KIRKUK, Iraq -- In a new, slickly produced video, ISIS claims its militants are still on the streets of Tikrit -- confidently fighting off the assault by Iraqi forces.
But in Tikrit's outskirts, Iraqi soldiers are trying to encircle the extremists - and they're being helped by troops from Iran, with an Iranian general reportedly commanding the battle.
That's raised fears in the U.S. about Iran's rising influence - but with nearly a third of Iraq now in the grip of ISIS, many Iraqis welcome the Iranian intervention.
Iraq's main North-South highway is in ISIS-controlled territory. The Iraqi forces - and the Iranian soldiers fighting alongside them - need to recapture that road to secure a supply route from Baghdad.
"Iraqi forces alone, they cannot do this," said Dr. Najmaldin Karim, the governor of Iraq's war-torn Kirkuk Province. "There's no denying to that and if Iran is helping with whatever way I don't see how you can say no to them."
Karim told us that even if Tikrit is recaptured, ISIS is a very long way from defeat.
"They have this ability to move around," Karim said. "We cannot take it lightly that just because you take them out of a place, that's it, that place is safe and they will never come back."
Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday that the U.S. still considers Iran to be a state sponsor of terrorism. But earlier this week General Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that Iranian involvement in Iraq might be a positive thing.