Iran denies bombing ISIL targets in Iraq

World Today

Iran denied reports about it recently carried out airstrikes against ISIL in northern Iraq. The U.S. also stressed that there was no coordination with Tehran on tackling the Sunni extremist group.

CCTV America’s Nathan King reported from Washington, D.C.

Iran denies bombing ISIL targets in Iraq

Iran denied reports about it recently carried out airstrikes against ISIL in northern Iraq. The U.S. also stressed that there was no coordination with Tehran on tackling the Sunni extremist group. CCTV America's Nathan King reported from Washington, D.C.

A video showed the Iraq’s air force bombed ISIL targets outside of Baghdad. The question about whether Iran was doing the same thing arose after a grainy footage was aired on the Al Jazeera network a few days ago, showing a U.S. made F-4 Phantom jet  apparently on a bombing run over ISIL-controlled territory.

F-4’s  were used by the Iranians, who bought the now antiquated jets from the U.S. before the Islamic revolution. Turkey also has F-4’s, but its unwillingness to get militarily involved in the anti-ISIL movement points back to Iran as the most likely owner.

Tehran has been quick to deny the reports. “News about cooperation between Iran and military groups of other countries is imprecise and incorrect,” Marzieh Afkham, Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman, said.

While Tehran denied the air operations, it openly said that militias have been fighting ISIL alongside Kurdish Peshmerga forces. Casualties have also been reported. Iranian military support has also been sent to reinforce Baghdad.

All this came as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry chaired the first ministerial meeting of the coalition against ISIL in Brussels. Iran was not part of that coalition and has not been invited to any meetings, but Iran is fighting on the same side as the U.S. against the militant group. The U.S., however, maintains there is no coordination with the Iraqis.

“I think it’s self-evident that if Iran is taking on ISIL in some particular place, and it’s confined to take on ISIL and it has an impact. It’s going to be in that effect positive, but that’s not something we are coordinating. The Iraqis have the overall responsibility for their own ground and air operations, and what they choose to do is up to them,” Kerry said.

Some Iraqi politicians said they would welcome Iranian air attacks.

”We know that the Islamic Republic of Iran is fighting Daesh (Islamic State group). It has advisers in the country. It provides Iraq with weapons and ammunition. If Iran has carried out airstrikes against Daesh in coordination with the Iraqi government, it is a welcome step. The Islamic State group is an enemy to peoples all over the world. Iraq and Iran are amongst the targeted peoples,”  Iraqi Security and Defense Committee Hakim al-Zamili said.