U.S. officials are signalling that they are willing to work with Iran to solve the crisis taking place in Iraq, but say they will await information from Iran as to what they are willing to do to tamp down the escalating violence as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria continue to take territory in the northern portion of Iraq.
Iran, for its part has made it known that they are willing to work with the U.S. over the crisis.
In an interview with Katie Couric today, Secretary of State John Kerry replied when asked if the U.S. will reach out to Iran over the situation, “We’re open to discussions if there’s something constructive that can be contributed by Iran if Iran is prepared to do something that is going to respect the integrity and sovereignty of Iraq and the ability of the government to reform.”
State Spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters at a briefing that the Deputy Secretary of State William Burns may bring up the subject “on the margins” as the negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program begins again this week.
But, the Pentagon has said that the U.S is not planning on working militarily with Iran to protect neighboring Iraq. The Pentagon has ordered the USS George H.W. Bush, along with guided missile destryers into the Persian Gulf and the U.S. has already sent an additional 1000 men to help with security at the embassy in Baghdad as ISIS continues to advance toward the capital.
The USS Mesa Verde is also on its way to the region with 550 marines aboard and aircraft capable of evacuating embassy personnel if need be.
Other embassies in baghdad have already begun evacuating their embassies even though Iraqi officials say that they have the situation in hand and are winning against the Sunni insurgents. Even the U.N. moved 58 staffers from Baghdad to neighboring Jordan.
But, the situation on the ground looks different as another city in northern Iraq fell to Sunni militants. Even as Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki delivered a speech that the insurgents would fall, those insurgents took the city of Tal Afar northwest of Baghdad , driving out the government troops in heavy combat.
Other reports say that the Baghdad airport itself came under attack and flights from that airport were suspended on Sunday.