nuclear issues

By Luisa Frey

Back-channel conversations between the US and Iran paved way for the historic nuclear agreement and broke 34 years of hostility, writes the FT’s Geoff Dyer. 

Iran and the P5+1 meet for nuclear talks in Geneva in October. Getty

In the unlikely setting of a bucolic French chateau complete with a pack of fox-hounds, former officials from Iran, Israel, China and the US have got together for a weekend of banquet-fuelled and ground-breaking discussions over Tehran’s nuclear programme.

The unusual talks, perhaps a first in the grey realm of “track two” or parallel diplomacy, sought to overcome the mistrust of hardliners on the many sides of the Middle East’s divides ahead of the resumption on Thursday of official negotiations in Geneva between Iran and the P-5+1, meaning the five permanent members of the UN security council plus Germany.