Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has announced an intelligence sharing agreement with Iran, as part of efforts to better tackle Islamic State (IS) in Iraq.
The deal was announced after a meeting between Bishop and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran, as part of the first high-level talks between Australian and Iranian officials in more than ten years.
Bishop said: "It was an informal arrangement whereby we’d share intelligence that would give us information on the Australians who are taking part.
"Iran has a long-standing relationship with Iraq, and they have a very strong military presence there. They also have an influence over the Shia militia, who are operating within Iraq, and we had a discussion about the Shia militia and their role.
"They are in Iraq in places that we are not. They also have a very sophisticated intelligence network and there is a lot of information that they’ve been gathering."
The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has already deployed 300 soldiers to support the international building partner capacity training mission in Iraq, as part of its commitment in the fight against global terrorism.
Australia has also deployed an Air Task Group and Special Operations Task Group to support the US-led international coalitions to counter IS in Iraq in 2014.
Under Operation Inherent Resolve, Australia is a part of the US-led coalition that is launching air strikes in Iraq and Syria, in a bid to degrade and destroy IS.