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Middle East

US urges Iran to play 'non-sectarian' role in Iraq

  • Demonstrators chant pro-al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as the wave al-Qaida flags in front of the provincial government headquarters in Mosul, 225 miles (360 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, June 16, 2014. (AP Photo)

WASHINGTON: The United States on Monday urged Washington's traditional foe Iran to act "in a non-sectarian way" as it engages in the security crisis in neighboring Iraq.

In recent years, Washington has usually demanded that Iran not meddle in the situation in Iraq, but last week's shock gains by Sunni rebels have left Baghdad appealing for outside help.

"We would push Iran to address problems in a non-sectarian way," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Psaki said there was a "possibility" that the United States and Iran could hold bilateral talks on Iraq in Vienna, on the sidelines of the latest round of international talks on Tehran's nuclear ambitions that began Monday.

Key to that possibility is the presence in Vienna of US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, who held secret nuclear talks with Iran in 2013.

 
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