US seeks Iran’s help to deal with Iraq terror threat

US seeks Iran’s help to deal with Iraq terror threat
Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:38:46

Washington is reportedly considering a bid to open dialogue with Tehran to discuss Iraq’s security concerns and ways to respond to radical Takfiri insurgency that have been gaining ground in western Iraq, US officials say.

Unnamed senior US officials are cited in a Wall Street Journal report as saying that the talks with Iran are likely to begin as early as this week while the Islamic Republic is also engaged in talks with P5+1 representatives over its nuclear energy program.

The development comes as Iran’s top national security official rejected as “unreal” on Sunday Western claims on potential Iran-US cooperation in crisis-hit Iraq, insisting that Tehran will consider helping Baghdad on its own if formally requested by the Iraqi government.

Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani said such reports are part of the West’s “psychological warfare” against Iran and are “completely unreal.”

“As we have announced, we will examine the issue of helping [Iraq] within the framework of international regulations in case of an official request by the Iraqi government and this will be a totally bilateral process and has nothing to do with a third country,” he added.

Meanwhile, the ISIL terrorists in Iraq have declared the capture of the capital Baghdad as their top objective, but they have been unable to advance due to fierce response from Iraqi military forces and tribesmen.

It is not yet clear which diplomatic channel the Obama administration will be using to approach Iran on the issue, adds the US daily.

According to press reports, one option for the US is to go through Vienna, where American and Iranian officials are scheduled to meet with other world powers to discuss Iran’s nuclear energy program.

Earlier, the US State Department announced that the No. 2 US diplomat, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, will be going to Vienna to participate in those talks.

This is while hawkish US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has been the top proponent of US-led sanctions against Tehran, stated on Sunday that Washington needs Iran to avoid a government collapse in Iraq.

"We are probably going to need their help to hold Baghdad," Graham said during a nationally-televised news show called 'Face the Nation.'

Meanwhile, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani stated on Saturday that Tehran may consider cooperating with other nations to battle the extremist threat in Iraq.

When asked if Tehran would work with its old adversary the United States in dealing with the Takfiri terrorists in Iraq, Rouhani replied, "We can think about it if we see America starts confronting the terrorist groups in Iraq or elsewhere."


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