Kerry: Coordination with Iran a 'head-scratcher'

Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States is not interested in working with Iran to help stanch the turmoil in Iraq, asserting that tactic would be a "head-scratcher."

Kerry clarified comments he made earlier in the week in which he did not rule out some coordination with the country. 

"I don't know where this comes from that we have suggested working with Iran in that regard," he said on NBC’s “Today” show. "What I said is we are interested in communicating with Iran to make clear that the Iranians know what we are thinking and we know what they are thinking. And that there is a sharing of information so people aren't making mistakes."

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When pressed on whether the United States would consider working hand-in-hand with the country, Kerry completely ruled it out. 

"It would be a head-scratcher," he said. "No, we are not sitting around contemplating how we are going to do that or if we are going to do that. That is not on the table."

On Monday, Kerry had said the United States was open to any constructive process to minimize the violence in Iraq, when asked about coordination with Iran. The comments received wide attention, and the Pentagon immediately ruled out any military coordination. 

When asked about U.S. airstrikes in Iraq during Thursday's interview, Kerry said no option is off the table.

"All options are still available to the president," he said.

Kerry said the United States has been beefing up its presence and assistance in the country. He said the United States did not launch airstrikes in the country at the request of the Iraqi government earlier for a number of reasons, including the lack of operational capacity and the lack of permission from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Kerry said it is up to the people of Iraq to decide if Maliki should remain in his position.    

The White House has repeatedly said no decision has been made on whether to order drone strikes or airstrikes in Iraq as the militant Sunni group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has taken over large areas in the country. 

President Obama met with members of Congress on Wednesday and said he did not expect to order any action that would require congressional approval anytime soon but he would keep members informed.