Axios reported Tuesday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Israeli Knesset’s foreign relations committee that the US and Iran have been holding indirect talks on a “mini agreement” related to Iran’s nuclear program.
Netanyahu said the “understanding” being discussed between the US and Iran would involve Tehran agreeing not to enrich uranium beyond 60% in exchange for access to frozen Iranian funds. The two sides are also discussing a prisoner swap that would be part of the deal.
According to Axios, Netanyahu said if he believed an agreement was close, he would stress his objection to it and would make clear that Israel won’t be bound by the deal. However, according to a report from Israeli TV, Netanyahu indicated that Israel “could live with” the potential agreement. He said the US was not interested in reviving the original 2015 agreement, known as the JCPOA.
Iran recently confirmed that it has held indirect talks with the US in Oman. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that meetings took place in February, March, and May in Muscat, with Omani officials acting as mediators. The Biden administration has yet to confirm the negotiations.
The Journal also reported that President Biden’s special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, held talks inside the US with Iran’s ambassador to the UN starting at the end of 2022 and continuing until April.
Middle East Eye also recently reported that Malley met with Iran’s UN ambassador in the US, which marks a diplomatic breakthrough as US-Iranian engagement in recent years has been indirect. The MEE report also said an interim nuclear deal was close, but both the US and Iran have said it wasn’t true.