'Back Channel' Talks Between Iran and the US Revealed
by Hana Levi Julian
9 Nissan 5768, 14 April 08 06:37

(IsraelNN.com) While America was leading the effort to impose sanctions on a defiant Iran intent on continuing its uranium enrichment nuclear development program, the US and Iran was meeting unofficially to maintain dialogue between the two nations.

According to a report published in the British newspaper, The Independent, a group of former diplomats, foreign policy experts and academics from both countries has been meeting on a regular basis over the past five years. None of the meetings, which have taken place in various places around the world, were ever held in the US or Iran.

The back channel group was the brainchild of the United Nations Association of the United States and facilitated by a think-tank called the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

The organization is chaired by former chief UN weapons inspector Rolf Ekeus, who created the outside-of-the-box group as another way of putting the Islamic Republic’s feet to the fire on limiting its development of nuclear power.

News of the meetings was leaked finally by former US Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering, who told the paper, “Some of the Iranians were connected to official institutions inside Iran.”

According to the report, Pickering said, “We discussed what’s going on domestically in both countries and wide-ranging issues.” Restricting his own description of the group’s agenda to broad statements on its activities, Pickering added simply that “each side kept their officials informed” but said little else.

The group has maintained relations despite sanctions, threats, saber-rattling and all other statements made by either side to the contrary. It is not clear why information about its existence was leaked to the media at this time; nor is it clear whether to parties will continue to meet in the wake of the report.

What is clear is that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has not at all abandoned his intention to wipe the State of Israel off the world map -- and most probably will use his rapidly developing nuclear capabilities to do it.


Original article: Israel National News
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