Dempsey: Iran’s Military Action in Iraq is ‘Positive’

Smoke billows behind an Islamic State group sign
Smoke billows behind an Islamic State group sign / AP
January 15, 2015

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey has described Iran’s military action against the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq as a "positive" development, according to recent comments.

Dempsey, during a join press conference with his Israeli counterpart earlier this month, said Iran’s involvement in Iraq is not surprising to the United States and currently does not threaten American efforts in that country to battle IS (also known as ISIL or ISIS).

"Iran has been both interested and sought to influence the future of Iraq since Iraq's sovereignty was restored in 2004, so Iranian influence is not [a] surprise and Iranian advisers have been in Iraq for a very long time," Dempsey said during the press conference, according to Jane’s. "As long as the Iraqi government remains committed to inclusivity of all the various groups inside the country, then I think Iranian influence will be positive."

Iran does not pose a threat to the United States in Iraq, according to Dempsey.

"It's not threatening to U.S. forces or to our mission at this point. If it were to become that way, then we would have to adapt our campaign plan," he added.

However, Iran’s transfer of weapons to Iraq would constitute a violation of United Nations resolutions governing Tehran’s military activity, Jane’s noted in comments on Dempsey’s remarks.

"Any transfer of Iranian military equipment to Iraq, as well as the presence of Iranian military advisers, would be a violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1747, which banned any state from importing military items or services from the Islamic Republic," they wrote.

Iran has been spotted using its F-4 Phantom II aircraft to carry out strikes in Iraq and has "also been seen carrying out ground attack sorties in support of joint Iraqi Army-militia operations in the east of the country," according to Jane’s.

"The Iraqi Army is also using military hardware that has come from Iran, most notably Su-25 ground attack aircraft," Jane’s wrote. "The Iraqi Ministry of Defense released a video on 30 December showing an HM-20 multiple rocket launcher (MRL) operating with the 5th Infantry Division in Salah-al-Din province. The HM-20 is the Iranian designation for a copy of the 122 mm BM-11 MRL mounted on a MAN LX tactical truck."