Iran Daily, Sept 20: US Says “Role for Tehran” in Iraq Intervention — But Do Iranians Want It?

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LATEST: Supreme Leader’s Website Posts Photos as Reassurance of Khamenei’s Health

Adjusting the US position, US Secretary of State John Kerry has said Iran can play a role in the intervention in Iraq against the Islamic State — but Tehran’s criticism of the American-led coalition is unabated.

Kerry told the UN Security Council on Iraq on Friday:

The coalition required to eliminate ISIL is not only, or even primarily, military in nature,” Kerry said. “It must be comprehensive and include close collaboration across multiple lines of effort.”

“There is a role for nearly every country in the world to play, including Iran.

State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said on Friday that the US and Iran had discussed the issue on the sidelines of nuclear talks in New York.

Kerry’s statement came four days after he vetoed Iran’s involvement in an international conference in Paris on the Iraqi intervention. The US said Gulf States such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE had threatened to withdraw from the session if Iranians were present.

The US claimed that Iran had approached it to request participation. The Supreme Leader responded sharply, saying that Washington had used high-level envoys to plead for Tehran’s involvement.

The truth behind the differing claims appears to be that Tehran rejected the conditions — put to it by the Danish Foreign Minister in a visit last week — for cooperation, including its relationship to the US military command directing airstrikes and special forces against the Islamic State.

Iran is also linking the issue to Syria, seeking to end any US support for insurgents who have been challenging the Assad regime.

Kerry’s softer line had no effect on Iran’s criticism yesterday. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in New York:

The US and West will be unable to resolve the issue of terrorism by continuing to pursue their past policies.

During four months of savage activities by the Islamic State in Iraq, the Americans took no effective measure, namely cutting off direct and indirect aid to them, in order to counter them.

Zarif chided the US over the 42-month Syrian conflict, saying it was impossible to fight against “terrorists” — the insurgents as well as the Islamic State — while seeking to weaken the country’s “legal government”.

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi also made the Syrian link in a UN session on Iraq:

A successful fight against the Islamic State requires helping and enabling the relevant central authorities to deal with this menace. Any strategy that undermines these authorities, including the Syrian Government that resisted the Islamic State for few years, or differentiates between segments of population in terms of protection will be a recipe for defeat.


Supreme Leader’s Website Posts Photos as Reassurance of Khamenei’s Health

Seeking reassurance about the Supreme Leader’s health, five days after he left hospital, Ayatollah Khamenei’s website has post photos of his meeting with Grand Ayatollah Sobhani:

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The Supreme Leader had a prostate operation on September 8. Medical staff have said the procedure was brief and successful.

Iranians: Nuclear Talks Resume in “Very Good Atmosphere”

Iran’s lead negotiator, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, says nuclear talks with the 5+1 Powers have resumed in a “very good atmosphere”.

The talks were renewed in New York on Wednesday after a two-month break, with the first plenary discussions on Friday.

“In general, a very good atmosphere prevails in the talks,” Araqchi said. He added that differences on some issues exist but said the two sides have expressed determination to continue the negotiations and expressed hope for “tangible progress”.

Araqchi gave no details of the discussions.

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