WH: No cooperation with Iran against ISIS

The White House insisted Wednesday that it will not coordinate military action with Iran against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), amid reports that Tehran is attacking the terror group.

"At this point our calculation about the wisdom of cooperating militarily with the Iranians has not changed," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said. "We’re not going to do it."


Iran’s air force was reportedly attacking ISIS targets in Iraq. The airstrikes have prompted concerns that U.S. pilots operating in the region could be in danger if either side was unaware of other operations.

Earnest said the White House cared deeply about the safety of U.S. military personnel. But he added "there are also reasons to believe that directly coordinating militarily with a country like Iran, a country that actively supports terrorist organizations, that it’s not necessarily in the best interests of our military personnel to be sharing significant intelligence information or to be directly coordinating with them militarily."

Earnest said the administration had no reason to dispute the reports of Iranian airstrikes in Iraq’s Diyala province, and that the U.S. had "the area under surveillance."

The press secretary also confirmed that top administration officials and Democratic lawmakers discussed Iran policy Wednesday at the White House, and that Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) wasn’t attending.

Menendez has been a thorn in the White House's side on Iran policy, repeatedly calling for additional sanctions against Tehran amid the ongoing nuclear talks. The White House has said such penalties would be counterproductive, but said that's not why Menendez wasn't in attendance.

"I’m just going to hazard a guess that there is no single member of Congress who’s had more conversations with senior administration officials about our strategy as it relates to Iran’s nuclear program than Chairman Menendez," Earnest said.