Kerry: U.S. open to cooperation with Iran on Iraq

Photo: Kerry: U.S. open to cooperation with Iran on Iraq / Iran

The U.S. is open to working with Iran in order to stem Iraq's growing crisis with extremists that have taken over large swaths of the country, according to its top diplomat, Anadolu agency reported.

"I think we are open to any constructive process here that could minimize the violence, hold Iraq together - the integrity of the country - and eliminate the presence of outside terrorist forces that are ripping it apart," John Kerry, the U.S. Secretary of State, told Yahoo! News during an interview on Monday.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, commonly known as ISIL, which already had control of parts of Syria, has extended its reach into Iraq since June 10, when it seized Iraq's second-largest city Mosul and soon afterwards took near-complete control of the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit.

The group had previously seized much of western Iraq's Anbar Province in late December, including much of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi, flashpoints of the 2003 US-led war in the country.

Asked if the U.S. would cooperate militarily with the Islamic Republic to combat ISIL, Kerry said: "Let's see what Iran might or might not be willing to do before we start making any pronouncements."

Still, he said the U.S. "wouldn't rule out anything" to restore stability to Iraq.

"I wouldn't rule out anything that would be constructive to providing real stability, a respect for the constitution, a respect for the election process, and a respect for the ability of the Iraqi people to form a government that represents all of the interests of Iraq - not one sectarian group over another," he said. "It has to be inclusive."

The P5+1 group of world powers, which includes the U.S., Russia, China, France, the U.K. and Germany, are set to resume negotiations in Geneva on Tuesday with Iran on the country's nuclear program.

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