By Faramarz Kuhpayeh

Not Even a Single American Soldier

April 30, 2023 - 21:54
Why the presence of America in Iraq is harmful for Iraqis and others?

TEHRAN – Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, reiterated Iran’s strategic position that American troops should leave the West Asia region, particularly Iraq.

The ayatollah underlined this position in a meeting with Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid, who visited Iran on Saturday. In their meeting, Ayatollah Khamenei and President Rashid addressed many issues of common interest, including the presence of American forces in Iraq, which has been a point of contention in recent years. 

The U.S. maintains a considerable number of troops in discrete bases in Iraq under the declared policy of helping Iraq counter terrorist groups such as Daesh. 

Iran has long called for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. The 2020 assassination of General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad gave new momentum to these calls. Since then, many Iranian officials have been underscoring that expelling U.S. forces from Iraq is a strategic goal that Iran is pursuing. 

Also, many Iraqi political factions have worked to make the U.S. withdraw its forces. The Iraqi parliament passed a bill in this regard days after the assassination of General Soleimani. 

But Iraqi efforts to expel American troops have not reached a concrete result, with the U.S. continuing to maintain forces in the Arab country. Of course, the number of American troops in Iraq has decreased but a total withdrawal has not taken place yet. 

Ayatollah Khamenei noted that even a single American servicemember in Iraq is superfluous because the U.S. is not a friend of Iraq.  He asserted that the Americans are not Iraq’s friends. “The U.S. is not Iraq’s friend. The U.S. is not anyone’s friend. They are not even loyal to their European friends. The presence of even a single American in Iraq is too much."

In the meeting, the Leader emphasized that the progress, prosperity, independence, and advancement of Iraq is very important for the Islamic Republic of Iran and that the expansion of bilateral cooperation and the implementation of agreements are in the interest of both countries, according to a readout by 

"The Islamic Republic of Iran stands by Iraq and our wish is to see Iraq’s progress," he added.

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution considers it necessary to expand cooperation by dedicatedly following up on the agreements made, especially the recent security and economic agreements. “The expansion and deepening of relations between Iran and Iraq have strong enemies, and if there were no strong historical and religious ties between the two countries, perhaps the state of relations would have returned to the situation that existed during Saddam's time,” he said.
Ayatollah Khamenei also praised the Iraqi people for their hospitality in welcoming Iranian pilgrims during the Arbaeen and non-Arbaeen days, despite a history of an eight-year-long war between the two countries.

"The meaning behind such an important phenomenon is that there are unifying factors between these two nations and countries which external political factors cannot influence. Therefore, this opportunity should be used to further deepen our relationship and serious care and vigilance needs to be undertaken for its continuation," he emphasized.

Ayatollah Khamenei expressed his satisfaction with the current state of the Iraqi government and administration and called it the product of the unity of the Iraqi people and groups. He said Iraq has good figures and thoughts as well as motivated and lively youths, and such national wealth should be tapped to preserve unity.

At the meeting, also attended by President Raisi, Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid expressed his delight over meeting with the Leader of the Islamic Revolution. He said Iraq enjoys steady and strong relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran in various dimensions and fields.

Rashid pointed to his meetings and discussions with Iranian officials, saying Iraq devotes all its efforts to deepening its ties with Iran and implementing the remaining issues between the two countries.

The Iraqi president also appreciated the assistance and support of the Iranian government and people for his country in different eras, especially in their fight against terrorism.


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