Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, claimed on Thursday that the United States was “not doing anything” to fight the Islamic State terror group.
His remarks, made in an interview with Reuters, covered topics from Saudi Arabia’s manipulation of oil prices to human rights concerns in Bahrain.
Abdollahian said that U.S. policy toward violent Islamism is erratic. Using the Arabic acronym for ISIS, he said that “One day they support Daesh, another day they are against terrorism.” Criticizing America’s limited approach to the group, he said “the United States is not acting to eliminate Daesh… they are only interested in managing it.”
Both the United States and Iran have supported Iraq’s government in its attempt to drive out the terrorist group, though only Iran has sent its own ground troops into the country. The U.S., however, has led the air war against ISIS, and The Washington Post has reported that the deployment of American “military advisers” in Iraq is moving closer to the front lines.
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Many in Washington fear the political repercussions of recommitting combat troops to Iraq. While President Barack Obama has been insistent on avoiding “boots on the ground,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staffs General Martin Dempsey has kept the option open.
Abdollahian’s remarks come at a delicate time for U.S.-Iran relations. While each country remains suspicious of the other, both are increasingly forced to work together on a number of mutual strategic interests in the region. (RELATED: Obama Walks Iran Tightrope In Year-End Interview)
The key obstacle between the two remains the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. The last round, which ended in late November, resulted in a 7-month extension, the second consecutive pushback of a nuclear deal deadline.
Abdollahian acknowledged this tension, and disparaged the United States’ increase of sanctions against Iran during the negotiating period: “these actions make them bear a greater responsibility should the negotiations fail.”
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