News ID: 114477
Publish Date : 29 April 2023 - 22:44

Leader: Even One American in Iraq is Too Many

TEHRAN – Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said Saturday the progress, prosperity, independence and development of Iraq is “of high importance” to Iran.
“Expansion of bilateral cooperation and implementation of agreements are beneficial to the two countries,” the Leader told President Abdul Latif Rashid of Iraq here.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran stands by Iraq and our wish is the progress of Iraq,” Ayatollah Khamenei added.
The Leader said the prerequisite to expand cooperation is to seriously follow up on agreements, especially recent security and economic pacts, signed between the two countries.
He said the expansion of deepening of relations between Iran and Iraq has strong enemies.
The Leader touched on the generosity of the Iraqi people in welcoming Iranian pilgrims during Arbaeen and non-Arbaeen days despite eight years of war between the two countries under former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
“The meaning of such a very important phenomenon is that there are unifying factors between the two nations and the two countries that foreign political factors cannot influence; so this opportunity should be used to further deepen relations and there should be serious care and vigilance to maintain them.”
The Leader said, “If there were no strong historical and religious ties between the two countries, the state of relations would probably return to the conditions of Saddam’s era.”
Ayatollah Khamenei urged Iraq to expel U.S. forces from the country, saying the presence of even one American in Iraq is too many.
The U.S., the Leader said, is no friend of Iraq or any other country, adding it is not even faithful to its European allies.
President Rashid said Iraq’s relations with the Islamic Republic are continuous and solid.
Iraq’s efforts, he said, are to deepen relations with Iran and implement some remaining issues between the two countries.
The Iraqi president appreciated the assistance and support of the Iranian government and people, especially in the fight against terrorism.
Earlier, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi on Saturday slammed the United States’ presence in the Middle East, as he hosted his counterpart from neighboring Iraq for wide-ranging talks.
The United States still has 2,500 non-combat troops in Iraq.

About 900 U.S. troops remain in Syria, most in the northeast. And the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based in the Persian Gulf state of Bahrain.
“We do not consider the presence of foreign forces and foreigners in the region to be useful,” Raisi told a joint news conference in Tehran with Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid.
“The presence of the U.S. disturbs the security of the region,” said the Iranian president.
“Our relationship with Iraq is based on common interests,” he said, adding the “Americans think about their interests, not the interests of the countries in the region”.
Although Iraq and Iran fought an eight-year war in the 1980s when former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was an ally of the West, relations between the neighbors have warmed considerably since 2003.
Iran provides Iraq with gas and electricity as well as consumer goods.
At the news conference, Raisi stressed the importance of Iran’s cooperation with Iraq in security and other matters.
“Relations between Iran and Iraq will continue in the field of water and electricity infrastructure,” he said.
“A security understanding has been established between the two countries, and the security of Iraq and its borders is very important to us,” Raisi added.
The president said the enemies are not pleased with the improvement of relations between Iran and Iraq, stressing that enhanced mutual ties will serve the interests of the two nations and the entire region.
He said there are many capacities to further boost political, economic and cultural relations. Raisi stressed the importance of strengthening economic, energy, transit, transportation, trade and security exchanges.
The Iraqi president said Baghdad is keen to expand relations with Tehran.
Leading a high-ranking delegation, Rashid arrived in Tehran on Saturday in his first visit to the neighboring nation since taking office last year. The visit by Rashid, who was elected as the head of the Iraqi government in October 2022, comes in response to an official invitation by President Raisi.
Later in the day, the Iraqi president held a meeting with Iranian Parliament speaker Muhammad Baqer Qalibaf.