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Iran's role in Iraq could be positive: US general

Iraqi government forces and allied militias take position in the northern part of Diyala province, bordering Salaheddin province, as they take part in an assault to retake the city of Tikrit from IS jihadists, on March 2, 2015Iran’s role in an Iraqi military offensive to recapture Tikrit could be positive as long as it does not fuel sectarian divisions in the country, the US military’s top officer said Tuesday. General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told senators that Iran’s military assistance for Shiite militia was nothing new but was carried out in a more open manner this week as Iraqi forces pushed to retake Tikrit from Islamic State jihadists. “Frankly, it would only be a problem if it resulted in sectarianism,” he told the Senate Armed Services Committee. US commanders rarely discuss Iran’s activities in Iraq in public, stressing that Washington does not coordinate with Tehran’s military in any way — even though the two foes see the IS group as a common enemy.

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