Force out US troops 'as soon as possible' | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 08, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:48 AM, April 08, 2019

Force out US troops 'as soon as possible'

Khamenei urges Iraq

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called on Iraq to demand US troops leave "as soon as possible", warning that Washington is plotting to remove the Iraqi government.

The remarks came during a visit to Tehran on Saturday by Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, whose country is under pressure from the United States to distance itself from Iran.

"You should take actions to make sure the Americans withdraw their troops from Iraq as soon as possible because wherever they have had an enduring presence, forcing them out has become problematic," Khamenei told Abdel Mahdi.

"The current government and parliament in Iraq and the political figures are not what the US desires; they plot to remove them from the political scene of Iraq," he said, according to his official website.

Abdel Mahdi, on his first official trip to Iran, also met Saturday with President Hassan Rouhani, who visited Iraq last month.

Baghdad is under pressure from Washington to limit ties with its neighbour, particularly after the United States withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal last year and hit Tehran with sanctions.

Iran has close but complicated ties with Iraq, with significant influence among its Shia political groups.

The two countries fought a bloody war from 1980 to 1988. But ties improved between the countries since the IS invasion in Iraq.

The call came after the Wall Street Journal reported that Washington was planning to designate the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organisation.

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