Iran offers Iraq support against the 'terrorism' of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

Iran offered neighbouring Iraq support against "terrorism" Wednesday, as Baghdad battled a jihadist offensive that has seized the country's second city and is moving towards the capital.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that "while condemning the murder of Iraqi citizens... Iran offers its support to the government and people of Iraq against terrorism."

Iran is a predominantly Shiite Muslim country, while the campaign against Iraq's Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's coalition government is led by Sunni hardliners.

In remarks to his Iraqi counterpart, Hoshyar Zebari, carried by state news agency IRNA, Zarif also called for "effective international support" for the Iraqi government.

It was the first reaction by Iran to the campaign spearheaded by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which is also fighting to overthrow Tehran's close ally President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.