Illustration by KL./

 – Two top Biden administration officials held indirect talks with Iranian counterparts this week in an effort to avoid escalating regional attacks, Axios reported on Friday.

The talks, involving President Joe Biden’s Middle East adviser Brett McGurk and acting U.S. envoy to Iran Abram Paley, marked the first round of discussions between the U.S. and Iran since January, according to Axios.

The conversations follow Iran’s missile and drone attack on Israel on April 13.

In Tehran, state media quoted Iran’s United Nations mission as confirming the talks, saying they were an “ongoing process”.

“These talks were neither the first nor the last,” the mission said in a statement carried by the official news agency IRNA on Saturday.

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(Reporting by Costas Pitas and Dan Whitcomb, additional reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)