A Swiss diplomat & Iraq’s President – go-betweens for first, US-Iranian talks

The two back-channels through which the Trump team sought to initiate exploratory talks with Tehran have run into a blank wall, DEBKAfile’s exclusive sources report. Interpreting this silent treatment as an Iranian ploy for time to prepare more attacks, the administration last week boosted its military deployment in the Gulf with another 1,500 troops.

Plenty of politicians are volunteering to mediate efforts to bring the US and Iran together, notably, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi and Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi – who is an old hand as this. The Trump administration has not taken up any of their offers.  Instead, our intelligence sources reveal, White House advisers have turned to a senior Swiss diplomat and the Kurdish president of Iraq. Arnold Henninger, a high-ranking member of the Swiss foreign service, has long being involved in the interaction between the two governments since the Swiss embassy has represented US interests in Tehran for decades. Iraq’s president Barham Salih has good contacts in the right circles in both Washington and Tehran.

On Saturday, May 25, shortly before Salih boarded a flight fo Saudi Arabia and Turkey, he was confronted by Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif who had popped over to Baghdad. They held a long conversation.

The main catch in both channels is that no one knows how high in the Islamic regime the two brokers have reached, and on whose desks the US messages addressed to the highest echelons have landed.

The Swiss diplomat Henninger has come closest to supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei through Ali Velayati, Khamenei’s senior adviser on international affairs. But he can’t say whether Velayati passed the Trump administration’s messages to his boss.

President Salih is known to be in contact with Zarif and talks regularly with deputy foreign minister Abbas Aragchi. Iranian officials are ambiguous about the final destination of the messages he relayed, although some admit that Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani is in the picture. Without con formation that those messages reached the all-powerful supreme leader or some authoritative affirmation, the American bid to open initial exploratory talks with Tehran is up against an immovable obstacle.

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41 thoughts on “A Swiss diplomat & Iraq’s President – go-betweens for first, US-Iranian talks

  • May 26, 2019 @ 13:30 at 13:30
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    It would be logical for the Islamic State of Iran to back down and to stop its global jihad and war against its neighbors and to end its hateful goals in the name of Islam…but the mullahs are not logical. They would rather lose half their population (because they care not for human life) than give up on their Islamic conquest. I think that this is a problem the Iranian people will have to deal with by toppling the Islamic regime and replacing them with a secular government.

    • May 26, 2019 @ 21:14 at 21:14
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      Majority of Iran population are fanatics. During the war with Iraq, women sent their own children into mine fields with a plastic key on a chain around their necks so they go directly to allah. Good luck with a secular government.

      • May 27, 2019 @ 7:49 at 7:49
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        More like Sheep and Lambs afraid of their own People

      • May 27, 2019 @ 14:13 at 14:13
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        iran kadar başınıza taş düşe israil bu ne kadar iran konusunda dertlisiz ne istiyorsuz irandan swnin 500 adet nükleer silahın var ortadoğuda teksin ne istiyorsun sen

        • May 27, 2019 @ 16:17 at 16:17
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          Only a glimpse to the picture of the crazy ayatollah and I’m now stuck this diarrhea, oh man this is a very bad ayatollah indeed!

    • May 27, 2019 @ 16:13 at 16:13
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      European New Election have turned to the Center and will be joining American and British Alliances that will only increase Pressure on Iran.

      • May 27, 2019 @ 19:16 at 19:16
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        bu israil rejimi halkı ne kadar iranı seviyor sürekli irandan bahsediyorlar israil ortadoğuda tek nükleer güç olmasına rağmen sürekli irana sataşıyor ne malum şimdi ukraynanın tayvanın slovakyanın slovenya çekya finlandiyanın bulgaristanın brezilya kanada nükleer santralleri var bu ülkelerin ne malum bu ülkelerin nükleer silah yapmadıkları sürekli irana sataşıyorsunuz israilde yapıyor ama israilin istememesinin sebebi işgal etmek için bunu anlamayan bilmeyen yok ama diğer ülkelere israil birşey demiyor ne varsa sürekl iran molla rejimi

  • May 26, 2019 @ 14:30 at 14:30
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    As long as John Kerry is not involved and any Obama officials, they are all pro Iranian. John Kerry, according to reports and Sec. Pompeo continues to met with Iranian leaders and supposedly telling them to do nothing and wait to 2021? thinking the Dem’s will win. John Kerry has been wrong and is a Globalist and Elite. He violates the US Logan act and should be investigated.

    • May 27, 2019 @ 3:09 at 3:09
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      Better have Mossad agents attached to US officials, because you can not be absolutely sure, people err in softness very easy and most recently I saw Iranians smiling a lot, their false politeness and accepting minor compromises is a hook to trick the Americans.

      If not possible officially, then unofficially, Israel must be part of negotiations with Iran.

      • May 27, 2019 @ 3:23 at 3:23
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        Bombs of $1 billion dollars!
        1000 millions dollars of bombs, wow, man a lot of bombs!
        And this is only a small part, the mullahs know, and they hope to escape with some fancy talks???
        Now, when Trump had it all with their bad manners?
        Too late, it will be a miracle for the mullahs to avoid war.

      • May 27, 2019 @ 11:20 at 11:20
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        “If not possible officially, then unofficially, Israel must be part of negotiations with Iran.”

        @Tommy,

        Quite true, but someone really should have explained that concept to our previous Administration several years ago.

    • May 27, 2019 @ 21:22 at 21:22
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      John Kerry should be hung for treason along with many other Obama administration officials who weaponized our Intelligence and DOJ.

  • May 26, 2019 @ 15:01 at 15:01
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    Talks are just buying time……an d will achieved nothing.

    • May 26, 2019 @ 19:17 at 19:17
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      israil ortadoğuda tek nükleer güç olarak bütün ortadoğu ülkelerini tehdit ediyor israil ortadoğuda tek nükleer güç olarak herkesi tahdit savuruyor

      • May 26, 2019 @ 21:16 at 21:16
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        Go caress yourself you idiot turk. Or just bend over so your erdo fuhrer can have some fun in between having more fun with goats.

        • May 27, 2019 @ 6:33 at 6:33
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          Iran knows that the N.A.T.O. alliance is fractured and the U.S. has no chance for a ground invasion without Iraqi cooperation. The United States is limited to sitting ducks naval power and vulnerable air attacks. Iran has no need to negotiate and sees clearly they will have the upper hand should any hostilities break out.

          • May 27, 2019 @ 11:27 at 11:27
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            ” Iran has no need to negotiate and sees clearly they will have the upper hand should any hostilities break out.”

            @Rodney Dezarn,

            That will really all depend, if push comes to shove, upon who actually has the most effective “secret weapons”.

  • May 26, 2019 @ 15:39 at 15:39
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    They explicitly told you that there’s nothing to talk about. Take your rusty pots and leave the region, douchebags!

    • May 26, 2019 @ 19:21 at 19:21
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      israil oratadoğuda tek nükleer güç olarak büyük ortadoğu projesi kapsamında tüm ülkelerin bağımsızlık topraklarına işgal zulüm işkence ederek bütün ortadoğu ülkelerini tehdit ediyor birde sürekli irana sataşıyor irandan ne istiyor anlamıyorum sanki dünyada irandan başka ülke yokmuş gibi sürekli abdyi irana saldırmayla kışkırtıyor ne istiyor israil belasınımı allahtan bulmak istiyor

    • May 27, 2019 @ 11:32 at 11:32
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      “Take your rusty pots and leave the region——————-”

      @ “try harder”,

      It’s not nice to talk about the Iranian navy that way…………………………..

  • May 26, 2019 @ 16:10 at 16:10
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    Dont talk fire rockets tonight at tehran

    • May 26, 2019 @ 16:40 at 16:40
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      May they be nuclear tipped, Allah be praised !!

    • May 26, 2019 @ 19:23 at 19:23
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      debka medyası lütfen rica ediyorum israil yanlısı medya olarak sözlerimi çarpıtma doğru tarafsız dürüst medya ol lütfen rica ediyorum israil terörist devletinden çekinme

      • May 26, 2019 @ 21:02 at 21:02
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        Turkish dog

      • May 26, 2019 @ 21:19 at 21:19
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        I hope somebody will at some point invent a cure for a cancer that is turkey and its idiot population.

        • May 27, 2019 @ 11:39 at 11:39
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          “I hope somebody will at some point invent a cure for a cancer that is turkey and its idiot population.”

          @gru,

          They already did: it was referred to as the curtailing of the Ottoman Empire at the end of WWI.

      • May 26, 2019 @ 22:33 at 22:33
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        Arabs are the real squatters squatters
        Arabs are the real squatters squatters
        Arabs are the real squatters squatters
        Arabs are the real squatters squatters
        Arabs are the real squatters squatters

        • May 27, 2019 @ 3:44 at 3:44
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          Of course, there is not such a thing as “Palestine” or “Palestinian people”, these are lies invented by Yessir Arafuk the chef of Black September in order to steal money, 2 billions left for his daughter

        • May 27, 2019 @ 11:47 at 11:47
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          Arabs are the real squatters squatters
          Arabs are the real squatters squatters
          Arabs are the real squatters squatters
          Arabs are the real squatters squatters
          Arabs are the real squatters squatters

          I forgot to add that they love squatting on Jewish zain.

  • May 26, 2019 @ 18:01 at 18:01
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    Fanatics hae ruled Teheran for 40 ( fourty years ) , since Bush (2003 ) plus Obama ( 2008 ) , they have rules another third of the Middle East ( Iraq – Lebanon-Syria ). They time on their side , and Trump as a temporary annoyance but not more than a scratch . They will hold put until november 2020 offering symbolic concessions ( woman in soccer stadiums etc…) . The Dems will drag Trump in pseudo-scandals as usual . If Trump is reelected , then they will have to lower their stance . If a Dem steps in the WH , Teheran will gloat again ,

    • May 26, 2019 @ 19:27 at 19:27
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      lütfen israilin ortadoğuda tek nükleer güç olarak tehlikeli olduğunu tarafsız medya olarak söyleyin çekinmeyin israil nükleer güç olarak ortadoğu ülkelerini tamamını tehdit ediyor ateş püskürüyor israil istiyorki tüm dünya ülkelerini kendisi tek yönetsin diye her ülkenin bağımsız topraklarına saldırıyor

    • May 27, 2019 @ 11:50 at 11:50
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      “If a Dem steps in the WH , Teheran will gloat again”

      Just like they did at the signing ceremony for the so-called “Nuclear Deal”.

  • May 26, 2019 @ 18:43 at 18:43
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    Mohammad Javad Zarif Stood Today In Baghdad Hand In Hand With Muhammad Ali Alhakim To Denounce Imperialistic US Aggression.

  • May 26, 2019 @ 18:52 at 18:52
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    DEATH TO THE PHAGATOLLAH!!!

  • May 26, 2019 @ 18:57 at 18:57
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    They just need to get the Iranian, Israeli and US fundamentalist together. That way they can all agree their wish to hasten the Messiahs and Mahdi’s returns by blowing the heck out of the world. The more evil the happier they all are. Inshallah, L’Chaim and hallelujah!

  • May 26, 2019 @ 19:04 at 19:04
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    Eh, the HIV Arafat is long dead and rotten, the last refugee too, plus there is no Palestine, and it never was!
    It follows that “palestine” and “palestinians” are now empty words employed only by old and overrated pirates like Abbas or Khamenei.
    These 2 must die of bukkake in the sewage of Babylon

  • May 26, 2019 @ 20:19 at 20:19
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    The entire world sees the US admin. as a joke run by an orange clown. China is doing the exact same thing, so why bother responding. The same stupid strategy is used over and over again. You make big threats and then you back down. This is the worst type of attempted negotiation possible.

    Nothing will happen with Iran unless the US wants to lose another war.

    • May 27, 2019 @ 3:15 at 3:15
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      I am a proud deplorable and we are going to wipe you leftards off the electoral map just as the leftards are being wiped off the map in EU elections. Long live Trump!

  • May 26, 2019 @ 22:21 at 22:21
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    begging for Negoziation
    the age of USA and israel is over
    the time of Iran has come

    • May 27, 2019 @ 13:44 at 13:44
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      Under Islam you can make $100 per month and live in fear of your goverment/religious leaders. Sounds great, doesn’t It, Abbas?

      • May 27, 2019 @ 17:22 at 17:22
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        at least islam does not beg for negotiation with kafirs

        what is the power of USA ?
        everything “show games , hollow threat , psycho warfare”

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