The agreement that was concluded between the 5+1 and Iran, on November 24th 2013 in Geneva, had been preceded by secret negotiations between Tehran and Washington, reported the Associated Press.
According to the agency, at least five high-level meetings took place since March 2013 (in other words, under the stewardship of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad). The US delegation was headed by Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and the Vice-President’s national security counsellor Jake Sullivan. The first meeting was held in Oman. The lead negotiator, Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, took part in the last meeting.
Associated Press makes mention of a first high-level contact which took place back in 2011.
However, the news agency does not clarify the identity of the Iranian interlocutors, and in particular whether they represented only the Supreme leader of the Revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, or also the President of the Islamic Republic.
During the electoral campaign, the Revolutionary Council discarded the candidacy of Ahmadinejad’s Chief of Staff; subsequently the Supreme Leader anointed that of Sheikh Hassam Rohani.
The Iranian minister of Foreign Affairs has refuted the Associated Press reports, stating that his country has never had any contact with the United States before the Geneva talks.
“Obama advised Netanyahu of Iran talks in September”, by Matthew Lee, Bradley Klapper and Julie Pace, Associated Press, November 25th 2013.