- The Washington Times - Monday, June 16, 2014

Secretary of State John Kerry refused Monday to rule out military cooperation with Iran as part of the Obama administration;s response to Islamic militants that have swept through Iraq.

Asked in an interview with Yahoo News whether the White House was open to working with Iran, Mr. Kerry said, “I wouldn’t rule out anything that would be constructive to providing real stability, a respect for the Constitution, a respect for the election process and a respect for the ability of the Iraqi people to form a government that represents all the interests of Iraq.”

President Obama is weighing how to respond to the offensive launched by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) that is spinning Iraq into chaos.

The al Qaeda offshoot, compromised of Sunni extremists, wants to create a new Islamic state that includes parts of Syria and Iraq and has promised to massacre Shiites.

Iran is the world’s largest Shiite country and news reports have said that it has deployed Revolutionary Guards units to Iraq to help defend the pro-Iranian government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

That has raised the prospect of Iran and the United States fighting on the same side.

As for working with Iran, Mr. Kerry told Yahoo News that the Obama administration is “open to any constructive process here that could minimize the violence, hold Iraq together … and eliminate the presence of outside terrorist forces that are ripping it apart.”

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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