Iran threatens to attack ISIS ‘deep’ inside Iraq

'We will not allow it to approach our border,' ground forces commander Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdestana was quoted as saying

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Iran will attack Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) inside Iraq if they advance near the border, ground forces commander Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdestana said in comments published on Saturday.

"If the terrorist group [ISIS] comes near our borders, we will attack deep into Iraqi territory and we will not allow it to approach our border," the official IRNA news agency quoted Pourdestana as saying.

ISIS controls a swathe of territory north of Baghdad, including in Diyala province, which borders Shiite Iran.

The United States launched air strikes on ISIS targets in Iraq in August and has since widened them to Syria, where the group has its headquarters, as part of an international coalition to crush the group.

Iran is a close ally of the Shiite-led government in Iraq and has been unusually accepting of U.S. military action in Iraq against the jihadists.

It has provided support to both the Iraqi government and Iraqi Kurdish forces fighting the militants and has dispatched weapons and military advisers.

But Tehran, a close ally of the Damascus government, has criticized air strikes on Syria, saying they would not help restore stability in the region.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said he rejected a U.S. offer to join the international coalition it has been building against the militants.

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