UPDATE: White House denies, NYT standing by it, still top story on home page. Now NBC's Andrea Mitchell says WH claims there have been only "back channel" talks, Israel has approved, and they are not happy any of this has come out before Monday's debate. A source says "the American people might be happy to know the administration is willing to explore all possibilities to get Iran to give up its nuclear program." NYT:
It has the potential to help Mr. Obama make the case that he is nearing a diplomatic breakthrough in the decade-long effort by the world’s major powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, but it could pose a risk if Iran is seen as using the prospect of the direct talks to buy time.
It is also far from clear that Mr. Obama’s opponent, Mitt Romney, would go through with the negotiation should he win election. Mr. Romney has repeatedly criticized the president as showing weakness on Iran and failing to stand firmly with Israel against the Iranian nuclear threat.
Reports of the agreement have circulated among a small group of diplomats involved with Iran.