Iran ‘backs U.S. military contacts’ to fight Islamic State

According to BBC News, Iran’s Supreme Leader has approved cooperation with the U.S. as part of the fight against Islamic State (IS) in Iraq.

Sources in Tehran have shared that Ayatollah Khamenei has authorized his top commander to coordinate military operations with the U.S., Iraqi and Kurdish forces. Another indication that Iran has approved cooperation with the U.S. comes from CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, who reported that Iraqi President Fuad Masum had given her such an impression.

Shia Iran perceives the extremist Sunni IS group as a serious threat. The group has taken over large areas of northern and western Iraq and eastern Syria in recent months.

BBC News reported that last month U.S. air strikes assisted Iranian-backed Shia militia and Kurdish forces end a two-month siege by the Islamic State of the Shia town of Amerli. The U.S. began the air strikes after the group overtook key cities in northern Iraq.

The cooperation with U.S. military forces can be seen as an indication that the change in Iran’s policy is one of necessity. It and other global leaders feel the country can only defeat IS by bringing in support from other countries.

Iran’s decision will no doubt be welcomed in Washington and London, where a joint strategy is taking shape towards creating a broad alliance of international and regional players to deal with the IS threat, BBC News reported.

Sources told BBC News that Ayatollah Khamenei has sanctioned General Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, to work with forces fighting IS, including the U.S. Soleimani has been actively working with Baghdad forces as well.

Meanwhile, NATO leaders met in Wales to discuss many of the crises currently occurring all over the globe. It is reported that they want to form a military coalition to take on IS.

“We need to attack them in ways that prevent them from taking over territory, to bolster the Iraqi security forces and others in the region who are prepared to take them on, without committing troops of our own,” said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

“Obviously I think that’s a red line for everybody here. No boots on the ground,” he said.

Since the Islamic revolution in 1979, the U.S. and Iran have had a troubled relationship. After Iranian students overtook the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1980, an incident that put 52 Americans hostages at risk, the U.S. severed its alliances with the country.


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