The agreement between world powers and Iran over its controversial nuclear program was helped through months of secret negotiations, which had been held between officials from Iran and the U.S. It has just been discovered.
The secret talks were held even while the official negotiations had been taking place with five of the world powers, plus the U.S.
The Obama Administration asked the press not to make any report on the secret talks amidst fear it could help them become derailed.
Reports said that since March there have been five secrets meetings held. Officials from the U.S. who were involved took a number of precautions to make sure secrecy was not compromised.
Last March a group of officials from the U.S., led by William Burns the Deputy Secretary of State and Jake Sullivan the top foreign policy adviser for VP Joseph Biden, boarded a U.S. military plane headed to Oman to meet their counterparts from Iran.
That was the first gathering of high-level officials held in Muscat at a secure location in Oman’s capital. It is there that the Obama Administration began its groundwork for the eventual deal.
At first, the U.S. goal was to see if Iran and the U.S. could arrange a successful process that would continue bilateral talks, said U.S. officials.
The election in June of a new president in Iran, who was a moderate, gave the U.S. new impetus to get the deal done.
Just after President Rouhani took the presidential office in August in Iran, two secret meetings were setup with the main goal of advancing the nuclear talks that had been stalled.
However, not until September 30 did President Obama give notice to Benjamin Netanyahu the Prime Minister of Israel about the existence of negotiations, only three days after he called Rouhani.
In October, another pair of meetings were held with Wendy Sherman the U.S. chief nuclear negotiator taking part in the last meeting.
However, it was not until the last meeting over the weekend that the U.S. and Iran finally came to an agreement on an outline for a pact that was signed on Sunday.