Iraqi men board military trucks to join the Iraqi army at the main recruiting center in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, June. 14, 2014, after authorities urged Iraqis to help battle insurgents.(AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
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Shiite Iran offered Saturday to consider working with longtime foe the United States if it takes the lead in helping push back Sunni Arab militants, who have seized a swathe of northern Iraq.The offer came as Iraqi commanders said the army had recaptured two towns north of Baghdad as they prepared a fightback, bolstered by thousands of Shiite volunteers who have signed up in response to a call to arms by top religious authority Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. The Iraqi cabinet has granted the Shiite premier "unlimited powers" to reverse the lightning offensive, which has seen the militants sweep down towards Baghdad after overrunning second city Mosul Tuesday.Troops also retook the nearby Muatassam area of Salaheddin, the colonel said.Obama said that while the United States was willing to help out, Iraq needed to take steps to heal the deep divide between the Shiite-led government and the Sunni Arab minority, whose resentment has been exploited by the jihadists.
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