(FOX NEWS) — The Obama administration sent a message to Iran offering to engage the country in direct talks, Fox News confirms — though a senior U.S. official denied claims that President Obama conveyed that message in a letter.

An Iranian lawmaker first claimed Wednesday that the president floated the proposal for direct talks in a secret letter to the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader. The message also warned Tehran against closing the strategic Strait of Hormuz. Iran has threatened to close the waterway, the route for about one-sixth of the global oil flow, because of new U.S. sanctions over its nuclear program.

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