WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States said on Monday it would refuse to seek Iran’s cooperation in fighting Islamic State forces by being more flexible in the negotiations of six world powers with Tehran on its nuclear programme.
Senior Iranian officials told Reuters that Iran is ready to work with the United States and its allies to stop Islamic State militants but would like more flexibility on Iran’s uranium enrichment programme in exchange.
Asked to respond, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the idea was unacceptable, remarks that echoed those from other Western powers in the negotiations with Tehran.
European officials have also made clear they do not want to bring other issues into the nuclear negotiations.
Earnest said the effort by world powers, including the United States, to persuade Iran to give up its nuclear programme is “entirely separate” from President Barack Obama’s attempts to build a coalition against Islamic State.
“The United States will not be in the position of trading aspects of Iran’s nuclear programme to secure commitments to take on ISIL,” Earnest said, using an acronym for Islamic State (IS).
He also said the United States would not coordinate the coalition’s military activities with the Iranians and would not share intelligence on Islamic State with Iran.