Iran has flown missions against ISIS, Pentagon confirms

Haaretz — Dec 3, 2014

F4 armed with Qader missile. Click to enlarge

F4 armed with Qader missile, one of the Iranian jets though to have carried out the strikes. Click to enlarge

Iran has conducted airstrikes against ISIS forces in Iraq, a U.S. official confirmed Tuesday.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby was asked by reporters if the U.S. was aware of Iran’s involvement over Iraq, following recent media reports of possible strikes by Iranian jets.

“We have the indications they have flown these missions in recent days in eastern Iraq,” Kirby said in broadcast remarks.

The strikes were not coordinated with the U.S., and may be the first time Tehran has launched manned aircraft from inside Iran to strike Islamic State targets in Iraq, Kirby was quoted as saying by the Navy Times.

He said the U.S. would not take a position on the flights, saying it was Iraq’s airspace and up to Iraq to decide who could fly over it.

“We ask that they do those things in keeping with the idea that we don’t further inflame sectarian tensions inside Iraq,” Kirby said.

He said the U.S. was aware that Baghdad has “communications” with Tehran about military activities.

Iran has offered help to the coalition against Islamic State but its request was refused by the U.S., which has vowed it would not coordinate with Iran on military actions inside Iraq.

Washington is concerned that Iran, which backs the majority Shiite government, will provoke further resentment among Iraq’s Sunni minority. (DPA)

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