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US held secret talks with Iran on Red Sea attacks: Financial Times

The United States and Iran held confidential discussions this year to discuss the ongoing Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, according to a report by the Financial Times citing US and Iranian officials.

The report stated that the US delegation was led by White House Middle East advisor Brett McGurk and Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani. The Financial Times reported that the talks took place in Oman in January.

According to the Financial Times, the talks were a bid by Washington to convince Tehran to assert its influence over the Houthis to end their attacks on ships travelling in the Red Sea.

"Iran has repeatedly said it only has a form of spiritual influence [over the Houthis]. They can't dictate to the Houthis, but they can negotiate and talk," an Iranian official told the newspaper.