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The diplomatic narrative is laid out in "Alter Egos," by New York Times White House correspondent Mark Landler. He's the first to disclose the full extent of the Omani "back channel" to Iran that opened in 2009 through a colorful fixer named Salem ben Nasser al-Ismaily.Landler's account shows how early and extensively Clinton and her State Department staff were involved in the Iran talks, despite her initial wariness. The Ismaily contacts began in May 2009, just four months after President Obama had taken office, when Dennis Ross, a top adviser to then-Secretary Clinton, met the 51-year-old Omani at the State Department.John Kerry was jumping into the Oman channel even before he became secretary of state.One of these messages may have been crucial: Kerry, still a senator and thus not formally speaking for the administration, suggested that under a nuclear agreement, the Iranians would be able to enrich uranium – Tehran's baseline demand.Kerry and Obama may have concluded it, but Clinton helped get it started.
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