Former Iranian president: cooperation with U.S. on Iraq is possible
Former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani, has claimed that the U.S and Iran could cooperate in countering Iraq's current militant offensive, despite a history of strained relations.
According to Agence France Presse (AFP), Iran sent Revolutionary Guard members to Iraq to support the Shia-led Iraqi forces contain the advancing Sunni militants. The militant offensive controls key cities in northern and central Iraq and has displaced hundreds of thousands of residents.
AFP reported that despite their differences, both Iran and the U.S. have close ties with the Iraqi government, prompting Rafsangani to state that "there are policy differences between Iran and the United States on Syria, but we share things on Iraq". He expanded that "we share problems (concerning Iraq) with the United States. There is no obstacle for our cooperation. We will cooperate, if necessary...(to fight) the terror," Rafsanjani said in the interview.
Rafsangani, now an influential spiritual leader in Iran, claimed that "if the United States makes a decision on Iraq, and if they need our cooperation, we will negotiate", AFP reports. He suggested joint initiatives such as information sharing and "mutual support in terms of finance and technology". Rafsangani confirmed however that "under the principles of the Iranian government, there will be no military intervention".
The opportunity for cooperation is occurring as Washington is pressuring world leaders to finalize a decision on Tehran's contentious nuclear program. In return for agreement, Iran wants Western sanctions to be lifted, but Rafsanjani warned that agreement would still be difficult without other countries, such as France and Britain accepting Iran's "right to develop a nuclear program for peaceful use."