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Iran ‘backs US military contacts’ to fight Islamic State

Iran’s Supreme Leader has approved co-operation with the US as part of the fight against Islamic State (IS) in Iraq, sources have told BBC Persian.

Ayatollah Khamenei has authorised his top commander to co-ordinate military operations with the US, Iraqi and Kurdish forces, sources in Tehran say.

Iran has traditionally opposed US involvement in Iraq, an Iranian ally.

However, Iran’s foreign ministry officially denied it would co-operate with the US against IS.

Ministry spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham told Iran’s Press TV the report was not correct.

Tehran had been critical of the way Washington launched air strikes on IS only after US interests came under threat, she said.

A further indication that Iran may have approved co-operation with the US comes from CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, who tweeted that Iraqi President Fuad Masum had told her as much on Thursday.

Shia Iran sees the extremist Sunni IS group, which views Shias as heretics, as a serious threat.

Last month US air strikes helped Iranian-backed Shia militia and Kurdish forces break a two-month siege by Islamic State of the Shia town of Amerli.

IS has taken over swathes of northern and western Iraq and eastern Syria in recent months.

US forces began carrying out air strikes on IS positions in August after they took over several cities in northern Iraq.

 

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Filed in: News, Politics

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