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Via Israel Insider:
Soon after taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama initiated a process to reestablish full US diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, including a reopening of embassies, the Israeli daily Maariv reported Sunday. The initiative also aimed to reach understandings with Tehran over suspending its nuclear weapons program, Maariv claimed, citing “two Western diplomats very close to the administration.”
The initiative led to at least two US-Iran meetings, the report said. Israel was made aware of the contacts, and opposed them. Iran, however, ultimately rejected the “diplomatic hand” offered by the White House, Maariv reported, “opposed any sign of normalization with the US, and refused to grant a ‘prize’ to the Americans,” according to an anonymous Israeli source quoted by the paper.
According to Maariv, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns served as the US point person, meeting with chief Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili for an hour in 2009, and another secret meeting between the sides took place subsequently. Those talks, which Jerusalem has characterized as a stalling tactic by Tehran to buy time to develop its nuclear program to weapon capability, have mostly failed, despite several attempts to work out a deal that would let Obama show some kind of diplomatic accomplishment before the election.