U.S. must leave Iraq: ex-diplomat

January 12, 2020 - 19:29

TEHRAN - Hassan Danaeefar, the former Iranian ambassador to Iraq, has said it is essential that the United States leave Iraq now that the Iraqi parliament has voted to expel American forces from the country.

The Iraqi people have the experience of fighting the U.S. occupation, the ambassador said, predicting the Iraqis will rise against U.S. forces if they refuse to leave the country. 

“So, if the occupant does not respect the Iraqis’ approval, they [the Iraqis] will fight them,” he told the Tasnim news agency in an interview published by Sunday.

He noted that if the U.S. refuses to leave, Iraq can file a complaint in international courts.

The Iraqi Parliament voted on January 5 to expel the U.S. troops from Iraq.

The session came two days after a U.S. drone strike on a convoy at Baghdad airport which killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) deputy chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

The U.S. invaded Iraq in March 2003 under the false claim that the country was hiding weapons of mass destruction. The invasion took place despite repeated confirmations by international bodies, including the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, that Iraq did not have any secret weapons program.

Majid Takht-Ravanchi, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, has said that the U.S. must leave the region, noting that the U.S. is unwelcome in the region.

“Iraq and the region are dissatisfied with the presence of the United States, and the United States must respect the Iraqi parliament’s approval to end the United States’ military presence,” IRNA quoted him as saying on Saturday in an interview with Aljazeera.

He said the Iraqi parliament’s approval is the result of more than 17 years of the U.S. occupation of the country.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that the U.S. “corruptive presence” in the region must come to an end.

“This region does not accept the presence of the United States. The people in the region and the regional governments rising from the people do not accept this issue,” the Leader said during a speech in Qom.

NA/PA

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