Iranian and U.S. officials held secret talks in the Iraqi Kurdistan region earlier this month, Israel’s I24 News TV reported on July 9, citing unmanned sources.
According to the sources, the secret Iranian-U.S. talks were held on July 5 in an unspecified hotel in Kurdistan’s capital, Erbil.
“A delegation of Saudi officials was staying at the same hotel, before being moved to another place, to be away from the negotiating place,” I24 News quoted one of the sources.
The Iranian delegation was reportedly headed by Hassan Khamenei, the grandson of Iran’s late supreme leader Ali Khamenei, and included Iraj Masjedi, current Iranian ambassador to Baghdad, as well as commanders from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and other senior Iranian officials.
The Israeli news channel didn’t provide any information on the U.S. delegation to the supposed secret meeting in Erbil.
I24 News’ claims have not been confirmed by Tehran, Washington nor any Kurdish source. However, several sources talked about a meeting between Iranian officials and figures of Kurdish, Iranian opposition parties in Iraqi Kurdistan. This confirms the presence of an Iranian delegation in the Kurdish area on July 5.
The tension between Iran and the U.S. escalated over the last two months following a series of attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf and the shot down of a U.S. spy drone off Iran’s shores. Tehran said that it wouldn’t hold any official talks with Washington unless it lefts the sanctions imposed after the nuclear deal. Nonetheless, this does not mean that the sides are not holding some ‘unofficial’ talks behind the secene on a constant basis. This is a common pratice for important geopolitical players.
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