Iran confirms discussing Iraq crisis with U.S.

Photo: Iran confirms discussing Iraq crisis with U.S. / Iran

Baku, Azerbaijan, June 17

By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif has confirmed that it has discussed the crisis in Iraq on the sidelines of the negotiations about the Islamic Republic's nuclear program in Vienna.

Zarif went on to say that due to the deteriorating situation in Iraq, the issue was mentioned briefly during the nuclear talks, Iranian official IRNA news agency reported on June 17.

Meanwhile, Iranian deputy foreign minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on June 16 that his country has not held any talks with the United States over the situation in Iraq.

Earlier western media outlets reported that on June 16, the Iraq issue came up "briefly," separate from the nuclear talks citing U.S. officials.

"We are open to engaging the Iranians," The Wall Street Journal quoted a senior U.S. official as saying.

The official added that any such engagement "will not include military coordination or strategic determination about Iraq's future over the heads of the Iraqi people."

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which developed into a formidable force inside Syria, has extended its reach into Iraq since June 10, gaining near-complete control of the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit and seizing Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city.

The group seized large swathes of western Iraq's Anbar Province in January, including much of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi, flashpoints of the U.S.-led war in 2003.

Following the increasing tension Lieutenant Commander of the Iranian Ground Force Brigadier General Kioumars Heidari said on June 15 that the Iran's armed forces are completely prepared to take military actions against the ISIL, if the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamanei orders.

The army has intensified its presence along the country's borders with Iraq, the commander underlined.

On June 14, Iran's president Hassan Rouhani said that the country is ready to assist Iraq in the fight against "terrorists" within international law if Iraq wants it.

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