The leaders of Qatar and Iran yesterday vowed to co-operate to fight “terrorism in the region”, President Hassan Rohani’s office reported as Iraqi forces counter a militant onslaught.

The pledge to play a “constructive role to establish security and stability” came in a phone call between HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Rohani, a statement from the Iranian president’s office

Rohani said that in order to defeat “the hurdle of terrorism and extremism... all Muslims should come hand in hand and co-operate”, it said.

Iran is ready, he said, to do just that and “fight security problems and instability in the region” that benefit only “Zionists and the enemies of the Muslim world”.

He did not elaborate.

Iran has vowed to support Baghdad against the insurgency led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), whose fighters have overrun swathes of five Iraqi provinces since launching an offensive in early June.

Iranian leaders insist the Iraq crisis is not sectarian but a fight against terrorism.

Yesterday’s statement said the Emir noted “the necessity for co-operation between Muslim nations to prevent the further spread of (the Iraqi) crisis in the region”.

“We should all co-operate together against terrorism in the region because the current crisis is very dangerous,” he said.