The US government has had "direct contact" with Iran since alleging that an Iranian-linked assassination plot had targeted the Saudi ambassador in Washington, the State Department said Thursday.
At the department's daily press briefing, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland was asked if the United States had reached out in any way to Tehran since Tuesday's announcement of indictments in the case, DPA reported.
"We have had direct contact with Iran," she said. "I'm not going to give you any further details than that, but just to say that we have direct contact with Iran on this issue."
Nuland said she believed the contact took place Wednesday, after the indictments were revealed against an arrested Iranian-American and an fugitive member of Iran's Quds Force.
The United States and Iran have not had diplomatic relations since US embassy personnel in Tehran were taken hostage for 444 days starting in late 1979.
In the absence of formal relations, Switzerland represents US interests in Tehran, and Pakistan represents Iranian interests in Washington. The only Iranian diplomatic presence in the US is its delegation to United Nations headquarters in New York.
Asked if the direct contact with Iran took place at the UN, Nuland replied: "As I said, I'm not going speak any further on that."
Facing a barrage of questions for details, she said only that the direct contact "certainly was not in Iran, let's put it that way."
"We are not prepared at the moment to go any further on the question on who spoke to whom and where, but just to confirm that we have had direct contact with Iran," Nuland said.