With the growing conflict in Iraq at the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the United States and Iran have suddenly found common ground. But as with all things involving the U.S. and the middle east, nothing is as easy. Despite the mutual interest in a resolution in Iraq, 35 years of continued conflict has left many officials with deep-seeded mistrust.
But there is worry that Iran is trying to leverage its helpfulness on Iraq into better terms in the nuclear negotiations.
“I would be skeptical that cooperating with Iran — particularly sharing sensitive intelligence information — would be in our overall interest,” Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the Senate minority leader, told The Associated Press.
“In fact, it’s hard for me to conceive of any level of Iranian cooperation that doesn’t lead to future demands for concessions on the nuclear program, or foment the return of Shia militias and terrorist groups, which is harmful to resolving the sectarian disputes within Iraq,” McConnell said. “Remember, the Iranians are working aggressively to keep Assad in power in Syria.”
His concern was highlighted by the comments this past week by Mohammad Nahavandian, chief of staff to Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani. The aide suggested nuclear talks and Iraq’s crisis were connected. The State Department rejected any linkage.
With an eye to a nuclear future, many believe Iran will leverage the current situation (and its momentary cooperation) into political goodwill down the road. Even with a short history of collaboration – most recently after September 11th and the invasion of Iraq – prominent democrat leaders such as House minority leader Nancy Pelosi of California and New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez are firmly against working with Iran.
Read more: Canada.com