16-10-2019 05:33 AM Jerusalem Timing

Kerry Says Iran Can Help in Fighting ISIL Threat

Kerry Says Iran Can Help in Fighting ISIL Threat

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday that Iran had a role to play in a global coalition to tackle militants of ISIL terrorist group who have seized swaths of Iraq and Syria.

U.S. Secretary of State John KerryU.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday that Iran had a role to play in a global coalition to tackle militants of the so-called 'Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant' (ISIL) terrorist group who have seized swaths of Iraq and Syria.

"The coalition required to eliminate ISIL is not only, or even primarily, military in nature," Kerry told a United Nations Security Council meeting on Iraq.

"It must be comprehensive and include close collaboration across multiple lines of effort. It's about taking out an entire network, decimating and discrediting a militant cult masquerading as a religious movement," he said. "There is a role for nearly every country in the world to play, including Iran."

Kerry's remarks appeared to represent a shift away from previous U.S. statements indicating a reluctance to cooperate with Iran to confront the threat of ISIL. The United States cut off diplomatic ties with Tehran during a hostage crisis after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The United States, president of the U.N. Security Council for September, called the meeting on Iraq as it builds an international military, political and financial coalition to defeat the group.

Iran's supreme leader, Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei, this week said he had rejected an offer by Washington for talks on fighting ISIL. Kerry said he refused to be drawn into a "back and forth" with Iran over the issue.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is the only country in the region that is both capable of and has shown unqualified determination to help the Iraqi government and coordinate with it to assist all those threatened by ISIL," Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told the council.

"Any real and genuine initiative to remedy regional predicaments needs to originate from within the region and be based on regional cooperation.

Combating extremism is not an exception," he said, repeating Tehran's official view.

Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are expected to hold bilateral talks on the sidelines of the annual gathering of world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly next week where ISIL and Tehran's nuclear program will likely be among key topics of discussion.

The U.N. Security Council on Friday adopted a statement urging "the international community, in accordance with international law, to further strengthen and expand support for the government of Iraq as it fights ISIL and associated armed groups."