A senior Iranian official on Tuesday denied remarks attributed to him in a British newspaper saying Tehran had carried out airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq.
The Guardian last week quoted deputy foreign minister Ebrahim Rahimpour as saying that Iran had conducted strikes against IS for “the defence of the interests of our friends in Iraq”.
His remarks appeared to contradict the official position of Iran, which has not confirmed it carried out the attacks as reported by the Pentagon.
Rahimpour on Tuesday however said he was misquoted, and that his remarks had been made in response to a question on possible airstrikes.
He said he was referring to “the general way in which Iraq is allied to Iran and that we are ready to provide military assistance if the Iraqi government asks for it”.
“My comments were misinterpreted,” Rahimpour told AFP on the sidelines of an international conference in Tehran.
Iran has consistently denied having troops in Iraq, and was not invited to join a US-led military coalition against IS extremists, who have carved out a vast region of control in the country and in neighbouring Syria.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said he had no knowledge of Iranian air strikes against IS in his country.