By Rebecca Shabad - 06/18/14 08:08 AM EDT
Hillary Clinton on Tuesday evening warned the Obama administration against working with Iran to handle the unraveling situation in Iraq.
“I am not prepared to say that we go in with Iran right now, until we have a better idea what we're getting ourselves into," Clinton said at a CNN town hall. "What they [Iran] want to do in Baghdad is basically to envelop [Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki] in the Iranian embrace, maybe even use their own troops in Iraq, as they did in Syria. That is a very difficult position to put the United States in."
The State Department said U.S. diplomats had brief discussions about Iraq with their Iranian counterparts on Monday on the margins of nuclear negotiations in Vienna. Officials, however, ruled out collaborating with Iran militarily in Iraq.
“I'm not in favor of any formal negotiations with or agreements with Iran at the same time regarding Iraq,” Clinton said in an interview later on Fox News.
Asked on CNN if the U.S. should pursue military action with Iran, Clinton said she couldn’t answer that question because she’s not “privy to these conversations anymore” since stepping down as secretary of State.
Clinton said al-Maliki must reassure the U.S. he is making an effort to alleviate the crisis but clarified that he has “failed” as a leader.
In the second week of her national book tour, Clinton is promoting her new memoir Hard Choices.
Her comments over Iraq come as President Obama considers further action to break the momentum of Sunni militants taking over parts of Iraq.
Obama is slated to meet with congressional leaders at the White House on Wednesday to discuss options on the table.