No Involvement in Anti-IS Air Strikes

No Involvement  in Anti-IS Air Strikes
No Involvement  in Anti-IS Air Strikes

The foreign ministry spokesperson denied reports claiming that Iran conducted air strikes against the positions of the self-declared Islamic State (IS) in eastern Iraq in recent days.

Marzieh Afkham said in her regular press briefing, “There has been no change in Tehran’s policy on fighting takfiri groups and backing Iraq’s central government,” adding, “Reports suggesting Iran’s cooperation with the military of other countries in Iraq against Daesh (IS) are false,” the Fars news agency reported on Wednesday.

A takfiri is a Muslim that accuses another Muslim of being an unbeliever. Western media sources have claimed that US-made F4 Phantom jets of the Iranian air force had been targeting IS positions in the past several days in the eastern Iraqi province of Diyala.

Since August, the US has been leading an air strike campaign as part of a coalition including the UK and some regional partners, such as Saudi Arabia, against IS (also known as ISIS or ISIL) in Iraq and Syria, where the group has come to control large swaths of territory.

Iran has repeatedly announced that it would not join the US-led coalition since the US and its allies are adopting double standards when it comes to the issue of terrorism. Iranian officials have frequently stated that Tehran backs the governments in Iraq and Syria in their campaigns against terrorism because it believes the security of the Arab countries is intertwined with that of its own.

Iran has provided Baghdad and Damascus with assistance in the forms of military advice and training to help them deal with terrorist groups. Afkham went on to say that “Tehran will continue to provide the Iraqi military with advisory support.”

  No US Collaboration

In addition, Reuters quoted an unnamed Iranian official as saying Iran has not launched any air strikes against IS targets in neighboring Iraq.

“Iran has never been involved in any air strikes against the Daesh (IS) targets in Iraq. Any cooperation in such strikes with America is also out of question for Iran,” the senior official said.

On Tuesday, Marie Harf, the deputy spokesperson for the US Department of State, told reporters that she could not confirm the report that Iran has conducted air strikes in Iraq.  “I’m certainly not in a position to confirm those reports. As we’ve said for a long time, we’re not coordinating any military activity with Iran,” Harf said, according to a transcript of her comments which appeared on the website of the State Department.