Kerry: Iran Helpful in Fighting IS

Kerry: Iran Helpful in Fighting IS Kerry: Iran Helpful in Fighting IS

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday deemed Iran's presence in Iraq to be "helpful" to American attempts to beat back the threat of the so-called Islamic State militant group.

The measured praise for a country with which the US has a fraught relationship for nearly four decades, came at the Aspen Ideas Festival, where the secretary of state was asked to assess whether Iran was "more helpful or more harmful" there, CNN reported.

"Look, we have challenges with Iran as everybody knows and we are working on those challenges," Kerry said. "But I can tell you that Iran in Iraq has been in certain ways helpful, and they clearly are focused on ISIL-Daesh [two acronyms for IS], and so we have a common interest, actually."

The top US diplomat explained that he and his Iranian counterpart could now more easily solve global crises and directly communicate.

Brent McGurk, the US special envoy tasked with defeating IS, said earlier Tuesday that Iran-backed Shia militias are mostly helpful in Iraq.

"We think most of these popular mobilization forces do operate under the control of the Iraqi state," McGurk said.