During the Thursday State Department briefing, Press Office Director Jeff Rathke was grilled by a reporter about whether or not the United States was now a “functional ally of Iran.” (VIDEO: Reporter Grills State Department: Why Have Russian Hacker Seen More Emails Than American Public?)
At issue was the new United States air offensive against the Islamic State in the Iraqi city of Tikrit. Up until now, the United States was hesitant about intervening on behalf of the Iranian officials and Iranian-backed Shiite militants battling ISIS in the city.
“The State Department has no concerns at all that the U.S. will become Iran’s air force in Iraq?” the reporter pressed. “I mean, basically hasn’t the U.S. become a functional ally of Iran, since we’re providing air support?”
“No,” responded Rathke. “That is the short answer. We are acting in Tikrit at the response of Iraqi government request. We are focused on supporting the Iraqi central government, we are working with them, we are working through our established joint operations center. And this is a step we’ve taken after careful consideration and careful planning with the Iraqi partners.”