After Obama declares war on Islamic State, Iran slams make-up of emerging coalition

Tehran accuses some members of coalition of being "financial and military supporters of terrorists in Iraq and Syria"; Russia: Airstrikes without a UN mandate would be an "act of aggression."

September 11, 2014 15:17
2 minute read.
Obama and Khamenei

Obama and Khamenei. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Iran said on Thursday the emerging international coalition to battle Islamic State militants was "shrouded in serious ambiguities," Iranian state television reported.

"The so-called international coalition to fight the ISIL (Islamic State) group... is shrouded in serious ambiguities and there are severe misgivings about its determination to sincerely fight the root causes of terrorism," Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said on Thursday.

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She did not mention specifically a call by US President Barack Obama for a broad coalition to root out Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

She also accused some members of the coalition of being "financial and military supporters of terrorists in Iraq and Syria."

Obama vowed to strike the Islamic State "wherever they are" in an historic address to the American people on Wednesday night, preparing the nation for broad, borderless military conflict in the Middle East.

"We will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists," Obama said from the White House. "I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven."

In a fifteen-minute address, the president said the US would fight the group – which has conquered territories in eastern Syria and northern Iraq, and has threatened the United States – "relentlessly."

White House officials say the president will now consider all territories in which the organization operates fair game for the US military, including Syria and the entirety of Iraq.

Foreign nations will join the US in its air campaign, US officials said, although "conversations are now under way" on what nations will play what roles in the coalition. Instead of military power, some may instead provide funding and training for rebels, while others still will contribute political support.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday airstrikes against Islamist militants in Syria without a UN Security Council mandate would be an act of aggression, Interfax news agency reported.

"The US president has spoken directly about the possibility of strikes by the US armed forces against ISIL positions in Syria without the consent of the legitimate government," ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.

"This step, in the absence of a UN Security Council decision, would be an act of aggression, a gross violation of international law."

Michael Wilner contributed to this report.

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