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Iran To Help US Eliminate ISIS If Nuclear Sanctions Are Lifted

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By Reissa Su | August 22, 2014 12:26 PM EST

After the international clamour to flush out ISIS in Iraq, Iran has declared it will join the West in fighting the Islamic State militants if the United States will suspend nuclear sanctions. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran is ready to respond if it will be getting something in return.

REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal
Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, who fled the violence in the Iraqi town of Sinjar, march in a demonstration at the Iraqi-Turkish border crossing in Zakho district of the Dohuk Governorate of the Iraqi Kurdistan province August 17, 2014.

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Zarif's statement came after the French Minister Laurent Fabius urged countries to join the international effort against ISIS militants who have taken towns in Iraq and neighbouring Syria.

According to reports, this was the first time Iran has expressed its willingness to work with Western countries to stop conflict in Iraq with the condition that its nuclear programme be allowed to continue.  The crippling sanctions continue to be the subject of ongoing talks between Tehran and the Western powers. Negotiations are expected to resume before the UN General Assembly opens in September.

In exchange for lifting nuclear sanctions, the Western powers demanded that Iran will align its nuclear programme with international concerns. The demands will be part of a comprehensive deal Western parties plan to close in November.

Reports said the Iranian foreign ministry has confirmed that talks were ongoing with European governments to join the fight against ISIS in Iraq. Zarif told media that Iran's role is not yet clear including the reward it will get once it decides to cooperate.

Meanwhile, U.S. top defence officials are considering the possibility of targeting ISIS in Syria. In a news briefing, Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey said it was not enough to stop the Islamic State militants if they will only attack them in Iraq.

Hagel said the U.S. is still evaluating its options but the Western powers know that ISIS is "beyond just a terrorist group." He added that ISIS combines their ideology and "military prowess" to be used against those who oppose them.

Since Aug. 8, the U.S. has launched 90 airstrikes include 57 in support of Kurdish forces, according to the U.S. defence department. The beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley has sparked an international outcry for an end to ISIS' reign in Iraq and Syria. 

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(Photo: REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal / )
Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, who fled the violence in the Iraqi town of Sinjar, march in a demonstration at the Iraqi-Turkish border crossing in Zakho district of the Dohuk Governorate of the Iraqi Kurdistan province August 17, 2014.
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