GENEVA, January 9. /TASS/. Switzerland, who represents the interests of the United States in Iran, has transmitted several messages through a diplomatic channel of communication between the two countries, Spokesman for the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) Pierre-Alain Eltschinger told TASS on Thursday.
"The diplomatic communication channel between US and Iran that is provided by Switzerland in the framework of the protective power mandate continues to operate. Switzerland confirms that several messages were transmitted through this channel," he said. "For reason of confidentiality, the FDFA cannot give any further information," Eltschinger added.
The Financial Times wrote earlier, citing a source familiar with the matter, that "the US and Iran had exchanged de-escalatory messages overnight through a Swiss back channel."
Tensions in the Middle East escalated following a US drone strike near Baghdad's airport on January 3, which killed General Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force. Iran targeted Iraq’s Ain Al-Asad air base and a facility in Erbil, which house US troops, in retaliation for the attack.
Following Iran’s strikes, US President Donald Trump said in an address to the nation that "the United States will immediately impose additional punishing economic sanctions on the Iranian regime." "These powerful sanctions will remain until Iran changes its behavior," Trump pointed out, adding, however, that "the United States is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it." Iran’s Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht-Ravanchi, in turn, told TASS that Tehran believed its response was enough in terms of retaliation, and did not plan to take further military action.