The Times, citing an unnamed Obama administration official, first reported on the negotiations and said that "reports of the agreement have circulated among a small group of diplomats involved with Iran."
The Times also reported that the Iranians insisted the talks wait until after the presidential election, so that they know who they will be talking with, but that so far no official meeting has been set.
In a statement Saturday evening, White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said the U.S. and Iran had no such agreement:
"It's not true that the United States and Iran have agreed to one-on-one talks or any meeting after the American elections. We continue to work with the P-5 on a diplomatic solution and have said from the outset that we would be prepared to meet bilaterally. The President has made clear that he will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and we will do what we must to achieve that. It has always been our goal for sanctions to pressure Iran to come in line with its obligations. The onus is on the Iranians to do so, otherwise they will continue to face crippling sanctions and increased pressure."
Following the Times report, NBC News says a senior administration official responded about the impact this might have on Monday's foreign policy debate:
" ... the official said the administration is not happy that the story came out before the debate, but said the American people might be happy to know the administration is willing to explore all possibilities to get Iran to give up its nuclear program."
NPR has yet to independently confirm the U.S. and Iran have agreed to the talks.
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