Considering the strain that persists in the US-Iran relations, the statement that John Kerry, the US Secretary of State issued with respect to Iran, has raised eyebrows. Iran has proved helpful in the mission to stamp out IS in Iraq, Kerry expressed in an address. John Brennan, Director of the US intelligence service, the ‘CIA’, also endorsing the view, stated that it was owing to Iran’s presence in Iraq that the IS could be contained to a great extent.
John Kerry was answering journalists in a festival arranged by a local radio company in Denver, Colorado. When asked whether Iran’s influence in Iraq was helpful or harmful to the US, Kerry gave a reply that left everybody stunned.
“The US does have challenges with Iran and that everybody is aware of. But I can tell you that Iran’s presence in Iraq has been helpful primarily since missions to counter IS are common interest and focus”, he said. He further claimed that the co-operation between the two countries with respect to fighting the IS indicated that they could easily resolve issues of international significance and also be in direct communication.
Brett McGurk, the American special envoy for the Global Coalition to counter IS, also present at the festival, reiterated that Iran’s role with regard to Iraq was indeed positive, although certain pro-Iran groups did create trouble. John Kerry’s statements that appeared to give Iran the clean chit for its role in Iraq, triggered talks in the American media. Brennan, the Director of the CIA was asked about Iran’s role in Iraq during an interview by a news channel.
Brennan said that Iran was in the fight against IS but to safeguard its relations with the US and the activities of the IS in Iraq only justified Iran’s role in Iraq. He further clarified that it was owing to Iran’s presence in Iraq that the IS has had to inhibit its expansion.
However, there still remains much for Iran to do as far as fighting against the IS went, said Brennan sardonically. Although Iran had clarified its stand against the IS, Iran would have to take on a much greater responsibility if a terrorist outfit of the likes of IS had to be wiped out. Also, it would have to work with the nations of the Gulf as well. Moreover Iran ought also to stop supporting terrorism, said the CIA Director.
The negotiations of the US with Iran over the nuclear program had not in any way eased the tension in the relations that the two countries shared. The strain persisted and the American Department of State and the supreme powers of Iran still engaged in allegations and counter-allegations. Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran had in fact commented that Iran could never trust the US and the US in turn, recently published a report stating that Iran was by far the biggest sponsor of terror.
Given this background, it is noteworthy that the armies of both the US and Iran have been deployed to Iraq and have been launching attacks on the IS. However, that there exists a certain co-ordination between the two countries, is a fact that had not come to light until now.