Iran's deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
NEW YORK – Destroying Islamic State will require Israel leaving “Palestine,” Iran’s deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi said on Friday.
Speaking before the United Nations Security Council at a meeting on the crisis in Iraq, Araghchi said Israel’s actions in Gaza can “only be called genocide,” and that such actions were a rallying cry for Islamic State.
The group’s demise thus must be tied to “an end to the Israeli occupation of Arab lands,” he said.
US Secretary of State John Kerry chaired the four-hour meeting and was present for the Iranian minister’s comments.
“The coalition required to eliminate ISIL [Islamic State] is not only, or even primarily, military in nature. It must be comprehensive and include close collaboration across multiple lines of effort,” Kerry said. “It’s about taking out an entire network, decimating and discrediting a militant cult masquerading as a religious movement. There is a role for nearly every country in the world to play, including Iran.”
Kerry’s remarks appeared to represent a shift away from previous US statements indicating a reluctance to cooperate with Iran to confront the threat of Islamic State.
Araghchi said his government was in agreement with Western powers on the insidious nature of Islamic State, an extremist organization seeking a caliphate through Iraq and the Levant. “We couldn’t agree more that ISIL is neither Islamic, nor a state,” he said.
While the minister said consistency was required in pursuing the group militarily, such actions required the consent and cooperation of host governments, he said in a reference to the Syrian government.
The Obama administration has warned of pending strikes in Syrian territory on Islamic State assets but has refused to coordinate with the government of embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Separately, on Thursday, a senior US official said Israel will judge for itself the outcome of talks between Iran and world powers over its nuclear program, expressing cautious optimism after two days of bilateral talks with the Islamic Republic.
US officials traveled to New York “not optimistic” over the prospects of progress with Iran, the official said, but added that it is now “clear that everyone has come here to go to work.”
US President Barack Obama is committed to a nuclear deal that ensures Israel’s security, the official said, acknowledging Israeli criticism of the progress made thus far.
“At the end of the day, Israel will have to make its own judgment about an agreement, as will every other country in the world,” the official said. “And I understand that, but I also believe that the president of the United States will only sign off on an agreement that he believes is good for the world’s security, including Israel.”
Two months remain before a self-imposed November 24 deadline requires the parties to agree to a comprehensive deal ending international concerns about Iran’s nuclear program, extend the talks or walk away.
Iranian officials in New York have said that, should a deal fail to come to pass in that time, it would have the ability to quickly expand its program beyond “red lines” set out by the Israeli government.
“Escalatory talk,” is not “particularly productive,” the official said.
“We each know what the other would do.”Reuters contributed to this report.