• In 2018, then-President Donald Trump announced the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal
  • The deal aimed to limit Iran's nuclear program
  • Israel is concerned that Iran has begun enriching uranium to 84% purity level

Officials in the US have reportedly initiated discussions with Oman to explore the potential resumption of mediated nuclear talks between Washington and Tehran. This comes amid concerns raised by Israeli officials accusing the US of pursuing an interim agreement that would permit Iran to continue its uranium enrichment activities.

A report in Axios, cited multiple sources, including officials from the US, Israel and Europe, stating that Brett McGurk – President Joe Biden's senior Middle East adviser – recently made a discreet trip to Oman to hold discussions with Omani officials. It was said that the purpose of the trip was to explore potential diplomatic engagement with Iran regarding its nuclear program. This signals ongoing efforts by the Biden administration to explore diplomatic avenues for engagement with Iran on the nuclear issue months after the indirect talks aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers fell apart.

However, nearly nine months ago, the US stated that the negotiations were no longer a top priority.

On Tuesday, a top US official on Iran indicated that the US was seeking to pursue another diplomatic solution for addressing the Islamic Republic's nuclear program, which Israel believes poses a significant military threat to its existence.

"We hope that we can resolve this through diplomatic means, and we're prepared to go down that path," Robert Malley told National Public Radio.

Axios quoted Israeli officials who have raised concerns over Washington's latest move in regard to the talks.

"The Americans want a time-out," an Israeli official told Axios.

However, a spokesperson for the US National Security Council said, "There is no US discussion of an interim deal and no discussion of sanctions relief, or closing safeguards cases."

The possibility of Oman's intervention in the matter comes as the country historically played a significant role in facilitating negotiations, including those that led to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

In 2018, then-President Donald Trump announced the US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly referred to as the Iran nuclear deal. The JCPOA was a multilateral agreement reached in 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 countries (US, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China), along with the European Union. The deal aimed to limit Iran's nuclear program and ensure its peaceful nature in exchange for relief from economic sanctions imposed by the international community.

The talks of a possible interim agreement come amid Israel's growing concerns over Iran beginning to enrich uranium to 84% purity level.

"Iran has made more progress in uranium enrichment than ever before. We are also closely examining other aspects of the [Iranians'] path to nuclear capability," IDF chief Herzi Halevi said at a conference. "Without going into details, there are possible negative developments on the horizon that could prompt action."

Illustration shows Iran's and U.S.' flags