House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says the U.S. shouldn't coordinate with Iran on counterterrorism efforts, despite suggestions by the Obama administration that it may be willing to work with Iran in helping squelch militant gains in neighboring Iraq.
“I’m not one who's interested in working with Iran on this,” the California Democrat told reporters at the Capitol on Thursday. “I think you have to be open to where you can get support for things, but … right now we're trying to stop Iran from having a nuclear weapon. That can't happen.”
Secretary of State John Kerry, in an interview with Yahoo News this week, said he "wouldn't rule out anything that would be constructive to providing real stability."
Kerry stopped short of saying the U.S. is seriously considering a partnership with Tehran. “Let's see what Iran might or might not be willing to do before we start making any pronouncements," he said.
But Pelosi said she’s “not one who would be in a hurry to be having a conversation with Iran about this.”
House Speaker John Boehner earlier this week also said the U.S. should “absolutely not" work with Iran on counterterrorism issues.
Pelosi also cautioned the administration about sending a small band of troops into Iraq, saying she worries such a military operation — which the White House reportedly is considering — could escalate.
“I’ll be interested to hear what the president has to say [but] I think that you have to be careful sending special forces because it's a number that has a tendency to grow,” she said.
“I’d like to see the context, purpose, timeline and all the rest for anything like that. But I do — in any situation, under any president — I would say let's proceed cautiously in that regard, without thinking that a hundred [troops] is a hundred.”
U.S. officials this week have said the president is considering sending 100 special forces soldiers to Iraq to help the government in Baghdad slow the nation's rampant insurgency led by the al Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The soldiers would be involved in training and other purposes, the officials say.
The president has ruled out sending U.S troops directly into combat in Iraq.