Oman mediating for US on Iran nuclear deal: report

Neither the U.S. nor Omani governments announced the Biden official’s visit to Oman, underscoring the clandestine nature of the ongoing discussions.

By World Israel News Staff

Senior officials from the Biden administration are working closely with the Omani government to broker a deal to stymie Iran’s rapidly developing nuclear program, as talks to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement appear to have failed.

According to a report from Axios, Biden’s senior Middle East adviser Brett McGurk flew to Oman earlier in May to hold a face-to-face meeting with Omani officials. McGurk reportedly discussed using Omani officials as a proxy for outreach aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear program.

Notably, neither the U.S. nor Omani governments announced McGurk’s visit, underscoring the clandestine nature of the ongoing discussions.

“The Omanis are holding proximity talks between the U.S. and Iran,” a senior Israeli official told Axios. The term “proximity talks” refers to negotiations conducted via a third-party mediator, without the two countries speaking directly with each other.

A senior European diplomat confirmed to Axios that the “U.S. is working with the Omanis on the Iranian issue.”

Axios also reported that the U.S. has floated the possibility of an interim agreement, which would see the Biden administration suspend aspects of the sanctions currently crippling the Iranian economy in exchange for a pledge to freeze elements of their nuclear program.

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“The Americans want a time out,” another Israeli official told Axios.

Israel’s security apparatus is highly concerned about that scenario, as they believe that lifting the sanctions on Iran could facilitate the streamlining of the program, and they doubt that Tehran would hold up its end of the bargain.

Israeli Minister for Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer and National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi are expected to mention their opposition to an interim deal during an upcoming visit to Washington.

A White House National Security Council spokesperson flatly denied the report, saying that “there is no U.S. discussion of an interim deal and no discussion of sanctions relief, or closing safeguards cases.”