Did US approach Iran about Yemen?

When Iran’s supreme leader cited on Sept. 18 what he described as US attempts to engage in talks with his country on regional issues, it appeared to be a confirmation of Sept. 14 media reports that Washington had approached Tehran via Oman suggesting that US-Iranian-Russian talks begin to discuss the crisis in Yemen.

The report, first run by Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar and later published by Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency, quoted an “informed source” as saying that Iran did not welcome the correspondence and had not responded. The same source recalled a similar incident during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War, when Great Britain allegedly offered to negotiate but was turned down by then-Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

A senior Iranian diplomat approached by Al-Monitor about the Sept. 14 reports wholly dismissed them. On Sept. 18, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi reiterated that denial, adding, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has received no letter whatsoever to engage in talks with third parties over the crisis in Yemen. This claim is completely baseless.”

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This article was written by Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on Sep. 26, 2016. Ali Hashem is a journalist with a focus on Iran. He is the former Tehran bureau chief for the Arab news network Al Mayadeen, and a former reporter for Al Jazeera and the BBC.