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Even an American in Iraq is ‘too much’ – Iran – RT World News

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Iraq should not allow the presence of US troops on its territory, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei told his Iraqi counterpart Latif Rashid at a meeting in Tehran on Saturday.

“Americans are not friends of Iraq” Khamenei told Rashid during Saturday’s meeting, according to local media. “Americans aren’t friends with anyone and aren’t even loyal to their European friends.”

Rashid and his delegation arrived in Tehran on Saturday at the invitation of Khamenei for talks aimed at strengthening ties between the two neighboring states. Issues such as sharing of water resources, trade and methods of tackling climate change should be addressed, the Rudaw Media Network reported.

According to Reuters, the topic of US influence in the region was also discussed. Iran strongly opposes a US military presence on its Iraqi border. The United States has approximately 2,500 troops in Iraq, many of whom are tasked with advising and assisting regional armed forces to assess and respond to the threat from the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), which is seized parts of Iraq in 2014.


However, Khamenei opposed Washington’s military intervention and said he believed it was a root cause of regional instability. “Even the presence of a single American in Iraq is too much” Reuters quoted him as telling Rashid on Saturday.

“Iraq’s main effort is to deepen relations with Iran and resolve some remaining issues between the two countries,” Rashid said afterwards, without commenting on Washington’s interests in Baghdad.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have increased in recent years, with particular emphasis on Iran’s nuclear program. In 2015, the United States joined other world leaders in signing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which sought to limit Iran’s nuclear capability in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.

In 2018, then-President Donald Trump’s administration withdrew from the deal and reintroduced sanctions against Tehran. More recently, Joe Biden has signaled that he would like to resume talks with Iran, but no such plan has yet been offered.

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