Friday, August 7, 2015
Senior Iranian Official Reveals Details About Secret Talks between Ahmadinejad and The Obama'Admin'.
Senior Iranian Official Reveals Details About Secret Talks between Ahmadinejad and The Obama'Admin'. (Rferl).
Iranian President Hassan Rohani has been credited with easing tensions between Tehran and Washington and helping secure a nuclear deal with world powers last month in Vienna.
But after he came to power in 2013, the self-proclaimed moderate was stunned to learn that secret talks between the two countries -- which ultimately paved the way for the accord -- had begun at least two years earlier, according to former Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi.
"When Rohani learned about the details of the talks, he couldn’t believe it," Salehi, who currently heads Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, was quoted as saying in an interview published this week by the daily Iran newspaper.
The Associated Press first revealed the unprecedented secret exchanges between Tehran and Washington in a November 2013 report that said meetings between mid-level U.S. and Iranian officials began in 2011 in Oman.
But Salehi’s interview, published on August 4, provides the most detailed account of the talks divulged by an Iranian official to date.
He said that the exchanges were conducted with the blessing of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and initiated via several messages from U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration that were delivered to Iran by Omani officials.
These included a handwritten note that Salehi says he did not take seriously at first.
According to Salehi, Khamenei set several conditions for the secret talks: Negotiators should only focus on the nuclear issue and aim for immediate, concrete results rather than talking for the sake of talking.
Khamenei, who is deeply suspicious of the United States, also said that Iran’s demands, including “its right to enrich uranium,” should be pursued in the talks, Salehi added.
After Khamenei gave the green light, disagreements remained among Iran’s decision makers, according to Salehi.
An initial meeting nevertheless took place sometime in 2012 in an undisclosed location in the Omani capital of Muscat, he said.
Iran had sent a delegation led by the then-deputy foreign minister for European and American affairs, Ali Asghar Khaji, according to Salehi’s account.
The U.S. delegation was led by Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, who has since retired, he said.
"The Americans were astonished in the first session. They said: 'We can't believe this is happening. We thought Oman was joking; we’re not ready to talk to you!'" Salehi said in the interview.
Hmmmm.......The Talks did not start because they were 'Moderates' ; they were negotiating with Ahmadinejad while he was advocating a world without Israel or Zionism.......'High crimes and misdemeanors'. Read the full 'story' here.