US holding secret talks with Iran – here’s why

“We have many channels for passing messages to Iran,” a U.S. state department spokesperson said.

By World Israel News Staff

The Biden administration is holding secret, indirect talks with Iran in order to encourage Tehran to rein in Houthi attacks on shipping vessels in the Red Sea, according to a new Financial Times report.

Trained and funded by Iran, the Houthis have repeatedly targeted merchant ships passing near their territory, snarling global supply chains and creating chaos for manufacturers and retailers.

According to the FT report, senior White House officials – including Middle East adviser Brett McGurk and its Iran envoy Abram Paley – led an American delegation to Oman in January.

Iran also sent representatives to Oman at the same time. While the two sides did not sit in the same room for negotiations, Omanis acted as interlocutors transmitting messages between the countries.

A Biden administration official would not confirm or deny that the talks took place.

“We have many channels for passing messages to Iran,” a U.S. state department spokesperson told FT.

They refused to give specifics regarding those channels, “other than to say that, since October 7, all of them have been focused on raising the full range of threats emanating from Iran, and the need for Iran to cease its across-the-board escalation.”

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Despite being widely seen as an Iranian proxy, a Tehran-based official denied that the Islamic Republic has control of the Houthis.

“Iran has repeatedly said it only has a form of spiritual influence [over the Houthis.] They can’t dictate to [them], but they can negotiate and talk,” an Iranian official told FT.

In February, Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, deputy commander of US Central Command (CENTCOM), said that Iranian military officials are “inside Yemen and serving side by side with the Houthis, advising them and providing them with target information.”

He told 60 Minutes that the Iranians are resupplying [the Houthis] as we sit here right now at sea. We know this is happening. They’re advising them, and they’re providing target information. This is crystal clear.”