Kerry: U.S. willing to share information on Iraq with Iran, air strikes still on the table
Washington is interested in sharing information with Iran over Sunni militants in Iraq, says U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, according to Reuters Thursday.
The top official told reporters in an NBC News interview Thursday, "We are interested in communicating with Iran. That the Iranians know what we're thinking, that we know what they're thinking and there is a sharing of information so people aren't making mistakes."
However, Kerry emphasized in his commentary that Washington has no intention of working with Tehran in terms of Iraq. According to the interview as reported by Reuters, Kerry told NBC in reference to possible cooperation with Tehran, " We're not sitting around contemplating how we're going to do that or if we're going to do that. That's not on the table."
Kerry also discussed the possibility of air strikes on Iraq during the interview, saying that "nothing is off the table" and "all options" are still being considered in this regard, somewhat contradicting U.S. President Barack Obama's statements earlier this week that Washington has no intention of returning to Iraq.
Kerry and Obama's statements come in response to Baghdad's appeal for air strikes on Sunni militant strongholds throughout the country. However, Washington has not yet agreed to participate in such action as of Thursday.
Lawmakers in Washington are also calling on the White House to call for Iraq Premier Nouri Al Maliki's resignation, citing his leadership as the main root of the escalating Sunni militant insurgency. However, it seems unlikely that Obama will take such action according to Kerry's commentary on this issue Thursday.
"What the United States is doing is about Iraq, it's not about Maliki. Nothing the president decides to do is going to be focused specifically on Prime Minister Maliki. It is focused on the people of Iraq," added Kerry.