Commander: Iranian Negotiators Merely Qualified for Nuclear Talks
(FNA)- Deputy Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Brig. Gen. Massoud Jazzayeri rejected the allegations of Washington officials that they have been discussing joint campaign against the ISIL terrorist group with Iranian negotiators on the sidelines of the nuclear talks underway in New York.
"The Americans are attempting to gain legitimacy for their anti-ISIL campaign through the Islamic Republic of Iran," Jazzayeri said in an interview with the Iran-based Arabic-language Al-Alam news channel on Monday.
"We declare very clearly that the US lacks the needed legitimacy for fighting terrorism because, the US nurtures terrorism the same moment that it claims to be fighting against the terrorists," he added.
Asked about the US officials' claims that they have been discussing joint campaign against the ISIL with the Iranian negotiators participating in the nuclear talks between Tehran and the Group 5+1 (the US, Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany), Jazzayeri said, "Based on what I know, the Iranian delegation which is negotiating on nuclear issues is merely qualified to discuss nuclear topics within a specified framework; the American may, of course, have said a word about the ISIL but what is not clear (in such claims) is the response given by the Iranian delegation."
His remarks came after a US official claimed on Sunday that Secretary of State John Kerry had raised the threat of the ISIL in Iraq and Syria directly with his Iranian counterpart in high-level talks in New York.
Kerry met Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for more than an hour at a hotel on Sunday, during which they discussed progress in nuclear negotiations and “also discussed the threat posed by ISIL,” a senior State Department official was quoted as saying by the western media.
The US official claimed that Kerry had said at the meeting that Iran had a role to play as the United States seeks to build a coalition to combat the ISIL, which has seized control of swaths of Iraq and Syria.
This is while Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said last week that the Iranian government had rejected the US request for joining the coalition.
Speaking in an interview with Iran's state-run TV as he left the hospital after a successful prostate surgery Last Monday, the Iranian Supreme Leader said the US had played no role in the ISIL's recent defeat in Iraq, and stressed that Washington officials have repeatedly demanded Iran to join them in the fight against the ISIL, but Iran had rejected all their demands.
"During the days I was at the hospital, I had fun listening to the remarks of the US officials on fighting Daesh (ISIL)," Ayatollah Khamenei said.
Ayatollah Khamenei described the US officials' allegations about fighting the ISIL as hollow and biased, and said the US disappointment at Iran's partnership in its incorrect and illegal coalition was an "unrivaled honor" for Tehran.
Ayatollah Khamenei elaborated on some details of the US demands for Iran's cooperation in forming the anti-ISIL coalition, and said, "During the hard days of Daesh's attacks on Iraq, the US ambassador to Iraq demanded our envoy in the country (Iraq) that Iran and the US meet for negotiations and coordination on Daesh. Our ambassador reflected the issue to Iran and although some officials didn’t voice opposition, I opposed it and said we will not cooperate with the Americans in this regard since they have a corrupt intention and stained hands and how could we have cooperation with the Americans under such conditions."
He referred to US Secretary of State John Kerry's remarks that his country wouldn’t invite Iran to the anti-ISIL coalition, and said, "The same US secretary of state had personally demanded (Iranian Foreign Minister) Dr. (Mohammad Javad) Zarif, and called for cooperation with us on Daesh but Dr. Zarif had rejected his demand."
Ayatollah Khamenei also revealed that "the US deputy secretary of state (Wendy Sherman) repeated the same demand for cooperation with Iran against the ISIL during the talks with her Iranian counterpart Seyed Abbas Araqchi, and the Iranian deputy foreign minister refused it".
He underscored Iran's firm and explicit opposition to cooperation with the US in fighting the ISIL, and said, "Now they are telling a lie that they won't accept Iran in the coalition because Iran had announced its opposition to its presence in such a coalition since the very beginning."
Ayatollah Khamenei said that the US and its allies had earlier formed "a coalition of several countries against Syria, but they couldn't do a damn thing", and ensured that the same failure will be repeated with regard to Iraq.
Reiterating that the Americans were not serious about fighting the ISIL, he said, "The Americans and even Daesh are well aware that the move which broke Daesh's backbone in Iraq was not the US action but the acts of the popular forces and the Iraqi army who had well learned the ways to fight Daesh and inflicted heavy damages on the group."
He underscored that the Iraqi popular forces and army's blows to the ISIL would continue, and said, "The reality is that the Americans are seeking an excuse to do the same actions in Iraq and Syria that they are doing in Pakistan, where they trespass on the country's territory without any permission, despite the existence of a sovereign government and a powerful army (in Pakistan), and bomb different parts."
"The Americans should know that if they do this, the same problems that were created on their way in the past ten years in Iraq will be created for them again," Ayatollah Khamenei stressed.