Harf: US 'Open To Conversation' With Iran

September 16, 2014

The State Department is once again making itself clear regarding the list of potential diplomatic partners in its coalition against ISIL.

Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf performed damage control for Secretary of State John Kerry on CNN after he said he "wasn't opposed to the idea of communicating" with Iran "to find out if they will come on board."

After CNN's Wolf Blitzer said Kerry had suggested that "there [could] be some sort of 'coordination' with Iran in a war against ISIS," at which point Harf took issue with 'coordination':

Not coordination. What he's suggesting is we're open to conversations with them. We've already had a few on the sidelines of the nuclear negotiations that we had the last few months in Vienna, where we talked to them about Iraq, because they know ISIL poses a threat to them as well. So we're open to having that conversation. We won't be coordinating with them either. But they have a role to play if they can support the new inclusive government in Iraq. That's really what all of the regional players need to do.

Harf repeated her lines from an earlier Pentagon press briefing, during which she said the U.S. will not coordinate with Iran "in any way, period," but said the U.S. is "open to having discussions" with the very leaders who mocked the idea of joining a coalition with the U.S.