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Iranian foreign minister: Keep Iraq intact

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John Kerry,Iran,Iraq,PennAve,Terrorism,Islamic Jihad,Middle East,Zack Colman,Islam,ISIS

Iran's foreign minister said a break-up of Iraq would be "short-sighted," and urged to keep its neighbor whole.

"I believe Iraq, it is in the interest of everybody -- and I mean everybody -- in the interest of stability in our region, to keep territorial integrity of Iraq, to keep Iraq one. All attempts to break out are short-sighted and will harm even those who are trying to do it. So it is in the interest of not only Iran, but the United States and all other countries in the region," Javad Zarif said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

The comments come as the radical Islamist terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, has ravaged portions of Iraq and Syria in an attempt to create a state based on a harsh interpretation of sharia law. The Sunni-dominated group has used brutality to assert influence, and has stoked sectarian flames by targeting Shia areas.

The crisis has invited questions of how closely the United States should coordinate with the regime in Iran, which is Shia and has sizable influence with Iraqi President Nuri al-Maliki, who is also a Shia.

"We need to agree on principles," Zarif said of cooperation between his nation and the U.S. on Iraq.

The comments come as officials from the U.S., United Kingdom, Russia, France, China, Germany and Iran are meeting in Vienna to discuss a long-term deal regarding the latter's nuclear program. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters Sunday that he discussed options for Iraq with his German counterpart.

"We had a very fulsome discussion," he said.

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Zack Colman

Staff Writer
The Washington Examiner

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