Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani has bolstered the initiative of his protégé, President Rouhani, for cooperation with the US in the fight in Iraq against the Islamic State.
Rafsanjani said on Sunday, “The US acknowledges that if Iran does not help, this [US-led] coalition cannot eliminate the Islamic State.”
Like Rouhani, the former President, who is head of the Expediency Council, said airstrikes alone cannot destroy the jihadists. He noted the Islamic State’s advance, despite the start of US bombing and missiles inside Syria, on the key Kurdish town of Kobane.
Rafsanjani held out the positive of the Islamic Republic helping solve the problem of forming a new government in Iraq — although he did not indicate if this meant Iran would support a new government easing out President Assad in Syria.
In June, soon after the Islamic State’s offensive in northern Iraq taking key cities and advancing on Baghdad, the Rouhani Government proposed cooperation with the US to check the advance; however, it was rebuffed by key figures in the regime, including the Supreme Leader and the military.
In recent weeks, Iran has refined its position, both through public criticism of the US and through less hostile statements such as Rafsanjani’s. If the US will end support for the insurgency and opposition in Syria, then Iran will consider cooperation with the US in Iraq, provided its military forces are not subordinate to American command.
MPs Back Rouhani After New York Trip
MPs have praised President Rouhani following his return from a five-day trip to New York and the UN, issuing a statement on Sunday:
The president’s remarks showed the will and intention of the faithful and committed Iranian nation against the arrogant nature of the hegemonic powers. They include the message that the threats and sanctions have not been able to create even a hole in the firm trench of this great nation’s resistance.
Hardliners had put pressure on Rouhani to hold a firm line against the West, as Iran and the 5+1 Powers pursued talks in New York for a comprehensive nuclear settlement. They effectively vetoed the President’s attempt to meet US counterpart Barack Obama, following discussions with French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister Cameron.
The MPs chided Cameron for his criticism of Iran, in his General Assembly speech, after the encounter with Rouhani — the first between British and Iranian Heads of Government since 1979. They said “London has yet to understand the realities of the Islamic Republic and the Iranian nation’s hatred for Britain”.
Intelligence Ministry: “The BBC Tried to Steal Our Archives”
The Intelligence Ministry claims it has prevented the BBC’s Persian Service from seizing Iran’s archives.
“The BBC tried to steal historical documents from Iran’s center of archived documents through its agents in the country, but the attempt was foiled due to the vigilance of the Intelligence Ministry,” a statement said on Sunday.
The Intelligence Ministry promised to release further details.
The Iranian regime has pursued a campaign of intimidation of BBC Persian, accusing it of instigating “sedition”. It has detained some staff inside the country and interrogated the families of those who work in London.