CIA and Iran deny report of meeting between agency director, Iranian officials

William Burns, nominee for Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director, testifies during his Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 24, 2021. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Iran’s foreign ministry denied reports that the agency’s director and Iranian officials met recently in Iraq.

An article published by an American foreign policy publication 19FortyFive cited multiple Iraqi sources as saying that CIA Director Bill Burns travelled to Baghdad “in recent days”, where he met with officials from Tehran at the home of Iraq’s foreign minister Fuad Hussein.

Spokesman of Iran’s Foreign Ministry Saeed Khatibzadeh denied reports of the meeting between the CIA director and the Iranian officials in Baghdad, according to semi-official Tasnim news agency.

A CIA spokesperson told the Washington Examiner on Monday that reports of a meeting were false.

Tasnim reported that Burns had left Baghdad several days before the team of Iranian officials led by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived in Baghdad for an official visit.

Zarif arrived in Baghdad on Tuesday for talks with senior Iraqi officials, including Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and President Barham Salih.

Reports of meeting between the CIA director and Iranians come as Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia hold indirect talks aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear accord.

The talks will resume on Tuesday, according to the European Union, the latest rounds of talks to bring the United States back into the deal and to convince Iran to end its breachers.

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