Australia, a US ally, to share intelligence with Iran on ISIS

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop meeting with her Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, in Tehran on Saturday.

Story highlights

  • Australian foreign minister says deal is to focus on tracking citizens who join ISIS
  • But one lawmaker describes it as "dancing with the devil"

(CNN)Australia, an important ally of the United States, has agreed to share some of its intelligence with Iran.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the deal is "an informal arrangement" with an emphasis on tracking Australians who go to Iraq to fight for ISIS.
    But one Australian lawmaker reportedly described the move as "dancing with the devil."
    Over the weekend, Bishop became the first Australian government minister to visit Iran in 12 years, meeting with President Hassan Rouhani. The intelligence-sharing deal was announced in an interview released Monday that Bishop gave to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation while in Tehran.
    "During my discussions with the national leadership here, it was agreed that we could share intelligence, particularly on the foreign terrorist fighters from Australia who are taking part in this conflict in Iraq," she said. The Iranians "were very agreeable to share that information with us," she added.

    Iran 'in places that we are not'

    Like many Western nations, Australia is grappling with the problem of citizens who are choosing to travel to Iraq and Syria to join ISIS, which calls itself the Islamic State.
    Australia is part of the U.S.-led coalition that's carrying out airstrikes against ISIS.