeks after the New York Times reported that the United States and Iran had agreed to one-on-one nuclear talks, and the Obama Administrations’ subsequent denial, Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot reported today that “senior officials in Jerusalem know of secret negotiations taking place between the sides for several months,” and that the talks were initiated by, and are headed by, senior adviser to President Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett, who was born in Iran.
“According to senior sources in Israel,” writes the paper, “the attorney from Chicago serves as the American president’s personal envoy for contacts with representatives of the spiritual leader Khamenei.”
Whilst striving to minimize the communication, the White House did subsequently acknowledge that talks were talking place through a secret channel, stressing however that no meetings were arranged between the sides.
According to the Israeli sources cited by Yediot, Jarrett served, “as the direct and personal envoy of the president to the secret meeting with the Iranians which apparently were held in one of the Persian Gulf emirates, most likely in Bahrain.”
The initial New York Times report claimed that the secret communications were aimed at opening direct talks. “At the Iranians request, the (direct) talks will open – if they open – after the US elections and only if Obama is reelected,” concludes the report.