Britain is mediating secret talks between the US and Hezbollah in an attempt to deal with the threat posed by al-Qaida and pave the way for Iran's return to the international community, sources claim.
According to a report in Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai, British diplomatic sources revealed that senior officials in London are holding discussions with leaders of the Iranian-backed Lebanese militant organisation and relaying the information to Washington.
Due to the US State Department's official classification of Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation, American officials cannot legally meet any member of the party. However, sources in Washington say that the US is open to warming up relations with the organisation.
US diplomatic sources say that the discussions are aimed at "keeping tabs on the changes in the region and the world and preparing for the upcoming return of Iran to the international community".
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke to British Prime Minister David Cameron last week and according to Al-Rai, Rouhani is placing the talks with Hezbollah within the context of ongoing negotiations between Tehran and the West.
Reports of the secret discussions came days after a landmark interim nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers including Britain and the US, which provides limited relief of economic sanctions in return for Iran halting its nuclear enrichment programme.
Western-educated Rouhani is regarded as a relative moderate and took office in August, replacing the hardline Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. His election has marked the beginning of thawing relations between Iran and the West.