Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

US, Iran in Secret Discussions on Nuclear Program: Report - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is seen during an official meeting with Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo in Tehran (R)

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is seen during an official meeting with Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo in Tehran (R)

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States and Iran have been conducting secret back-channel discussions on Tehran’s nuclear program and frozen relations between the two countries, The Independent reported Monday.

The British newspaper quotes former US under secretary of state Thomas Pickering as saying that a group of former US diplomats and foreign policy experts had been meeting with Iranian academics and policy advisers “in a lot of different places, although not in the US or Iran” for the past five years.

“Some of the Iranians were connected to official institutions inside Iran,” Pickering told the paper.

Last week, the United States warned Iran it risked further isolation and new international sanctions after refusing to comply with UN Security Council resolutions over its disputed nuclear program.

The West fears Iran could use enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon, and Tehran’s refusal to suspend the process has been punished with three sets of UN Security Council sanctions resolutions and US pressure on its banking system.

The US government is hoping the sanctions will put increasing popular pressure on the Iranian leadership, with which it does not have diplomatic relations.

The Independent reported that the contact group was put together by the UN Association of the USA and facilitated by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, a think-tank chaired by former chief UN weapons inspector Rolf Ekeus.

“We discussed what’s going on domestically in both countries and wide-ranging issues,” The Independent quoted Pickering as saying.

He added that although none of the group members was from the US or Iranian governments, “each side kept their officials informed,” according to the British paper.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad meets with Filipino Foreign Minister Alberto Romulo in Tehran (AFP)

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad meets with Filipino Foreign Minister Alberto Romulo in Tehran (AFP)

A handout picture released by presidential official website shows Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inspecting the Natanz nuclear plant in central Iran (EPA)

A handout picture released by presidential official website shows Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inspecting the Natanz nuclear plant in central Iran (EPA)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

More Posts

Follow Me:
FacebookGoogle PlusYouTube