Channel NewsAsia

Iran giving 'advice' to Iraq Kurds battling IS jihadists

Iran is providing advice to Iraqi Kurds fighting Islamic State jihadists, Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Wednesday (Aug 20). 

TEHRAN: Iran is providing advice to Iraqi Kurds fighting Islamic State jihadists, Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Wednesday (Aug 20). "We have given help with policy and advice to the Iraq government. We have acted in the same manner to Iraqi Kurdistan," Amir-Abdollahian told the Arabic service of state television.

Tehran has no military presence in Baghdad, nor in the Shiite shrine city of Samarra to its north nor the Kurdish region of Iraq, he added. "We have not sent weapons either, but we have given advice and shared our experiences," Amir-Abdollahian said.

Foreign ministry spokesman Marzieh Afkham said talks were also under way with some European countries. "Iran has begun discussions with European countries about the danger from terrorism and takfiris (extremists) and the increase in their activities," Afkham said in reply to a question about British Prime Minister David Cameron's statement on cooperation with Iran against Islamic State (IS).

Amir-Abdollahian accused the United States of doing nothing to halt "the flow of capital" to jihadist groups in neighbouring Syria, while Washington "monitors the tiniest Iranian petrodollar through the international banking system."

These groups "sell and buy weapons in Syria and with the help of certain countries in the region... sell between $3 and $7 million of petrol every day," the deputy minister alleged.

IS and its Sunni allies have overrun large chunks of Iraq and Syria, and have declared a cross-border caliphate - a successor state to historic Muslim empires.

Iran, majority Shiite like its neighbour Iraq, was the main supporter of divisive former Iraqi premier Nuri al-Maliki before the turmoil led it to distance itself from him. It has welcomed the appointment of Maliki's successor, Haidar al-Abadi, and has called on all Iraqi parties to unite against the IS offensive.