Despite the verbal confrontation between Israel and Iran over Tehran’s nuclear program, Israeli and Iranian officials participated this week in secret talks in Brussels, Belgium, on dismantling both countries’ arsenals of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, Julian Borger reported in the Guardian.
Participants included Jeremy Issacharoff, the Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Director for Strategic Affairs. The chief Iranian representative is Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. The meetings are moderated by Finnish diplomat Jaakko Laajava, whom the UN secretary general appointed to organize the planned conference in Helsinki.
The talks, conducted in a seminar format, were held under the auspices of the EU. A media blackout was imposed on the discussions and participants have pledged not to publicize even the fact that the talks are being held, much less anything about their content.
In sharp contrast with the saber rattling of both sides’ leaders, Mark Fitzpatrick, a non-proliferation expert from the International Institute for Strategic Studies and former state department official, told the Guardian that “there were no fireworks and no denunciations” at the conference.