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U.S. says won’t link Iran cooperation on Islamic State to nuclear talks

WASHINGTON: The United States said on Monday it will refuse any effort by Iran to gain its cooperation on fighting Islamic State forces by being more flexible about Tehran’s nuclear program.

Senior Iranian officials told Reuters that Iran is ready to work with the United States and its allies to stop Islamic State militants but would like more flexibility on Iran’s uranium enrichment program in exchange.

Asked to respond, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the idea was unacceptable.

He said the effort by world powers, including the United States, to persuade Iran to give up its nuclear program is “entirely separate” from President Barack Obama’s attempts to build a coalition against Islamic State.

“The United States will not be in the position of trading aspects of Iran’s nuclear program to secure commitments to take on ISIL,” Earnest said, using an acronym for Islamic State.

He also said the United States will not coordinate the coalition’s military activities with the Iranians and would not share intelligence on Islamic State with Iran.

Islamic State forces have seized swathes of Iraq and Syria and proclaimed a caliphate.-Reuters

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