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Strange bedfellows: Iran, US to cooperate against Sunni jihadists in Iraq?

Published time: June 14, 2014 12:01
Edited time: June 18, 2014 07:38
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama (AFP Photo/Reuters)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama (AFP Photo/Reuters)

In light of recent military gains by a ‘too-extreme-for-Al-Qaeda’ jihadi group in Iraq, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said Tehran may consider cooperating with Washington to battle the extremist threat.

"We have said that all countries must unite in combating terrorism. But right now regarding Iraq we have not seen the Americans taking a decision yet," Rouhani said at a press conference on Saturday.

Asked if Tehran would work with its old adversary the United States in tackling advances by Sunni insurgents in Iraq, he replied, "We can think about if we see America starts confronting the terrorist groups in Iraq or elsewhere."

Rouhani denied previous reports that Iran had already sent troops into Iraq to aid government forces, saying any such move would be contingent on Baghdad’s approval.

"No specific request has been put forward, but we are prepared to help – within the frameworks of international regulations – if there is a request," he said.

Iran has already sent a Major General from the Revolutionary Guard to meet with leaders in the Iraqi capital.

Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) celebrate on vehicles taken from Iraqi security forces, at a street in city of Mosul, June 12, 2014. (Reuters)

US President Barack Obama has so far ruled out putting American troops on the ground in Iraq, though Washington is seriously considering other options, including deploying air or naval forces to carry out air strikes against militant positions.

"We will not be sending US troops back into combat in Iraq, but I have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options that could help support Iraqi security forces," Obama said on Friday.

The White House is expected to make a decision in the coming days, though Obama stressed that Iraq was ultimately responsible for its own security.

“The United States will do our part, but ultimately it's up to the Iraqis as a sovereign nation to solve their problems," Obama said. "We can't do it for them."

Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) celebrate on vehicles taken from Iraqi security forces, at a street in city of Mosul, June 12, 2014. (Reuters)

The Sunni insurgents – from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) – have managed to seize the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Tikrit with an estimated 7,000 strong force. On Friday, Shia fighters attempted to counter ISIS momentum near Muqdadiya, just 80km (50 miles) from Baghdad's city limits.

The UN said ISIS forces have carried out summary executions and rapes in as it battles to take over the country.

The hyper-fundamentalist group has alienated Al-Qaeda with its tactics, which include publicly crucifying and beheading those who violate their strict religious interpretations.

Iraq came under the influence of a Shia-majority government after the US-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein's Sunni-dominated regime in 2003. Since the withdrawal of US troops in 2011, sectarian tensions boiled over, resulting in Sunni insurgents increasingly waging war against the central government.

Iran, a strict Shia-theocracy since 1979, Iran has built close political and economic ties with and does not want to see a Sunni-caliphate established on its borders.

Comments (84)


mergon 17.06.2014 11:17

America is a violent country ,you only have to look at what the police do protesters , and now their police are getting surplus war equipment to deal with protesters ,
But if the USA was another country and the world saw what they were doing to innocent unarmed protesters there would be a call to arms and get rid a regime that was that violent to its own people !


Raashid Maqbool 16.06.2014 00:33

this was something expected..Iran forms the one of the most evil nations in the world...These muttah iranians hv nothing to do with Islam, all they believe in is propagating their evil beliefs no matter where from the support comes..


ayoub mzougui 15.06.2014 21:42

Beatrice Mcartney 15.06.2014 18:09

Iran will cooperate with USA? :))) The best joke for today.....Good luck in your cooperation....and please ask the opinion of iranian and their religious leaders......Surpris eeee!


This war is not about intrests or oil or whatever the mass media tries to incult you this is a theological war remember what bush said in the subject.... and by the way theologicaly speaking Iran is the country that serves the Talmud intrests the best so make a research on the subject and then make a statement and don't try all days sources ;) they are dum then dummer

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