U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday the U.S. is open to talks with Iran about the escalating crisis in Iraq — as well as possible military cooperation.
Kerry said in an interview with Yahoo’s Katie Couric that the U.S. would undertake “a very thorough vetting of every option that is available,” including talks with Iran and drone strikes, which he said “may well be” an option.
Sunni insurgents of the ISIS — Islamic State of Iraq and Syria — have taken over several cities in the country over the past week. Kerry said he doesn’t think the insurgents will be able to take control of Baghdad, despite pronouncements from their leader that they would march on the city.
“When you have people murdering, assassinating in these mass massacres, you have to stop that — from the air or otherwise,” Kerry said.
U.S. President Barack Obama is considering military options for intervening in Iraq, but he stressed Friday that U.S. troops would not be sent back into the country.
Early Monday morning, a senior Obama administration official said it’s possible senior U.S. and Iranian diplomats could discuss the Iraq crisis during nuclear talks in Vienna.
Some analysts have said the escalation in Iraq benefits Iran.
“The ISIS crisis in Iraq plays right into Iran’s hand,” Jonathan Schanzer, a former terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Department of Treasury, told Business Insider last weekend. “The regime in Tehran and the regime in Syria have been saying for months that they are the regional players that can help the West in its fight against terrorism. Despite the obvious irony — given the grisly terrorism track records of both countries — this may appeal to Washington, which is loathe to enter into new conflicts in the Middle East as it keen to ‘lead from behind.'”
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