Pentagon confirms that Iranian fighter jets bombed ISIS jihadists, clarifies strikes were not coordinated with the United States.
The Pentagon confirmed on Tuesday that Iranian fighter jets bombed Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists in eastern Iraq, but clarified the strikes were not coordinated with the United States.
“We have indications that they did indeed fly air strikes with F-4 Phantoms in the past several days,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told AFP.
His comments came after Al-Jazeera recently ran footage of what appeared to be an F-4 fighter, similar to those used by the Iranian air force, attacking targets in the eastern province of Diyala.
At a press conference earlier, Kirby said it was up to the Iraqi government to oversee and coordinate military flights by different countries and not U.S. commanders.
“We are flying missions over Iraq. We coordinate with the Iraqi government as we conduct those. It’s up to the Iraqi government to deconflict that air space,” Kirby told reporters, according to AFP.
“Nothing has changed about our policy of not coordinating military activity with the Iranians.”
Earlier, an unnamed American official confirmed to the Huffington Post that Iran is taking part in attacks against ISIS.
“We are aware of that. I wouldn’t say we’re necessarily concerned with it – we kind of have our eyes on it,” the website quoted the official as saying. One reason for that, the official said, was that Iran was bombing ISIS targets near its own border, away from where the Americans and their coalition partners were operating.
The reports about Iran’s involvement in the airstrikes on ISIS come amid speculation of U.S. military cooperation with the Islamic regime, after Secretary of State John Kerry backtracked and said the U.S. couldn’t rule out cooperation, and President Barack Obama secretly wrote to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei in mid-October urging him to join the coalition against ISIS.
According to reports, though Iran initially rejected the notion of such cooperation against ISIS, with Khamenei saying he rejected the idea because of Washington’s “dirty hands”, Tehran later said it would consider it – in return for a good deal in the nuclear talks.
Categories: Escalation / Destabilization Conflict