Omani channel has been ‘useful’ in preventing escalation with Iran, US official says

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Illustrative: Oman's Sultan Haitham bin Tariq meets with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at al-Alam palace in the capital Muscat, February 21, 2020. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via AP)
Illustrative: Oman's Sultan Haitham bin Tariq meets with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at al-Alam palace in the capital Muscat, February 21, 2020. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool via AP)

A senior US official confirms the indirect negotiations White House Mideast czar Brett McGurk held with Iranian counterparts in Oman last week.

“The Omanis recommend their facilitation for an exchange between senior officials with Iran and the United States,” the official says in a briefing with reporters.

“It’s a forum for us to make very clear some of the consequences of various courses of action of Iranian behavior and policies. We’ve done it a number of times through this forum quite effectively, managing escalations, particularly since October 7,” the official says, adding that the US uses the channel to raise its concerns regarding Tehran’s regional proxies and its nuclear weapons program.

“It’s a useful forum because without being able to have some exchange, the risk of miscalculation, misunderstanding can be quite high,” the official adds.

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