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Report: Oman tried to broker direct, secret Israel-Iran talks in 2013

Sultan Qaboos of Oman on 15 April 2016
The late Sultan of Oman, Qaboos Bin Said [File photo]

The late Sultan of Oman, Qaboos Bin Said, offered to mediate direct secret talks between Israel and Iran in 2013, after the rise of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Israel’s Channel 13 reported.

According to the report, the Omani initiative came after the administration of former US President Barack Obama initiated secret negotiations mediated by Oman with the Iranian regime in March 2013 which eventually led to the signing of the nuclear agreement in 2015.

The Omani proposal was submitted to the Israeli government in July 2013, the news report added.

The report quoted former Israeli officials as saying that “the Omanis believed that Rouhani’s rise had opened a window of opportunity and that the US-Iranian negotiations would achieve better results if there were parallel Iranian-Israeli negotiations.”

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According to Israeli officials, the Omani message to Israel was that “even if nothing is agreed, the dialogue will bring calm while the insistence to refuse holding direct talks could lead to war between the two parties.”

The report added that the former Mossad chief, Tamir Pardo, and a number of prominent Mossad officials believed the Omani initiative was “serious and worth considering” while the former National Security Council adviser, Yaakov Amidror, strongly rejected it.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Pardo and Amidror discussed the Omani proposal in the PM’s office and decided to reject it in order not to give “legitimacy to the US-Iranian talks”.

The report did not address the Iranian regime’s position regarding the Omani offer.

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