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Secret US-Iran Talks Derailed by Raisi’s Sudden Death


Secret negotiations between Iran and the United States have been disrupted by the unexpected death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

Sources revealed to Middle East Eye, that the talks, held in Oman, where crucial discussions previously paved the way for the 2015 nuclear agreement, faced a sudden halt following the helicopter crash on Sunday that claimed the lives of several top Iranian officials.

Brett McGurk, President Joe Biden’s senior Middle East adviser, and Ali Bagheri Kani, Iran’s lead negotiator, had been making progress in the first talks since January.

The discussions, which took place against a backdrop of escalating regional tensions, focused on several critical issues, including a mutual interest in altering the Israeli government, ending the Israeli military actions in Gaza, and preventing the conflict from spreading further in the Middle East. Analysts close to the Iranian regime suggested the talks might have also touched on a potential ceasefire between the US and Iran’s allies.

With the sudden leadership vacuum in Tehran, and with Iran poised to conduct presidential elections on June 28, the future of the high-stakes negotiations remains uncertain. The United States is also approaching its presidential elections in November, adding to the diplomatic standstill.

Sources also hinted that discussions might have extended to Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the potential easing of oil sanctions, echoing elements of the previous nuclear deal, which the Trump administration abandoned in 2018. Despite a temporary agreement last year involving a prisoner exchange and the return of confiscated Iranian oil revenues, broader negotiations remain fraught with political challenges.