American and Iranian officials held indirect talks in Oman last month, Israeli journalist Barak Ravid reported to American news website Axios on Friday.
Ravid reported from three sources saying that the two sides sat in separate rooms and exchanged messages through Omani officials.
The sources, according to Ravid, said the US made it clear that Iran will pay a heavy price if it moves forward with 90 per cent uranium enrichment — the level needed to produce a nuclear weapon.
Last week, Axios revealed that White House Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk traveled to Oman secretly on 8 May for talks with Omani officials on possible diplomatic outreach to Iran regarding its nuclear program.
Ravid’s sources said that an Iranian delegation also arrived in Oman at the same time; one of the sources pointed out that Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kan was part of the delegation.
The US wanted to reach through its messages an “understanding” about ways to de-escalate the Iranian nuclear programme, Iran’s behaviour in the region and its involvement in the war in Ukraine.
It is still unclear whether the parties are close to reaching such an understanding, Axios said.
A White House National Security Council spokesperson said: “We remain focused on constraining Iran’s destabilising behaviour through pressure, close coordination with our allies and de-escalation in the region.”
The spokesperson added that the US prefers diplomacy, but is prepared “to take action in full coordination with our partners and allies to ensure Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon.”