The Obama administration is willing to talk with Iran over deteriorating security conditions in Iraq and is not ruling out potential U.S.-Iranian military cooperation in stemming the advance of Sunni extremists, Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday.
The Pentagon, however, quickly tamped down speculation that the United States would coordinate or consult with Iran on any potential military intervention. It also flatly ruled out the idea of “joint military operations” with Iranian armed forces, which the U.S. has long accused of fomenting unrest and backing terrorism in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.
In an interview with Yahoo! News, Kerry said Washington is “open to discussions” with Tehran if the Iranians can help end the violence and take steps that would restore confidence in the Iraqi government. Asked about possible military cooperation with Iran, Kerry said he would “not rule out anything that would be constructive.” However, he stressed that any contacts with Iran would move “step-by-step.”