Help from Iran not worth the cost

History is of full of episodes in which governments unable to cope with violent uprisings asked for military help from their neighbors. Often, such invitations were rued by those who issued them, then found their rescuers were worse than the original problem.

Secretary of State John Kerry has said U.S. officials are willing to talk with Iran about steps to put down an invasion of Iraq by a violently fanatic Sunni Islamic army. Iran is ruled by Shiite Muslims. The two sects have a long history of confrontations.

Iran already has intervened covertly in Iraq, in an obvious attempt to make that country a dependency. Inviting Tehran to take overt military action probably would accelerate the process, possibly ensuring its success.

Kerry and his boss, President Barack Obama, seem desperate to avoid new U.S. military involvement in Iraq. But putting a welcome mat out in Baghdad, in effect asking Iran to further its scheme to gain even more power in the region, would be a mistake for which Americans would pay in the long run.