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Report: Iran, US Conducted Secret Talks On Houthi Attacks In Red Sea

Photo for representation

Iran and the US held secret talks in order to end the Houthi attack on commercial vehicles in the Red Sea.

The talks brokered by Oman took place in January. The delegation, which took part in the talks included US Middle East envoy Brett McGurk, special envoy to Iran Abram Paley, and Iranian deputy foreign minister Ali Bagheri Kani, The Financial Times reported.

The newspaper report stated that both the sides did not meet directly and that the negotiations were mediated by Omani officials who shuttled between them.

The next round of talks which were supposed to have taken place last month was delayed as McGurk redirected his effort to bring about a temporary ceasefire between Hamas and Israel.

The last time both the sides met was in May last year.

There is a growing belief among US officials that military action in the region would not be the only way to deter the Houthis, and pressure from Tehran would be the only way to ease the situation.

The Iran-aligned Yemeni Houthis have launched attacks on ships linked to Israel in the Red Sea in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza. Recently, the armed group upped its attack on vessels in the region. This has led to vessels being diverted around southern Africa rather than using the Suez Canal between Europe and Asia, which is likely to pose a global economic risk.

The Houthis are an armed political and religious group which champions Yemen’s Shia Muslim minority, the Zaidis.

A US-led naval coalition has been patrolling in the area since December 2023 trying to counter Houthi attacks. Forces from the coalition have also carried out strikes, but despite that the armed group that seized Yemen’s capital Sana’a in 2014 and now control large swaths of the country have remained capable of launching significant attacks.