Three prominent Egyptian representatives of the terrorist-designated Muslim Brotherhood group and Iran's Quds Forces met in 2014 in Turkey, according to 700 pages of leaked reports sent anonymously to US news publication The Intercept, The New York Times reported on Monday.
The Intercept translated the cables "from Persian to English and shared them with The Times," The Times report said. The Intercept and The Times "verified the authenticity of the documents," which were sent to The Intercept by "an anonymous Iraqi" through an encrypted channel.
The leading US newspaper wrote that "the source seems unhappy with Iran's interference in Iraq but refused to meet in person with a reporter." The anonymous Iraqi source said "let the world know what Iran is doing in my country Iraq," according to The Times.
The Brotherhood representatives were "three of its most prominent Egyptian leaders in exile: Ibrahim Munir Mustafa, Mahmoud El-Abiary, and Youssef Moustafa Nada, according to the document," Intercept reporter James Risen wrote.
But Turkey, which was considered a safe location for the summit, "refused to grant a visa to the highly visible chief of the Quds Force, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani."
"With Suleimani unable to enter Turkey, a delegation of other senior Quds Force officials — led by one of Suleimani’s deputies, a man identified in the cable as Abu Hussain — attended the meeting in his place," Risen said.
Turkey was one of the few countries on good terms with both Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Trump administration designated Iran's Revolutionary Guard a foreign terrorist organisation in April, and the White House has reportedly been lobbying to add the Muslim Brotherhood to the list as well.
Egypt designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization in December 2013.
According to Risen's report, the leaks about the 2014 summit were from the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security, or MOIS.
"It reveals the fraught political dynamics that separate powerful Sunni and Shia organisations like the Muslim Brotherhood and the Quds Force," said Risen.
The report said that "the summit came at a critical moment for both the Quds Force and the Muslim Brotherhood, which may explain why the two sides agreed to talk."
When the meeting was held in April 2014, ISIS was threatening the stability of the Iran-backed Iraqi Shia-dominated government of Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki in Baghdad, the report said.
"At the same time, weakened by its losses in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood probably viewed an alliance with the Iranians as an opportunity to regain some of its regional prominence, " The Intercept report said.
"What neither side knew was that there was a spy in the summit," said the report.
The "spy" not only attended, but "acted as coordinator of the meeting."
According to The Intercept report, the Brotherhood delegation in the meeting said that "one of the most important things the groups shared, was a hatred for Saudi Arabia, the common enemy of the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran."
"But the Brotherhood also recognised that there were limits to regional cooperation with the Quds Force. Syria, for example, was such a complicated mess that the Brotherhood simply threw up its hands," the report said.