UN Urges Iran Role in Stabilizing Iraq

UN Urges Iran Role in Stabilizing IraqUN Urges Iran Role in Stabilizing Iraq

The United Nations could provide a platform bringing Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iraq’s other neighbors together to help stabilize the situation in Iraq, the UN special envoy to Iraq said on Sunday.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Nickolay Mladenov, a former Bulgarian foreign minister picked as the UN special representative in August 2013, said regional support was critical to efforts to stem the advance of the extremist group Islamic State (IS) and to provide a political solution to the crisis. Mr. Mladenov said that while a growing number of Iraq’s neighbors are joining the US-led coalition to fight Islamic State, which has taken swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, those efforts have so far excluded Iran.

“It’s important to be creative and to talk to the Iranians and to the region about how Iran can be involved in supporting the fight against ISIL,” he said. “Perhaps this can be done within some sort of a UN framework.”

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).  Mr. Mladenov said he hears the same priorities from many of Iraq’s neighbors on how to craft a political solution to settle the situation in Iraq, which is currently putting the final touches to a new, broader national government.

“Yes, there’s a security aspect of fighting ISIL, a very important security aspect, but there’s also a political, social and economic aspect of it,” he said. “It’s a matter of coming together to support that country in that way. I think here’s where the UN can play an important role.”

The US and Iran have both said they will not cooperate militarily in Iraq. Iran says it has sent advisers and assistance to Iraq’s government and Kurdish forces to help them fight IS.