During indirect talks in Oman last month, U.S. officials reportedly sent messages to Iranian oficials warning the regime against enriching uranium to 90% purity.
According to a report from Axios, a group of U.S. officials, including White House Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk, traveled to the Sultanate of Oman last month for meetings with Omani officials.
At the same time, an Iranian group, led by Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kan, also arrived in Oman.
The American and Iranian teams did not meet directly. Instead, Omani officials met with both groups and passed messages between them.
The U.S. position included a clear message of deterrence, according to the report.
The sources told Axios that the U.S. understood there would be a “heavy price” to pay if Iran proceeds with 90% uranium enrichment — the level needed to create a nuclear weapon.
Contrary to reports in Israeli media, the U.S. officials said the team did not discuss sanctions relief.
“There is no U.S. discussion of an interim deal and no discussion of sanctions relief, or closing safeguards cases,” a White House National Security Council spokesperson told Axios.
The U.S. is prepared “to take action in full coordination with our partners and allies to ensure Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon,” the White House spokesperson said.
McGurk’s visit to Oman came after his trip to Saudi Arabia with U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. On the same trip, he traveled to Israel to speak with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding U.S. discussions with Riyadh.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) estimates that Iran has already processed 114 kg (approx.. 251 pounds) of uranium at 60% purity, which it could easily enrich to 90%.
Last month, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, during a visit to Greece said if Iran continues to enrich uranium to 90% it “would be a grave mistake on Iran’s part and could ignite the region.”
Gallant claimed Iran had enriched enough material “for five nuclear bombs.”
“Israel will use all means at its disposal to prevent a nuclear Iran, and the same is expected from the international community,” Gallant stated at the time.
Israel Defense Forces Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi also warned Iran.
“We have the capability to strike Iran. We are not aloof to what Iran is trying to do around us,” Halevi said. “Iran also cannot be aloof to what we can do against it.”