July 16, 2015 | Quote

Experts: Nuclear Deal May Spark US-Iran Cooperation Against IS

The nuclear deal struck between Western powers and Iran earlier this week may herald more open cooperation between Washington and Tehran in the fight against Islamic State extremists, analysts say.

President Barack Obama told reporters Wednesday he did not foresee formalizing any ties with Iran in the fight both countries are waging in Syria and Iraq against the Islamic State. He did appear, however, not to rule out coordination with Iranian military advisers and Tehran-linked Shi'ite militias — if they are working under the command and control of the Iraqi military.

“The one thing you can count on is that any work that the U.S. government does, or the U.S. military does in Iraq with other partners on the ground is premised on the idea that they are … under the chain of command of the Iraqi government and Iraqi security forces,” Obama said at a news conference Wednesday at the White House in which he defended the Iran nuclear agreement.

His remarks now raise the possibility of more open, albeit informal, coordination, argues Jonathan Schanzer, an analyst with the Foundation of the Defense of Democracies, a Washington DC-based think tank.

“Informal cooperation with Iran in the fight against IS has been Obama's policy in the months leading up to the signing of the deal. It will remain Obama's policy, and it will be bolstered by the nuclear deal, despite not having a formal set of agreements,” he maintains.

But Schanzer warned, “The president fails to see that the more Iran is involved in the fight, the more IS will be able to recruit Sunni extremists who see the war in Syria and Iraq as a sectarian one. It's a simple equation. An empowered and aggressive Iran will inexorably lead to more mobilized Sunni jihadists.”


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