The US and Iran have secretly expanded their military cooperation in Iraq, where Iranian troops have undertaken the defense of Baghdad against IS incursions from the west and east, DEBKAfile’s exclusive Mid East military sources disclose. Washington has waived the precondition formerly set for this cooperation as being a prior nuclear accord. Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, deputy of Al Qods Brigades chief Gen. Qasem Soleimani, commands the Iranian force and liaises with the Americans before planned operations. The Iranian force consists of members of their popular militia Basij and the Shiite Kataib Hizballah of Iraq. They guard Baghdad and double as a barrier against ISIS thrusts towards the Shiite cities of southern Iraq.