There has been a persistent thread of reporting in Western media about secret contacts between the Obama administration and the Iranian regime, going back for years before the formal P5+1 negotiations that opened in 2013.
But there hasn’t been much explicit information on the content discussed in the secret meetings. If the statements made in passages translated by MEMRI are valid – excerpts from speeches and Iranian media interviews with top officials – the reason for that is obvious. According to the Iranians quoted, the Obama administration planned from the outset to give away the major bargaining points.
MEMRI says a full translation has yet to be completed, so we must wait on that for a more extended discussion. But here are some highlights
From MEMRI’s initial summary:
[Iranian officials] indicate that the U.S. initiated secret negotiations with Iran not after President Hassan Rohani, of the pragmatic camp, was elected in 2013, but rather in 2011-2012, in the era of radical president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. … [A]lready at that time, Iran received from the U.S. administration a letter recognizing its right to enrich uranium on its own soil. Hossein Sheikh Al-Islam, an advisor to the Majlis speaker, specified that the letter had come from John Kerry, then a senator and head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Iranian vice president and top negotiator Ali Akbar Salehi said that Kerry, while still a senator, had been appointed by President Obama to handle the nuclear contacts with Iran.
From a speech by Ayatollah Khamenei in June 2015 (all bold emphasis added):