White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest confirmed that the United States has had “back channel” conversations with Iran on the threat posed by Islamic State terrorists, but insisted that there was no plan to coordinate military actions against the group with Iran.
“I would expect that there will continue to be the occasional back channel conversation on this topic between the United States and members of the international community and the Iranians,” he said during Monday’s Press briefing.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei announced on Monday that Iran leaders had rejected a request from Secretary of State John Kerry for cooperation to fight ISIS.
Earnest defended “back channel” conversations with Iran about ISIL, but admitted that the hadn’t seen the Ayatollah’s direct comments.
In Paris, Kerry refused to characterize the diplomatic conversations with Iran, insisting that he would “not going to get into a back and forth” with Iranian leaders.
State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki also refused to discuss the nature of their diplomatic conversations with the Iranians.
Psaki, Kerry, and Earnest emphatically insisted that the United States would not partner militarily with Iran to fight ISIL and would not share intelligence with Iranian officials.